Entry-level employees are critical to your organization's success. Here are vital to ensure your new employees are prepared to perform at their best.
- Standard office software
- Organizational skills
- Time management
- Collaboration and teamwork
- People skills
- Positive attitude
Entry-level employees are a critical part of any organization’s success. Often, they are the backbone that keep the wheels turning to achieve goals and objectives. With the right experience and training, these novice employees can grow into seasoned vets capable of leadership and excellent performance for years to come.
More employers today are realizing the importance of supporting their employees' goals in the same way that employees support organizational goals. Particularly in a post-COVID world, employees are more discerning about what they want in a job.
Providing virtual onboarding, hybrid work schedules, or even on-the-job training can separate you as an employer of choice for employees entering the workforce. This also ensures your new hires are well-equipped to succeed at their job responsibilities and generate achievements for the greater team and organization.
As you build this training and skill-testing into your onboarding or early-employment phase, it's important to know what you should prioritize. Here are eight entry-level skills all new employees should be trained on to set your entry-level employees up for success.
1. Standard office software
Every organization has their office software suite of choice, whether it’s Microsoft Office, Google Drive, or iWork. That's why it's imperative that new employees know how to use these tools, especially Word and PowerPoint (and their counterparts). Depending on the employee’s role, Excel and other data management programs may be used daily as well.
It’s standard to list these entry-level skills on resumes and even ask about them in interviews. But after hire, you should still give employees courses to learn the basics and test their proficiency. This will ensure that they are up to speed with the fundamentals and newest features of each program.
Leveraging a learning management system like NEOGOV's Learn, which has built-in courses that cover the basics of office software, can help improve entry-level employees' critical skills.
2. Organizational skills
Some of us are naturally inclined to keep detailed lists, calendars, or timelines of our various projects; others, not so much. But that doesn’t mean that the latter is incapable of adopting a process for staying on top of their tasks.
Everyone has their own system that works for them, so it’s a good idea to provide entry-level employees multiple examples of ways to stay organized so nothing don’t falls between the cracks. If your team uses a standard organizational tool, make sure you get the new employee up to speed on its functionalities right away.
3. Time management
Similar to organizational skills, time management skills may not be inherent to every employee, but they can be taught. Training employees to strategically prioritize all of the projects on their plate can help greatly with efficiency.
Get employees to think critically about how to spend their time and what tasks take priority by asking questions like:
- Which projects will take the longest to complete?
- Which assignment is due the soonest?
- Which task requires the participation or sign-off of another employee or department?
Entry-level employees may feel intimidated in their first job or after moving into a new field or industry. However, the ability to problem solve is crucial to any employee’s success.
New employees should be receive some hand-holding to nurture their progress. Nevertheless, those with great potential will search for answers or solutions on their own without waiting for a manager or superior to give them all the answers.
Conversely, good employees also know when to ask for help if they're struggling. Encourage new hires to abide by the 20-minute rule: if they spend more than 20 minutes looking for a solution and still can't find what they need, it's time to ask for help.
5. Collaboration and teamwork
Working well with others – both in person and virtually – is a skill that cannot be oversold. Veering too far into “know-it-all” territory (or worse – not pulling their own weight) can negatively impact both the new employee’s reputation and the productivity of the team.
Train your employees on how to work collaboratively towards the bigger picture to achieve your goals, while emphasizing that their contribution is just as important as everyone else’s on the team.
6. People skills
Many positions in government require interfacing with members of the public. That means a friendly demeanor, polite and professional tone, and the ability to stay calm under pressure are all critical skills when dealing with customers or patrons.
Customer-facing roles can be particularly stressful for entry-level employees, so ensuring they know how to use emotional intelligence to diffuse heated situations is especially helpful. Give employees examples of scenarios they may encounter and ask how they’d respond. This will give you a better sense of their people skills.
If your employees need help in this department, it might be beneficial to assign them training course early on so they're prepared to interact with the public on a regular basis.
Communication skills are invaluable in any job, and entry-level roles are no different. Employees need to effectively articulate themselves in a professional and clear manner.
This is especially important for emails and other written forms of communication. These can be easily misconstrued if employees use the wrong verbiage, tone, or style of language (e.g., slang or casual spelling and grammar). But the opposite can also be true; being overly formal or curt in written communication can come across as condescending.
Giving employees writing tests, such as drafting a sample response to an email, and practicing in-person communication can help them better understand when a given response is most appropriate.
8. Positive attitude
It may seem obvious, but a generally positive attitude can make all the difference in an employee’s performance. The ability to maintain a positive outlook, even in the face of challenges or frustrating situations, separates good employees from great ones. Employees with a bad attitude are more likely to be disengaged from their work, and their negativity can easily rub off on their coworkers.
You can help by reinforce positivity and celebrating successes with your employees. Additionally, ensure any conflicts are quickly thoroughly resolved. If you notice one of your employees is consistently negative, pull them aside to see what might help turn things around – both for their benefit and that of the entire organization.
If you’re looking for a scalable way to ensure all your employees should have access to the skills training they need, learn more about how to improve employee training and career development with a learning management system like NEOGOV's Learn.