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.
Increasingly, employers are realizing that they must be able to provide for an employee in the same way they are asking the employee to provide for their organization. Particularly in a post-COVID world, employees are becoming more discerning about what they look for in a job. Providing virtual onboarding, hybrid work schedules, or even on-the-job training is a way to separate yourself as an employer of choice for those freshly entering the workforce. It will also ensure that the employee you’ve just hired is well-equipped to tackle their job responsibilities and generate achievements for the greater team and organization. You can build this training and skill-testing into your onboarding or early-employment phase to set your entry-level employees up for success. Here are eight skills all entry-level employees should be trained on.
Standard office software
Every organization has their office software suite of choice, whether it’s Microsoft Office, Google Drive, or iWork. Regardless, it is imperative that any new employees be savvy when it comes to 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 see proficiency in these listed skills on resumes, and even to ask about them in an interview, but it may be worth setting employees up with courses to learn basics and test their skills in these tools. This will ensure that they are up to speed with the fundamentals and newest features of each program. Leveraging a learning management system with built-in courses that cover the basics of office software can help improve entry-level employees critical skills.
Some of us are naturally inclined to keep detailed lists, calendars, or timelines of our various projects, while others – not so much. That doesn’t mean that the latter will be incapable of adopting a process that can keep them on top of their tasks. Everyone has their own system that works for them, but it’s a good idea to provide entry-level employees with examples of ways to stay organized so that things don’t fall between the cracks. If your team uses a standard organizational tool, make sure you get the new employee up to speed on its ins and outs.
Similar to organizational skills, time management is a skill that may not be inherent but can be taught. Training employees to be analytical about all of the projects on their plate can help greatly with efficiency. 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? All of these questions can get employees to critically think about how to spend their time and what to prioritize.
Entry-level employees may feel intimidated if this is their first job or if they recently moved into a new field or industry. However, the ability to problem solve will be crucial to any employee’s success. While entry-level employees should be provided with some hand-holding to nurture their progress, an employee with great potential will demonstrate the ways in which they can search for answers or solutions on their own without waiting for a manager or superior to give them all the answers. Conversely, a good employee will also know when to ask for help if they are struggling. Consider the “20 minute rule,” which posits that if you’ve been diligently looking for a solution to something for 20 minutes and still haven’t found what you need, you should ask for help.
Collaboration and teamwork
Being able to work 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 have negative impacts on both the entry-level employee’s reputation and the productivity of the team. Employees should be trained on how to work as part of a bigger picture to achieve a goal, where their contribution is just as important as anyone else’s.
Many entry-level positions require interfacing with members of the public. A friendly demeanor, polite and professional tone, and keeping calm under pressure are all critical skills when dealing with customers or patrons. These roles can be particularly stressful, so the ability to employ emotional intelligence to diffuse any potentially heated situations is especially helpful. Giving example scenarios to an entry-level employee and asking how they’d respond will give you a sense of where they are in terms of people skills. If they need help in these departments, it might be beneficial to set them up with a training course in a learning management system before they interface with the public on a regular basis.
Communication skills are among the most important when it comes to any job, and entry-level roles are no different. Being able to articulate yourself in a way that is professional, concise, and doesn’t leave room for misinterpretation is invaluable. Particularly when it comes to email or other written forms of communication, things can be easily misconstrued if the wrong verbiage or style of language (e.g., slang or casual spelling and grammar) is used. The opposite can also be true; being overly formal or curt can come across as condescending. Testing employees on how they’d reply to an email or in-person communication can help them determine when a given response is appropriate.
It may seem obvious, but a generally positive attitude overall can make all the difference when it comes to an employee’s performance. Employees with a bad attitude are more likely to be disengaged with their work, and may have negative effects on their coworkers. Being able to maintain a positive outlook even in the face of challenges or frustrating situations will separate good employees from great ones.
If you’re looking for a scalable way to address these 8 skills all entry-level employees should be trained on, a learning management system with built-in courses for basic and soft skills can make things easier and more efficient. Request a demo of NEOGOV’s Learn to hear more.