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The first step to employee engagement



How extensive is your promotional products industry training for a new employee? What are you doing to ensure success? Hiring employees can be an expensive process. Studies show that replacing a qualified, salaried employee can cost businesses between 6 and 9 month’s worth of salary, on average. Once you and your new hire become mutually exclusive, you’ll want to make sure the onboarding and training process is first-rate. You should ensure your onboarding process is truly represents your company and its values.


The expense of onboarding properly is well worth the cost. Happy engaged employees stay longer, are more productive, and will help you recruit other good candidates. Promotional product distributors know the value of having a branded welcome kit, complete with company swag and desk essentials. Don’t forget to consider how your new employee will get introduced to office and their new colleagues. First impressions matter!


Make sure company culture is a part of training. It’s much easier to get up to speed at an organization, if you have a guide. Match the new hire with an office buddy to ensure success. Studies show that over 50% of new hires would welcome being paired with an office buddy or mentor. Over the first week, let their teammate show them the ropes, teach them about company culture, and what is expected of them. Like everything else, you’ll want to have a structured schedule in place, similar to this one MIT suggests.


Of equal or more importance, make sure their new manager is there for their first day.

It may seem obvious, but people schedule time off without being aware of new hire start dates. If you want to ensure success and buy in to your company culture, the manager needs to be around to help set the tone, make sure the new hire understands their role from the start and introduce them to their office buddy.


So, once you’ve set your new employee up for success in the company, how you do set them up for success their new role?

Have a Structured Training Plan in Place

Sales in our industry can be significantly different from sales in other industries. Successful sales reps don’t just sell a good or fill an order. They help businesses come up with ideas to market themselves and build their brands. Promo products can help brands convey a feeling or leave their customers with a good memory depending on how they received the item.


Successful salespeople need to be able to help their clients create a good experience for their clients. Have you thought about how you’re going to incorporate that into your training for a new rep? You can’t just set them up with a phone and a box of business cards if you want them to excel.

How do you train your employees?

Microlearning is what the name suggests – short training sessions.
These can be incorporated into a new employee’s day or week rather than having them sit through hours of training one topic. Using this method of interspersing structured learning opportunities throughout the learning path can improve retention by reinforcing key topics over time.


Microlearning can also support on-the-job style of training, as the new hire progresses through in new role. Once they’ve mastered certain tasks in their workflow, they can access new nuggets of information that help them see how their performance in that task has an impact on other departments or the business itself.

Use microlearning to:
  1. Learn more

  2. Learn something new

  3. Solve the problem

  4. Address a specific challenge

  5. Apply and remember

  6. Practice in order to gain mastery

Try these types of microlearning training aids: tips/short cuts, cheat sheet, checklist, short videos.

Online Training
Online training tutorials give employees a visual guide to follow. Instead of simply reading about a work-related process, they are able to observe, reflect, and then replicate the steps. This helps to improve knowledge retention and recall, which enhances employee productivity and proficiency. 


Online training can be an effective way to get remote employees up to speed while saving on travel costs. We recommend having a coach, or another knowledgeable team member, available to check work and answer questions, if online training is the style of training you will offer your new hire.


In-person Training

Sometimes there’s no substitute for in-person training. In-person training allows people to learn in either a one-on-one situation or as part of a group. At some point, we’ve all been a part of classroom-style training. Group training can be beneficial as it allows trainees to also learn from each other through hearing the answers to questions and seeing how to work through possible scenarios they would encounter in their day.


One-on-one training could be necessary for specific job types. To be most effective, be sure to structure the training and consider the preferred learning style of your new employee.

Blended Learning
Blended learning is an effective way to try to cover all the bases in your training plan. This style of training features online and face-to-face components. For example, you could combine one-on-one or group training with videos and task completion. The key component of blended learning is that the trainee controls the time and place some of the learning takes place.

Early in a role, employees need macro-learning to understand their job and the skills they need to perform it. (Training Industry) Then, they need reminders of that learning. That is where microlearning comes in. Incorporating microlearning with structured training classes could be a great way for promotional products distributors to get their employees up to speed.

What about continuing education and new skills training?

According to eLearning Industry, if you do it correctly, investing in employee training can feed your bottom line instead of depleting it. In fact, businesses that spend at least $1,500 per employee annually on training activities reportedly earn 24% more profit than those with lower training budgets. And, companies can generate a 6% higher shareholder return just by raising the annual, per-employee training expenditure by $680.

Increase employee productivity and work quality.

A 2013 IBM study of more than 3,100 U.S. workplaces revealed that a 10% increase in training and development translates to a nearly 9% gain in productivity. In 2016, another survey identified a positive correlation between investing in employee training and improved product quality and customer satisfaction.

Well-trained employees have higher achievement rates and are more likely to exceed goals and expectations. If you provide employees with the tools they need, they are able to do their jobs much  better and faster than employees who don’t understand what needs to be done, let alone how to do it.

Employees who don’t feel that an organization is providing the development they need are 12 times more likely to leave for another opportunity than those who say they’re receiving enough training. Reducing turnover is a big incentive to dial up the focus on training engagement.

Showing an interest in developing your employees professionally contributes to increased organizational engagement and loyalty. The dedicated, talented and hardworking people you want on your team have a general inclination toward self-improvement and strive to advance their careers.

Engaged employees positively influence other employees, are more enthusiastic, productive, and profitable, provide better customer service, and are more loyal to your organization. Great employees are costly to replace, and they’re more likely to stay in with your company when they feel plugged in.


In the U.S. alone, it is estimated the economy loses an estimated $450 to 550 billion annually due to decreased productivity from disengaged employees (Gallup, 2013).


It’s easy for training to take the back burner, especially in small and medium-sized promotional products businesses. We’re so busy that it seems hard to set aside time to meaningfully onboard new employees. We’ve shown that ineffective training can cost you much more over time via turnover and poorly developed work habits.


Take some time to develop the training your employees need to contribute to your business and encourage them to excel. It is sure to pay off on the long run with engaged employees and more efficient workflow.



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