Develop Quality Culture: 4 Points on Starting a Mentoring Program


Hiring new people has quite the impact on the quality of products you’re producing. Part of training new employees is giving them basic training for at least half a day. If we don’t, and that employee gets hurt, we can find ourselves in legal issues. But let’s get deeper into what typically happens in a new employee’s training, but imagine you’re that new employee.

HR tells you before you learn more about what you’ll be doing you need some safety training. Fun!

You spend half day trying to keep your eyes open because it’s boring!

After class its lunchtime, when you eat alone until others return.

Now you’re excited to get working, but understandably nervous. Your new supervisor comes over, smiling with his hand out to shake telling you to follow him.

After weaving in and out of different halls you stop at a work station and your new supervisor says, “This is it! We’re glad to have you and we really need someone to start working on this. Here’s the prints, tools are over there and all the material you need is over here. I have to go take care of some other things, but I’ll be back to check on you.”

Gulp. Well how do you feel? Most new employees think that someone will take the time to really train and show them what to do, but a lot of the companies I’ve seen and worked in before are just too busy to provide that kind of help.

So now you try your best to do make what you think is right and keep doing it until someone tells you different. Ask for help? That’s for rookies who want trouble!

Stop imagining and examine this from a quality control perspective. What kind of quality work did you get? You have no idea! But most likely it’s not going to be what you want. Worse, a customer will notice the shoddy work and you’ll have to issue the lame excuse of it was the new guy. Throw the newbie under the bus, because your customer will understand, right? Nope!

The truth is it’s management’s fault for not training properly. And your customer will see right through that.

So once that uncomfortable situation is over, it’s time to figure out how to sucking at quality.

Seasoned veterans know their jobs and it’s easy for them. But the newbie may not even know how to get back to the front office or find the restroom! So how will a brief and hurried explanation get the the newbie trained properly?

The solution is a mentoring program. Taking time to mentor the new employee will not only protect from bad quality early on, but it’ll help build and develop a personal relationship with the new employee that will last. It’ll also keep the lines of communication open, which is critical for ongoing improvement in their quality of work.

So here’s a guideline on how a good mentor program works:

  1. Give the person a real tour of the whole plant before going to their work area.
  2. Introduce the new employee to other members in the plant, even giving details about what the person will be doing, where they came from to show that you really care about this human being who’s decided to help your company. Posting a welcome sheet that has this with a picture of the person also helps get communicate that you care and alerts people that someone new is joining the team.
  3. Assign a person that the new employee can ask questions to. This person, preferably an outgoing team members, should be prepped before hand and should also look over the new person’s work, offer advice on how to do things better and how to avoid common mistakes.
  4. After 30 days, have the mentor let the new employee know that he will no longer need to look over his work, but that he’s available still for any questions.That’s it! Thirty days of real mentoring from an experienced worker. This will cut down on early mistakes and help drive a great quality environment. This also has the added benefit of making your new employee feel cared for. This will have the nice benefits of making him a strong team member, more willing to go the extra mile to make or keep things right

That’s it! Thirty days of real mentoring from an experienced worker. This will cut down on early mistakes and help drive a great quality environment. This also has the added benefit of making your new employee feel cared for. This will have the nice benefits of making him a strong team member, more willing to go the extra mile to make or keep things right.

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