Throwback Thursday: Apprentice Training - Setting Expectations

This week’s TBT shows why expectations for employee work habits should be established with each new hire on the first day of work and then followed up on in regular meetings.


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It’s my birthday today, and that got me thinking about how blessed I have been in my life and career path. Then, as I considered what today’s Throwback Thursday blog should focus on, I came upon this installment of our popular Skills Center column contributed by Ryan Pohl, president of Praeco Skills. It reminded me of some of the most important lessons I had to learn as a new employee when starting my first part-time job at age 16 (which was as a cashier at the local True Value hardware store). I believe that because my manager at that job provided me with a strong base of expectations (on top of the work ethic my parents instilled in me, of course), I was able to become successful at most everything I was charged to do in my role there. I enjoyed my job more because I was confident about what I needed to do and that I was properly trained to do it.

In this TBT column, Pohl emphasizes strong communications between employer and employee, as you’ll see when you read “Apprentice Training – Setting Expectations.” For example, he writes, “Expectations for employee work habits should be established with each new hire on the first day of work and then followed up on in weekly meetings for the first three months of employment.”

Many companies understand this directive, but does everyone do it? We all get very busy at work and can tend to let important communications tactics fall to the wayside. Pohl says don’t take for granted that the new hire is clear on what’s expected in his role. “You want the apprentice to be constantly aware of management’s expectations,” he says.

Some of the most basic lessons that must be taught to new hires (especially today, from what I’m told) are the following “good habits” that make for a successful transition from apprentice to valued employee:

  • Attendance and punctuality
  • Speed of work
  • Personal accountability
  • Positive attitude.

Pohl walks the reader through each “lesson” and offers great suggestions for how to approach each topic during the weekly meetings. These lessons are the true stepping stones to success and are a win-win for employer and employee if executed properly.

Print this column out and post it in the office. It’s worth the time to read and re-read it so that whoever is mentoring the young people in the shop, they are staying on the same page, the same stepping stones, for building a better future workforce.