How to Train Someone to Do Your Job


There are a number of circumstances under which you may have to train your replacement, ranging from promotion or transfer to resigning voluntarily or involuntarily. Regardless of the circumstance, consider this an opportunity to expand your professional repertoire and establish yourself as an authority in your field.

Clarify Your Duties

  • Get organized to ensure a smooth training process. Compile a list of your duties, in order from most to least important, as well as an overview of your work process and weekly schedule. Include your job description and how your position fits within the company's work flow.

Create a How-To Sheet

  • Type out a step-by step description of how to accomplish each of your job tasks. This will allow you to explain the process clearly to your trainee, as well as provide a sort of reference manual to assist her in your absence. Jana J. Madsen, managing editor for "Buildings" magazine, also advises trainers to include information on how to deal with problems that might arise, advice and protocol on working with other departments, and how to find necessary files and documents. Before you give the manual to your trainee, run it by your supervisor for feedback.

Schedule Training

  • Schedule training during the hours that are most convenient for you, since you will likely have to continue doing your job until your trainee is ready to take over. Decide if it would be more productive for your trainee to observe you, whether she should come in after hours so the two of you can be undisturbed, or a combination of both.

Ask Questions

  • Check in with your trainee continually to verify that she understands your lessons. Perhaps she has questions but doesn't want to ask for fear of seeming unintelligent or unqualified. Be proactive and make her feel at ease by stopping periodically to inquire in a nonjudgmental way whether your instructions are clear. Share which aspects of training you had difficulty with when you first started. As much as possible, have the trainee perform the tasks you're teaching her, so the knowledge becomes experiential.

Be Nice

  • According to Matt Villano, business writer for "The New York Times," trainers must be careful not to give trainees the cold shoulder, even if upset about having to train their replacement. Remain professional and cordial at all times. If it’s a struggle, remind yourself that the situation is not the trainee’s fault. Keep in mind that success is built with people, not companies -- don’t damage your chances at making a potentially valuable connection, even if it is your replacement.

Anticipate Problems

  • No matter how thorough your training, your trainee will inevitably need some assistance following your departure. Prepare a sheet with contact information for people in the company who can assist and answer any questions that arise. Inform the people on your list that your replacement might call on them for help.

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