How to Become a Top Performer When You Didn’t Get Enough Training

on researcher in lab training colleague

How much training did you receive when you first started your job? Did you have days or weeks to learn the technology, systems, and processes utilized at your organization? Or, were you given a little instruction and told to “figure out the rest?” A lack of training and development is one of the most common reasons why professionals indicate dissatisfaction in their role. Sometimes this leads people to believe that they are being set up for failure.

In a recent BioSpace poll, one respondent described their experience this way, “I was dropped into the deep end without enough training.” This can be extremely frustrating as a life science professional because, in addition to having the aptitude for complex scientific practices, the application of those practices can vary drastically depending on your role. You must know specifics regarding any technology your company uses, internal workflows, and have a clear idea of the goals associated with your role, along with how it relates to the organization and customers. If you aren’t properly trained it can be very difficult to achieve successful results. Here’s how to become a top performer, even when you didn’t get enough training.

Ask for more training

It might sound obvious that your first step should be to ask your manager for additional training and support. However, many people fail to do so and continue to fall further and further behind where they’d like to be. Some life science professionals are afraid to ask their boss for training, because they think it might make them look like they don’t know what they’re doing. Instead, not voicing your concerns can actually be more detrimental, if you aren’t able to produce the results required of your position. Waiting until you are perceived as “failing” can lead others to believe that you simply aren’t equipped to handle the job.

Observe what the successful employees do

It’s wise to observe what other effective employees are doing. Do they seem to know a specific skill, software, or methodology that you don’t? Make a list of any area you think you are behind in or weren’t taught. These could be factors that you never even considered when you first spoke to your manager. If you feel comfortable with your co-workers, you might want to ask them for tips or secrets to ensuring things move faster and more efficiently. It’s a possibility that you might be able to start incorporating some changes or suggestions into your role right away.

Research your position, field, and industry

By this point, you probably have a clear idea of what could make your job easier and improve your performance. Taking things a step further by researching your position, field, and industry puts you in an even better position to reach your goals. Most professionals are limited by what they see and experience on a daily basis. Learning what other people are doing outside of your organization can be extremely helpful in expanding your frame of reference. You can find out what other training and certifications other life science professionals are pursuing from professional development associations and industry organizations.

Create your own training and development plan

If your manager hasn’t offered any supplemental training opportunities for you, its time to create your own training and development plan. What is reasonable for you to commit to in addition to completing your assigned job duties? Could you ask to shadow another colleague who is a high performer? Can you take an online course to learn more about a specific skill or technology platform? Another possibility is to focus your development completely outside of your organization, by joining associations or societies for your industry. If you’re feeling stuck on how to implement your own training plan, talk to a mentor or career coach.

You might feel powerless if you weren’t trained thoroughly on how to do your job. Asking your manager for more training as soon as possible should be your first step. Taking the time to observe what other successful employees do, can help you identify more training areas you need to focus on. Doing some additional research online and networking with others in your industry to learn what training they have, can also be helpful. If your boss doesn’t seem to be coordinating additional support for you, create your own training and development plan. What skills could you learn to become a top performer?

Porschia Parker is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.

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