The difference between the onboarding process and a training program is that the new hire training program is designed to teach the employee specific job-related skills and knowledge. Onboarding, on the other hand, is more of an introduction to the company and its culture—it’s a way for new employees to get acquainted with their surroundings, their colleagues and supervisors, their job role, and more.
The first few weeks in the employee's life are crucial for their later performance, engagement, and retention. Therefore employee onboarding is one of the most important elements of any organization's strategy. How new employees feel in the first weeks in the new company will generally set the tone for later. Let's look together at an effective training procedure.
Identify tasks that need to be done first. Create a checklist to make sure you don't leave anything out. Think about what the new hire should know about the company, the company culture, and the company policies and procedures, and arrange them in a logical order. Think about it like a natural growing process.
An effective training program contains training sessions over the initial weeks into a variety of training sessions. Keep in mind that employee onboarding is an overwhelming experience for new hires. We suggest starting with the general information and going toward the specifics. Leave the job details to the direct manager. We strongly believe that a new hire should spend more time immersed in the company culture, and understand its mission and vision, and overall strategy before anything else in the first few weeks.
Make sure all the training materials are ready for when the new employee joins. You don't want to waste time looking for materials, policies, or stationary, while the new employee is sitting in boredom. Creating a positive training experience offers a good start for high employee engagement beginning with the first week.
To have a successful new employee training program, it is important to understand its importance and need. New employees training programs are different from existing training programs, in that they prepare newly hired employees for their job roles and help them become productive faster. Training new employees also helps to reduce employee turnover, as well as increase morale and productivity in the workplace. Moreover, effective training can help ensure that new hires are up-to-date on workplace policies and procedures so they know what is expected of them to perform at their best.
Finally, training helps new employees understand the company’s culture, values, and mission—which are essential for their success in their role. At any point of the journey remember that employees feel stressed and overwhelmed so include down time (perfect for reflection) in your training plan. Offer new hires times to formulate questions, etc.
A checklist is mandatory in a successful new hire training program. Make sure it contains the training schedule, and a plan to ensure that nothing is forgotten. Include any procedures employees need and let the new hire familiarize themselves on how to find the company's policies.
It would also be beneficial to introduce the new hires to the company L&D offers. Let them have a look at the professional development available to them. Should they have any skill gaps, this is the time to try to close them. Career development opportunities and career growth are some of the most important elements that make a company attractive to new hires.
Following the points mentioned before, understanding the role of each of the various departments, meeting with (or learning about) senior team members and what each of them does, should be part of any training program.
Allow time for new hires to familiarize themselves with the different departments and their role. Holistic understanding completes the general picture and will minimize time later on when they will be looking for information or support from other functions.
Company policies and procedures and the mission statement of the organization (i.e. company's mission and vision) are the starting point for creating a positive company culture. If these elements are not set right from the very first stages of new employee training and are not role-modeled by senior leadership, then the company risks its own existence. We have seen companies being affected by poor culture not addressed properly.
The company culture should be frequently discussed, and the working values and principles should be on any training plan, including for existing employees, not only for the new hires.
The seasoned employees will be the ones influencing cultural transfer, so negative behaviors must be addressed promptly.
To ensure onboarding success, just like in any training module, explain the purpose and the outcomes expected from each session. Don't be shy to provide feedback, but make it in a positive and constructive way.
After familiarizing the new hire with the company, it is now down to look more in-depth at the day-to-day tasks. The employee understanding of job duties as well as responsibilities related to their new job, should be included in the new employee training program. You won't be able to cover everything, especially in today's situation when everything changes from day to day, and agility is the preferred word in the modern world, but at least you put the new hires on the path, and then it will be up to them to adapt moving forward. Eventually, the new hire will find their place among the current employees.
Various training methods can be applied for successful new hire training. These methods range from face-to-face/1-1 discussions to group sessions with other new hires to online training. The online training can be synchronous (with a group of new hires attending a Zoom meeting about the company) or asynchronous (self-paced familiarization).
An effective training approach suitable for training new employees effectively is job shadowing other team members. This way, the other team members learn about the new hire's previous experience, and allows the other employees to get to know and welcome the new team member. This should provide a more relaxed environment conducive to positive outcomes.
Remember that employees learn differently, so include that in your employee training program. Online learning could work for some; independent networking and self-discovery may work for other new hires. Other new hires may prefer experiential learning. This is learning by doing, and it is an effective way of learning. However, it is crucial to remember that safety procedures should be on top of your checklist, and under no circumstances should you allow anyone to maneuver equipment without proper training.
As an onboarding manager, you should schedule time with other new hires to share experiences and allow for reverse feedback - valuable for improving future training sessions.
To conclude, new employees bring new energy, new ideas, and new vibes to the hiring organization. Training employees is not trivial. Any initiative to train new employees effectively requires the preparation of effective new-hire training procedures, an efficient spread of training sessions, job shadowing, and continuous feedback (which should continue throughout the employee life cycle).
The new employee training programs should be a smooth training process with sessions created not to overwhelm the new employee and they should be supported by a careful new employee training checklist prepared in advance. For more guidance on how to train new employees, CIPD
offers tons of evidence based information and support.
Only if equipped with the right tools and information, the new employee will be able to succeed, be motivated, feel supported, and impact the organization in a positive way.