The first 90 days of a new employee’s time at an organization can either be beneficial or detrimental. Those three months provide signs into whether the employer will work out, whether the employee will stay at that employer, or whether that employee will be productive. How do you know? Will the employee just come out and tell you? Are you good at reading people?
Your clues lie in the effectiveness of your on-boarding training. Here are some interesting facts about new employees:
- Close to 20 percent of turnover happens in an employee’s first forty-five days.
- Twenty-five percent of millennials move on to a new job in their first twelve months.
- Companies with a standardized on-boarding training experience see 54 percent more new hire productivity and 50 percent more retention.
- Sixty-four percent of new employees who had a positive onboarding experience stay at their new company for approximately three years.
When you bring new employees into your organization, it gives you the opportunity to set your employees up for success.
While onboarding is not everyone’s first choice for an activity, or maybe even second, third, or fourth, there are some things you can do to make it painless. Remember, these new employees are your company’s unique talent. They are there to contribute to your company, to your bottom line, and to learn and grow professionally.
Let’s give on-boarding employee training more significance than we are. Let’s see how to create painless on-boarding employee training.
Keep the Training Modules Short & Engaging
Keep the onboarding training short but engaging. A training that lasts one to two hours before the new employee can ask questions is too long. You need to see if the employee is grasping the material. If they can’t ask questions or otherwise engage, they may start tuning out.
You can incorporate hands-on skills, quizzes, or gamification into the on-boarding. This promotes employee engagement and understanding of the material. This gives the employer a chance to repeat any material that may not be understood at first by the employees.
Additionally, employees will more than likely retain the skills and concepts they’re learning if they can try them out. If you mix up the training to include active engagement, your employees will walk away with a better experience.
Keep It Flexible & Adaptive
Be flexible and adaptive in how you’re teaching and training. If you can see that you’re training methods aren’t useful (check for yawns and phone playing), have a backup plan. This should be part of your strategy.
You need to be able to switch to another platform or type of training to capture the attention of your audience. Don’t continue to charge ahead merely because this is what you had planned, or worse, this is all you have.
Further, you need to adapt your training to the audience you have. You should plan for this ahead of time. You should know what type of employees will be attending each onboarding. Are they a certain age? Are they from a particular location? Are they from a specific department? Adapt your training to those employees. Although you may have certain policies and procedures that are standardized to all employees, adapt the remainder of your training to your audience.
Adapt to Different Learning Styles
People learn different ways. Some learn best visually, where others learn best by listening. Some learn best through a combination of learning styles. When you’re developing your onboarding training program, make it less painless for your audience by appealing to all learning styles. Incorporate a little of everything—visual, auditory, reading, and doing.
For example, create training materials that employees can refer to, such as a PowerPoint presentation. Include videos or infographics. Be sure to include quizzes or games so new employees can participate an interact in learning.
Don’t stop there. What age is your audience? Do you have Boomers or Millennials? Different generations learn differently. For example, fast-moving tech is a little too fast for certain Boomers (but not all). However, fast-moving tech is a way of life for Millennials. Put a bunch of Millennials in a large conference room for an 8-hour training with paper and see how far you get!
You need to look beyond comforts with technology between the generations though. What motivates each generation? How does each generation prefer to communicate? What are each generations strengths? What about weaknesses? Although these can often be generalizations, these generational insights can help you structure your training accordingly to best adapt to learning styles of each generation.
By examining generational traits and preferences, you can create a less painful onboarding process that will engage your employees, allow them to retain the material, and encourage them to apply these skills and concepts to their jobs. It’s a win-win.
Don’t Forget Follow-Up Training
Once onboarding training is over, make sure to offer your new employees on-going and follow-up training. Those first several days at a new job are a blur. New employees are completing onboarding, meeting their team, getting set up at their desk, and trying to find the bathroom and the coffee. Even if they were engaged in onboarding training, there’s a good chance they’ll need some follow-up training.
Follow-up training can help increase retention as well as reinforce critical concepts. It can identify weaknesses in learning and development and encourage new employees to embrace education and development on their own. It can build upon any core training the employee received at onboarding as well as keep employees up-to-date on any updates, internal or external.
All employee training and development is essential. Your onboarding training is critically important. Think of it as your opening act. This is your first opportunity (after your interview process) to make a significant impression on your new employees. You just went through a hiring process to bring these fine people into your organization, don’t back down now.
This is not only your time to shine, but it’s also your time to lay a solid foundation with your new employees so they’ll stay with you as productive, engaged employees. Take the time to structure a solid strategy to appeal to all of your new employees during onboarding. Doing so can create a painless process for your new team members.