Onboarding is a vast, complicated process that has many moving parts. Too often, companies make the mistake of showing all of those parts to new hires at once, which tends to get a bit overwhelming. It might seem like you’re showing off all these great things when you put out the full platter of your training materials and resources, but do you know what new hires see when you do this? Essentially, it’s like you’re saying, “Here, we’ve got all these great tools, but we don’t have the time (or care to invest it) to help you figure out the best training for your needs. So good luck.” Employee retention directly flows from their onboarding experience. If you want to improve retention, download this white paper.

Pitfalls of all you can eat onboarding

It doesn’t sound very enticing to a new employee! When you’re trying to prove that your organization is worth working for, it helps if your actions reflect that image. If you’re hiring people and giving them free rein in their early days, you’re just asking them to fail, or leave, thereby wasting everyone’s time and a lot of valuable resources. More companies are getting on board with a more guided training experience for their new hires, and with excellent results in terms of employee retention, quality of work, and overall morale.

People Need a Roadmap

When you don’t have a dedicated training process in place for your onboarding, you aren’t giving your team the best resources to become the best that they can as a part of your company. It’s already intimidating to start something new. If you also expect your trainees to take a self-serve approach to the onboarding process, they’re quickly going to become overwhelmed and may not succeed in training as quickly or as effectively as you had hoped. Some people may leave. Others may take longer to train. Still, more may slip through the cracks, having gathered all of the wrong tools along the way, and you’re none the wiser because of your hands-off approach.

Think about how you train your sales team to guide customers through the buying journey. It takes finesse, and an understanding of the entire customer experience, including providing the customer with pointed cues to ensure that they follow the steps that you want them to take. Using this type of approach with your onboarding training is just as effective, and will often result in much better outcomes than other training methods or taking a ‘self-serving’ approach.

Train with Intention

What are your goals in training? You want to make sure that you train them to be good salespeople, but what does that even mean? Break down the goals and intentions that you have for your new hires. Make a list of what you expect and hope to achieve. Then, you’ll be able to move forward with giving your trainees the information and tools that they need to acquire the specific skills that you want them to have for their role within the company. If you aren’t training with intention, you’re just expecting people to know what you want from them without telling them, which doesn’t set the right tone at all.

Create a training process with clear benchmarks, stages, and goals along the way. Use the days before the starting date to talk to your new hires about what to expect and how your company handles training and onboarding. Not only does this give them a better idea of what they are getting into, and a better foundation on which to build from, but it reflects a professional, responsible culture that cares about its employees. Today’s sales professionals are looking for that above all else. If you want to attract the best, you have to treat them like they’re worth it.

Include Social Engagement

How well your new employees are received and welcomed by the existing team is going to set the stage for the success of their role within your organization. If you hire tons of new employees all the time and never take the time to encourage bonding and personal relationship development between team members, you shouldn’t be surprised when people are so quick to leave if they are overwhelmed or confused in the onboarding training or early days of their career. In addition to providing a connection for your new hires, this is allowing them to know where to find the resources that they need in their new position. That can make all the difference for everyone involved.

Make sure that you’re not too pushy about encouraging that social engagement, but that you provide plenty of opportunities for your new team members to truly feel like a part of the team from day one. When people feel like they belong, they’ll have an easier time catching on, and they will be more committed to your organization from the outset, reducing the risk of training turnover or new hire burnout.

You Lead the Way

The biggest pitfall of giving people too many options is that they won’t know where to go. If they aren’t sure where they are headed, they could pick up a lot of bad habits along the way. Plus, when you’re just handing them a buffet of potential tools and not telling them which will be most useful for their position, you are expecting them to figure it out with limited or no information. You wouldn’t let your customers try to “figure it out” on their own, would you? No, because then those customers would go find another company that won’t make them do all the work on their own.

You can’t leave your employees to do all the work of onboarding, either, of they’re going to feel like they’re doing all the work and you don’t value them as an addition to the team. Mentoring, guidance, and a clearly-defined onboarding process can go a long way. Today’s sales professionals want to know what is expected of them and precisely what they will learn along the way. Get rid of the all-you-can-consume resource overload with new hires and give them only the information that they need, as they need it, to help them move through the onboarding process with ease.

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