Onboarding sets the tone for a new hire’s experience at your organization. If the process is productive and smooth, your employee is more likely to flourish having been prepared with proper workplace training and education to jumpstart safe and productive work habits. If onboarding is a disjointed or nonexistent effort, your employee begins work at a huge disadvantage, scrambling to catch up on standard operating procedures, company culture and policies, and other important information as they adjust into a new role or organization.
One important thing to remember: successful onboarding doesn’t take just a few days or weeks. In fact, according to Recruit Shop, it can often take as long as a year to two years for an employee to feel completely comfortable and confident within their position. It’s not something you rush through and finish during an employee’s first day, week or even month. That said, effective onboarding is fairly simple to set up and manage. Here are a few essential elements to include in your onboarding checklist.
Communicate with New Hires Before They Start the Job
Ahead of a new employee’s first day, send them a description of their job responsibilities along with the employee handbook and an overview of expectations. Encourage them to ask questions. Make clear who they should contact to ask questions and how. This information should also be reviewed and covered on your new employee’s first official workday.
Attaching an onboarding “roadmap” that explains the onboarding process and the various timelines involved not only helps the employee feel more prepared for what to expect during their first week, but this also keeps your hiring managers and department leaders organized and efficient through the upcoming changes. At least a few days before the start date, send new hires a welcome email. Include details such as arrival time, dress code and an agenda for the first day or week. It’s also helpful to include a map of the office.
Additionally, ask new hires what they need to be successful. Focus on communication methods and their preferred styles of learning. This helps you identify their preferences for onboarding. Try not to treat onboarding as the same rigid process for all new hires. After all, a new hire in the marketing department is going to have different preferences compared to someone in the IT department.
Communicate with Your Employees
Email your current employees to let them know that a new hire is starting and when. Include the new employee’s department and position title. If feasible, give a little basic information about the hire’s background. This keeps all team members in the loop and helps encourage a supportive and welcoming environment for your new hire.
Set Up the Workspace and Get Training Materials Ready
New hire training goes more smoothly if all the materials needed are in place. Ensure that the workspaces are clean, organized, and include any necessary resources or supplies your new hire might need.
Whether you’re fully or partially remote or a traditional brick-and-mortar company, preparing your technology for your new hire is just as important as a ready physical workspace, if not more. Using tools such as a Learning Management System (LMS) creates a virtual hub for employees and managers to access, track, and analyze onboarding and training requirements. An LMS provides anytime, anywhere access to the resources employees may need and encourages collaboration and team building in an organized and engaging solution. We’ll explore more ways to use an LMS to provide workplace training next.
Conduct Formal Introductions
During new hires’ first day or week, take them around and introduce them to key players at the company. Focus on important stakeholders and people the new hire will work closely with. This might be a good time to connect your new hire with a mentor that can teach them about company culture and expectations. New hires also appreciate having someone they can go to with questions.
Streamline Training with a Cohesive Digital Learning Ecosystem
The learning ecosystem is the combination of tools and digital learning solutions (such as the LMS) that are used to deliver, manage, and track your training programs. Digital learning is not only more engaging, but it provides an incredibly organized way to manage and track your training programs.
For example, say that new employee training involves learning a complicated finance software program. Rather than throwing a hefty manual at new employees and expecting them to stumble through the program, you could use a real-time game to teach them. Digital learning solutions are also an excellent way to gradually ramp up employees’ training. Microlearning keeps them from being overwhelmed by tons of information all at once. Lastly, digital learning allows new hires to learn at their own pace, repeat modules when necessary and explore areas of interest in more depth. Moreover, assessments inform you how well employees have grasped a component of training, whether they might need more training, and work to identify areas of strength and weakness – all of which is tracked directly within the learning platform.
When creating your workplace training program, you will want a highly flexible, dynamic, and interoperable digital solution that can connect to existing HR systems, streamline learning processes, and scale your programs as needed to provide a future-proof solution. This can be achieved best through the power of open-source technology.
Open-source learning platforms provide training professionals with a flexible learning ecosystem, allowing you to incorporate and track formal and informal learning approaches, integrate third-party tools or existing solutions, and constantly improve and tailor your solution in order to meet the needs of your organization as you scale and evolve. As training and education becomes more learner-oriented, a connected learning ecosystem is crucial in order to provide engaging and effective workplace training.
Monitor Your Onboarding Efforts
Many companies are startled to learn that their onboarding process leaves much to be desired. Never mind that they’ve made onboarding a workplace training priority and think they’ve been ticking all the boxes. Regularly assessing your onboarding efforts ensures that you continue to give new hires a quality experience. After all, what worked in onboarding five years ago might not today. In an industry shaped by innovation and transformation, digital learning is constantly presenting new strategies and technologies that can benefit the modern employee.
As part of assessing your onboarding process, check that the content being taught is still relevant and engaging for today’s learners. Survey new hires after their introductory period (say, after their first couple of weeks or after the first month), after six months and after one year. These surveys can take the form of one-on-one meetings, online questionnaires and/or group chats. Reports can be generated in your LMS to also provide insight on your most successful courses, activities, or other efforts.
Involve co-workers, mentors, team leaders and managers in the monitoring process. Ask how their new employees feel during the onboarding process (excited, confident, deflated, anxious or overwhelmed?). Ask them about new hires’ performance during and after their introductory period. If managers report that new employees are unable to use a software program as they should or certain training efforts are unsuccessful, that part of training might need to be revamped or expectations adjusted.
Successful onboarding prioritizes communication and clear expectations. It sets new employees up to succeed by providing them with the tools and resources that will make learning easy, and continues to monitor training efforts to make sure training programs are the best that they can possibly be. Make sure your workplace training program includes these essential elements in order to effectively support the needs of your organization – and specifically your new hires!
Explore digital learning solutions that can support employee onboarding. eThink’s workplace learning solutions include the open-source Moodle, Moodle Workplace, and Totara Learning Management Systems. Request an individual demonstration below to see how these solutions can amplify your training program.Request a Demo