Getting New Employees Off to a Good Start (5 Onboarding Program Tips)
- Kati Ryan
- 5 Min Read
How likely is it that the onboarding trainings you hold for new employees could let you down? In a study on the turnover rate of newly onboarded employees, Leadership IQ estimated that 46 percent of new hires fail within 18 months while only 19 percent achieve unequivocal success. Considering the money and time that your company invests in new employees, you need to devise an onboarding experience that will allow your new hires to succeed. In the initial period of onboarding new employees, you have the opportunity to ensure that the expectations of your new hires are met, so they stay engaged and last within your organization.
Below are five ways to create an incredible onboarding experience for your new employees.
Hire a trainer who, when onboarding new employees, will knock it out of the park
The new-hire trainer will be the face, the voice, and an ambassador for your business. This may be the first person your new hires meet in the company. Ensure that your trainer has a good, positive attitude, welcomes your new employees, and properly represents the culture of your organization. If your trainer will be taking over an existing program, have her do a dry run of some of the content during the interview process to watch her in action. If the trainer is creating content from scratch for the new-hire training, have her share a module she’s used previously and do an in-classroom role-play scenario to get a “feel” for her style and ensure that it aligns with the company’s.
Bring all new employees together for a 101-level training class
If your budgets allows, conduct an in-person training class for new employees that you’re onboarding. Regardless of the seniority of the new employees that you’re onboarding, or which departments they belong to, all new employees should attend this class. Creating this cohort will allow your new employees to learn about the various departments and levels within your organization. It also sends a message to newly onboarded employees that the business cares about their success.
The forum of these classes could allow, for example, your engineers to trade insights with members of other departments (sales, finance, and so on). This can prevent interdepartmental infighting in the future and provide your newly onboarded employees with resources (their cohort) to lean on for questions and support. Another fun idea is to have the class wear company T-shirts on the last day of the week of onboarding new employees. At the end of the day, take a photo to share with the broader organization, in an email welcoming newly onboarded employees. You can print out these photos and hang them in the new-hire classroom for each subsequent class to see.
When onboarding new employees, have an executive introduce the company’s vision and mission
When training and onboarding new employees, you’ll have an opportunity to reassure your new hires that they made the right decision in accepting an offer with your firm. Dana Aldis, vice president of people and customer experience at Homesnap, reflects, “Inviting an executive to new-hire orientation to discuss how the various departments’ work aligns with the corporate vision is critical. Connecting the daily responsibilities of individual employees to the vision is a key component of long-term engagement, so the connection should be made on day one.”
Additionally, weaving in your core values and allowing employees to consider their purpose within the organization will set up your new hires for success longterm. An interesting way to do this is to create a virtual “customer journey” that illustrates how every department impacts the end customers you serve. All employees have an impact on the end customers—whether or not they directly communicate with them. Demystify that for everyone in the room so they see how they, and other departments, fit into the bigger picture.
Refrain from “death by powerpoint” when onboarding new employees and bring your learning objectives to life
If you have ever been in a training class, nodding off and struggling to stay awake, you know how this feels. It’s brutal! “If the facilitator does most of the speaking during your new-hire training, you’re doing something wrong,” Aldis says. “Participants want to take an active role in their learning. This can be done in many different ways, such as applying the company’s core values to the newbies’ own lives, participating in games and activities to bring the company’s history to life, and/or conversing with a new hire mentor.” The key here is whatever your overall learning objectives of the new-hire program are, drive those points through employee experience and interaction. Get them out of their chairs. Have them exchange ideas with one another. Ask questions along the way to keep them awake and attentive.
Build in time for new hires to socialize as a class, then with seasoned employees
“Having a friend at work is another engagement driver,” Aldis states. “So give new hires the chance to get to know one another outside of the learning environment. These cohorts share a similar experience, akin to being in the same grade in school. They can use each other as resources and build lasting friendships.” In addition to socializing as a class, build in time for existing employees to begin to bond with the new hires. Whether you organize a new-hire happy hour at the end of the week or invite a few high-potential employees to lunch with the new hires one day, this will give the new hires insights from those who are happily building their careers at your organization.
Interested in a strong way to structure a multi-day workshop that you can apply to your new-hire training program?