Onboarding Without Overboarding

By
Jennifer Bell
on
December 17, 2018

It was my first day in a new job. I was delighted to find a gift bag containing a pen, notepad, and corporate coffee mug waiting for me. The thoughtful welcome wasn’t the real source of my enthusiasm—it was the promise of actual onboarding training that had me excited. My new organization came complete with a full onboarding training program, dedicated training resource, and an equipped training room!

My enthusiasm quickly waned. After two solid weeks of PowerPoint presentations on products, process, more product, another process, even more product and then some role-play phone scripts, I was deemed “trained”. In reality, I was reeling from the barrage of information and challenged to create my own resources and job supports. I felt defeated, disengaged, and discouraged with little hope I'd actually remember what I'd need when the time came to use it.

The problem with many onboarding training programs is that all of the pressure is on the trainee to figure out how to learn what they need to know. Training is a lot of information in a short amount of time. The training is delivered, thus the learner trained. Presto!

Except the human brain isn’t equipped to download a pile of information and convert it all into long-term memory.

Three Challenges Organizations Face During Onboarding

Organizations need to recognize that onboarding and training happen over an extended period of time and present different issues along the way. We'll cover three of the leading challenges faced during onboarding and training here.

Challenge #1 - How do you train new hires for their roles?

  1. Training Life Cycle - Individual needs change over time as trainees begin to take on daily duties. For instance, training on day one will look a lot different from training on day 291, but it’s still training.
  2. Multiple Needs - New hires have specific skills and training needs that must be met. It can also be tricky to manage expectations and requirements with various stakeholders in the organization such as managers, HR, team leaders, or other departments.
  3. Engagement - You want to make a good impression on new hires and they want to do the same with you! They also want to get going and “start doing” as quickly as possible, but there’s a litany of administrative items that have to be covered first.
  4. Tracking and Reporting - Organizations need a way to keep track of the training progression and report to others within the company. The new hire also needs feedback on expectations of their onboarding journey.

Challenge #2 - How do you make performance supports available?

  1. Changing Importance - Some items are one-and-done while others are required at a later date. Organizations need to help new hires navigate what’s interesting versus what’s required for their role.
  2. The Volume of Information - Important information can be lost due to the sheer volume of information presented. New hires need supports that allow them to quickly review and reference material needed to be successful in their role.
  3. Information Organization - Employers needs to make performance supports readily available and up-to-date. New hires need to know what information is available as well as where to find it.

Challenge #3 - How do new hires retain critical information?

  1. Assumed Knowledge - Managers can’t remember what it’s like to be new. They may find themselves saying, “We talked about this.” However, it’s not unexpected that the new hire may forget something when faced with a barrage of information during training.
  2. Depth and Breadth of Material - Learners need support in determining the importance and relevance of information and assets. Without the context of experience, they have to sort through and classify all of the information and materials they are exposed to during onboarding.
  3. Content Diversity - Organizations need to provide training on topics outside of the specific role. Things like online security, anti-harassment, and emergency procedures are critical parts of the business and add to the overall diversity and complexity of material which must be retained.
Onboarding Without Overboarding - Flare Learning - Training Illuminated

Solutions That Work for You

You don’t want to invest in training to only hope new hires actually learned what they needed to. If you do, you’ll end up with gaps in the key performance indicators and eventually, “low performers” are eliminated, and employee retention plummets. The results aren’t good for the employee or the organization and it's incredibly costly.

So, what’s a world-class organization supposed to do? As experts in onboarding training that helps with employee retention, we've identified some low-tech and high-tech solutions just for you.

Low-Tech Solutions for Onboarding

You don’t have to go high-tech to build better onboarding! A few low-tech options you can implement quickly and easily are:

Organization

  • One-Stop-Shop - Set up an intranet or central shared folder that is designated for onboarding so new hires can self-serve documents all in one place such as Excel, MS Word or Google Documents.
  • Bulletins - Put up a corporate bulletin board where you can display posters for key information, policy changes, announcements, and sign-ups to upcoming training sessions. Public posting benefits the entire organization!

Pre-Scheduled Training and Check-Ins

  • Continuous Training - Pre-schedule sessions to cover specific topics and allow for job shadowing or mentoring that goes well beyond their first 30 days.
  • Instructor-Led Training - Hold group sessions booked through MS Outlook or a posted calendar on the shop floor.
  • Check-In Meetings - Give them a chance to ask questions, address any issues they have quickly, and get the information you need to make any required changes—including changes to the onboarding program that will benefit your next hire!

High-Tech Solutions for Onboarding

If it makes sense for your organization, high-tech solutions can also provide added benefits like automation, dynamic reporting, and real insights into your business.

Learning Management Software (LMS)

  • eLearning - Provide interactive, self-driven eLearning through enrollments and deadlines.
  • Learning Plans - Allow new hires to quickly see what their onboarding journey will include and track their own progress.
  • Reporting and Admin - Allow reporting and manager oversight to ensure that everything is being completed on time and as required.
  • Performance Supports - Provide learners access to performance supports in the same place they access their eLearning.
  • Refresher Training - Roll out annual refresher training to your entire team and track the results to have more meaningful insights for one-on-one coaching sessions.

Looking for an LMS? We recommend SmarterU.

Microlearning

  • Daily Training - Provide early exposure to the depth and breadth of information in a short amount of time.
  • Fully Adaptive - Support learners by making it easy for them to learn what they need to be successful in their roles with daily retention training.

Want to learn more about Adaptive Microlearning? You should meet OttoLearn!

The most important thing is to get started! Get feedback from your team and your new hires for a list of improvements. Categorize them in order of impact and ease to build and roll-out and start with a few low-tech solutions for simple, early wins. Consider a LMS or Microlearning platform—or leverage both. Then combine your high-tech solutions with your low-tech solutions for a comprehensive approach.

Every organization wants to make the most of their recruitment and training dollars—let's talk about the ways we can help you improve your training program. Contact us today—we’d love to hear from you!


About the Author

Jennifer Bell

Jennifer is the Team Leader for Flare Learning with a background in sales, leadership, training & development and a passion for helping clients achieve their training dreams.
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Jennifer Bell

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