Engagement starts from the first minute a new hire signs an employment contract. How the new employee is welcomed into the organization and how quickly they can catch up to their peers and find success in their new role impacts the creation of a more productive and engaged workplace.
And new hire training is a critical part of this process. Providing effective training can help your new employees learn the skills they need to be productive and successful in their roles. According to BambooHR research, employees who had an effective onboarding feel up to 18 times more committed to their organization.
This is why learning leaders must invest in building a robust onboarding process. New employees should feel supported from the beginning and excited to start their new journey. Having worked in the hiring business for over two decades now, I’ve learned that successful new hire training comes down to a few basic functions. Let’s take a look.
Managing Expectations and Feedback
Choice Magazine volume six, issue one of Corporate Evolution features the story of Automatic Data Processing, Inc., a company that made a special effort to develop its new hires in leadership positions. They modeled their coaching program after the “First 90 Days” approach created by Harvard Business School professor Michael D. Watkins, where new leaders are paired with a coach during the first ninety days of every assignment.
The support new hires get from their employer both eases their anxiety and inspires them in their careers. Two especially helpful parts of this process are setting clear expectations and giving new hires regular feedback throughout their learning process.
Set clear expectations.
According to the expert panel at Forbes, “If leaders want employees to maximize productivity, get projects completed on time and accurately, and help the business thrive, they must ensure that every team member understands exactly what is expected of them.”
If employers want new hires to be engaged from the jump, they must set clear expectations right away. According to a Gallup report, the majority of the U.S. workforce (65%) is not engaged in their roles or the workplace.
Creating a culture of feedback can help new hires feel more confident as they adjust to their new role. Managers and/or mentors should provide regular feedback and embed it into the learning process so new hires can improve faster and better, as well as gain more confidence in their new position.
Implementing a Blended Approach
Blended learning can give new hires the opportunity to engage with the company’s procedures and culture in a way that works for them. For example, using both bite-sized digital modules and face-to-face coaching may prevent burnout and keep new employees engaged with the learning experience.
Experiential learning methods, like shadowing, coaching and mentorship, can enable meaningful engagement and connectivity. Consider allowing new hires to shadow more experienced employees for one or two weeks. They may also benefit from observing team meetings to get a sense of how they operate and how team members interact with one another.
In a Forbes article, Srikant Chellappa, the co-founder and president of Engagedly, says “Like one cannot read a book to ride a bike, the approach must be ‘observe, learn, do, teach.’” A mentor can help guide a new hire through the in’s and out’s of not only their role but the company as a whole. A great mentor can even provide career guidance. When new employees feel looked after, they can feel more comfortable asking questions and more motivated to tackle their new tasks.
Make Good Use of Technology and Automation
In this digital age where remote learning is a norm, there is no excuse for employers not to make online training easy to access. When new hires read or watch training materials, they aren’t going to memorize every single item. This is why they should have easy access to all their training materials in one place. That way, new hires can dedicate all their time to learning rather than scrolling through emails and closed tabs.
Learning the Employees’ Strengths
Starting a new role can put us in a vulnerable, uncertain position. It’s the employer’s responsibility to approach the training process with empathy and emotional intelligence. A reliable way to set the right tone is to understand the employee’s strengths.
Establish an open dialogue with the new employee about their strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement. You can also discuss the employee’s expectations in regards to their training. For example, the employee may benefit from one-on-one meetings as well as a written or visual job aid to help the new information sink in. Employers should tailor their approach for each individual new hire to make learning more effective.
Investing in a comprehensive new hire training program is a smart decision for any company that wants to retain its talent and improve employee engagement. By setting clear expectations, prioritizing feedback, using a blended learning approach, employing experiential learning methods and leveraging technology and automation, employers can help new hires feel comfortable and confident in their roles.
A well-designed onboarding program also helps build a culture of learning, which benefits not only new hires but also more experienced employees who can continue to develop and grow their skills over time.