Effective new hire training is critical to business success. Research by Brandon Hall Group found that organizations with strong onboarding processes can increase productivity by 70% and experience an 82% improvement in new hire retention. It costs businesses one-half to two times an employee’s salary to replace them. With a rising generation of workers being more willing to leave for a new job, engaging and making them comfortable from the start is imperative.
Despite technological improvements and workforce changes, many companies remain entrenched in legacy onboarding practices. According to the Human Capital Institute, 58% of companies run an onboarding program focused on paperwork and process. These standardized structures often involve giving out handbooks and orientation on company policies, employee expectations and technology training. This strategy does not give employees the tools and support they need to succeed.
It’s time to build upon conventional onboarding with a new approach: everboarding. Everboarding is an ongoing process of learning and development throughout the employee lifecycle. Here are four best practices that will foster everboarding and set new employees and your business up for success.
1. Make content accessible and engaging.
Let’s first examine content. Businesses provide new hires with large amounts of onboarding material. Presenting information in all-day sessions can overwhelm new hires. Managers can break training into small chunks of digestible content to mitigate cognitive overload and increase learner retention. Bite-sized learning, aka microlearning, can improve participation and fit into busy schedules.
Onboarding should also offer a variety of learning experiences. Long presentations and documents can be tedious. Instead, incorporate videos, exercises, quizzes, role-playing and one-on-one meetings into the curriculum to keep it interesting and encourage engagement. Blended learning can reinforce new information and help employees feel more immersed in company culture.
Lastly, make sure all of the information is easily accessible. Store all training content in one place. By creating a central repository or learning library, new employees can find what they need quickly and won’t misplace or forget a document. New hires today expect a mobile-first approach. Documents, videos and other onboarding collateral must be accessible via mobile phones, tablets and laptops so employees can view them on their preferred device.
2. Create dynamic and customized processes.
Processes, technology, products and customer needs change constantly, and employees join the company with different skills and experiences. With these conditions, a static cookie-cutter onboarding won’t adequately prepare all employees for the job. Onboarding must be dynamic, customized and up to date. Diligently update and produce new learning material to ensure your new hire training programs are helpful to everyone.
Enlist senior leaders, subject matter experts (SMEs) and top performers to help curate and create content. They can share recent experiences, discuss workflow processes and demonstrate useful business tactics. This will introduce new hires to company leaders and encourage connectivity.
Every employee who walks through the door shouldn’t receive the same learning experience. Someone fresh out of college may require different training than someone with 10 years of experience. Create customized “just for me” experiences by selecting content relevant to specific employees and allowing them to skip unnecessary modules. Offer unique plans to help employees gain the specific knowledge they need and so they can feel seen and valued. One more customization tactic is providing early one-on-one coaching and manager interaction. The conversations help new hires feel more comfortable and engaged.
3. Reinforce training.
Instead of viewing onboarding as a one-time event with a beginning and end, approach it as an ongoing process. Mastering content and skills require reinforcement, coaching and collaboration. It’s important to provide key learnings about competitors, value propositions and processes when employees first start.
However, according to the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve theory, the average person will forget up to 98% of information within 30 days if it’s not reinforced. To overcome this tendency, incorporate periodic refreshers and exercises into the employee’s workflow.
Reinforcement can also take the form of just-in-time learning. With this approach, new hires receive information for specific situations just before they need it. For example, you might provide someone with product information before they join their first sales call. Just-in-time learning ensures the material is fresh in the employee’s mind and makes them more likely to retain the knowledge because they apply it immediately.
4. Provide continuous learning and development.
Learning continues long after onboarding. Think “everboarding” and adopt a culture of learning with regular opportunities to develop and build new skills. This can show employees that the organization is invested in their L&D, which can make them more likely to stay with the company. Reinforce new skills with continuous practice — role-playing strengthens competencies and continuous coaching provides performance support and instills confidence.
A modern learning platform can help execute these best practices. While traditional learning management systems (LMSs) simply house educational documents and courses, a mobile-first sales enablement solution can offer scale, flexibility and personalization along with the automation of administrative tasks. Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platforms also generate deeper engagement and adoption analytics tying courses and content to behavior change and outcomes.
Effective onboarding is not easy — according to Gallup research, only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job with onboarding. Developing a solid everboarding program can be the difference between losing new employees within the first 90 days and leading a happy workforce. Everboarding is a modern and dynamic approach that puts your employees at the center of the process, building a foundation for long-term success.