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4 Ways to Make Your New Hire Training Program Shine

Posted by Kerri Garbis
August 11, 2017


Have you ever been "thrown into the deep end" at a new job? It can be intimidating, alienating, and confusing even for people completely suited to their new position. Of course, an employer wants to know that a new hire can hit the ground running on day one. Because of this expectation, not everyone recognizes the benefits of a full new hire training program.

More than simply a handshake and information packet, your new hire training program should set the tone for the tenure of a new employee. Of course, there's a lot of obligatory information you have to pass along: mission statements and company goals, safety procedures, employer policies, and mountains of paperwork. But, in terms of setting the tone, would you like to engage, empower, and inspire your new hires, or just initiate them? In order to put the best foot forward for your company, you need your new hire training program to shine.

According to the SHRM Foundation, 69% of new hires are more likely to stick around at an organization when they've had an awesome onboarding experience. What does that mean to you? It means in order to get people to invest in you, you have to invest in them, right off the bat.

Here are some quick thoughts to get you started on your way to a great new hire training program. As you read, consider how your onboarding stacks up, and where you can begin making changes:

1. Are you truly devoting the time? Or are you simply creating a pastries and paper packets perfunctory experience? Sure, everyone loves pastry and you'll definitely have a lot of papers to distribute. However, your overall onboarding should be more than an old video in a room.

Some companies devote days to an initial onboarding training, and then have a structured schedule for check-ins with new employees over the ensuing months. A good sign you may need to rethink your efforts? If your training program is described in hours. And if you're not thinking past the first week someone is at your organization, it will benefit everyone for you to start taking a longer look.

Think back to when you arrived at your college freshman orientation. What if you had to show up on the first day of class, figure out how to move in, discern where all of the facilities were, gather your textbooks and more with only two hours of information and some packets of paper? You'd be lost. Just because everyone is now a professional in their field doesn't mean that feeling has completely changed.  

2. Do you ever turn the tables? Poll new hires, and see what they need. There may be big questions or concerns that you're not thinking of, especially if you've been at your organization for quite a while. You can add a follow-up day to address these questions, or leave an empty morning in your orientation schedule to take questions and let them have the floor.

Take it even further. Bonus points if you ask your participants before AND after your training program. Their responses can help you continue to refine your program going forward.

3. Do you help them hone their skills? Everyone has their own set of strengths and weaknesses, but it reflects well on your organization if everyone can perform certain tasks at a high level. Especially with things like soft skills, there may be areas of ability that need improvement. Add soft skills training into your program to ensure that new hires will be able to communicate and interact in a way that stacks up with the standards of the rest of the company. 

(In the interest of full disclosure, we've had a great experience bringing our training to our client's new hire programs. You can see what our clients are saying here.)

4. Do you check in, and check in again? What if you're not onboarding a group? What if you're working with new hires one-on-one? Yes, you can still bring them a full program that addresses their needs. But just as important, you can schedule check-ins periodically over the first few months of their employment. Even if it's just a brief meeting every few weeks, be prepared with a few open-ended questions to get your new employee talking. Here are just a few suggestions, beyond simply "How's it going?":

  • What did you expect when you started here?
  • What has lived up to those expectations? What hasn't?
  • Where do you feel you were able to "hit the ground running"?
  • Where do you feel that you're struggling?
  • What would you want someone coming into this company to know?

Once upon a time, YOU were a new hire at your organization. You know how important it is to really invest in people, and for them to feel invested in, as well. A standout onboarding experience can make the difference between a company people are happy to work for, and an organization with a revolving door of talent. 


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