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Effective Onboarding Strategies: A Comprehensive Guide for Employers

Effective Onboarding Strategies: A Comprehensive Guide for Employers

An effective employee onboarding process can go a long way in making your newly hired employees feel comfortable and confident in their positions. Whether an employee is filling a brand new position or replacing an employee who has resigned or retired, the time and effort that business owners and HR teams put into the employee onboarding process is incredibly worthwhile.

Implementing a reliable onboarding process will benefit not only your new employees but also your company. Research shows that a well-executed onboarding process increases retention rates—and this is a big deal when you’re attracting top-notch talent. According to Click Boarding, an onboarding software company, “69 percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding.” The onboarding process sets employees up for success by making your expectations clear and emphasizing the role they’ll be playing in helping your company grow, no matter the industry you serve.

This guide will share thoughtful strategies and new hire training techniques that employers can use consistently as part of a streamlined onboarding process. Training new employees does take time, but it will be time well spent because an investment in your employees is an investment in your company.

Strategies for Incorporating Onboarding Programs

The most effective training strategies will be ones that quickly integrate new hires into the company culture. Why? Because the more comfortable they feel in their new workplace and among their new colleagues, the more they’ll sense that they aren’t just clocking in and clocking out; they are very much part of a community working toward shared goals with palpable dedication and enthusiasm.

One way to introduce your company culture is by sharing the company’s history, values, policies, and mission. Equipping your employees with this knowledge—and encouraging them to ask any questions they may have—allows for open and honest conversations, plus establishes a level of trust and transparency from the get-go. If you’d like, share this information during a tour of the workplace, or send some of it in a well-organized welcome package that comes complete with company merchandise such as a mug or T-shirt.

Another excellent strategy for incorporating onboarding programs is to schedule team luncheons so new hires can interact with their colleagues in a stress-free environment. Activities held outside the workplace—a bi-monthly volunteer day at your local humane society, for instance—can also make the employee onboarding process a natural extension of your company's regular programming, fostering a sense of social responsibility and team spirit while seamlessly integrating new hires into the company culture.

Techniques for Creating Engaging Training Materials

Ideal new hire training techniques will involve your company making the effort to produce as many engaging training materials as possible. Examples of engaging training materials are short videos, online checklists, activity sheets, self-assessment tools, and PowerPoint presentations (all the better if those presentations include a little bit of humor to help lighten the mood and make the information they’re absorbing more memorable).

Since every employee is unique, you must also take into account diverse learning styles when training new employees. Some will be visual or audio learners, and others will learn best when reading and writing.

Remember, the more engaged your employees are with the materials at hand, the more inclined they’ll be to develop a sense of loyalty toward your brand. Furthermore, training your employees well can increase their productivity and emphasize that they have the potential to grow and succeed within the company—and that’s a great feeling indeed.

Best Practices for Utilizing Mentorship and Peer-to-Peer Learning

Never underestimate mentorship and peer-to-peer learning when it comes to training new employees. One of the most effective training strategies your company can pursue involves relying on current employees to train new ones. It’s normal for new employees to feel nervous when they start a new job; pairing them with someone who has “been there, done that” can make them feel so much more at ease.

Your new employee should feel like they are in an environment wherein they are supported—that it’s okay to make mistakes, to ask questions, to double-check that they are completing their tasks correctly. Mentorship and peer-to-peer learning greatly enhances the training experience for new employees and makes the employee onboarding process far more dynamic and efficient. The advice, guidance, and practical tips and tricks that a long-term employee can give to a brand new one will be invaluable. Plus, there’s a lot to be said about long-term employees: they obviously enjoy working for your company, and they certainly won’t be afraid to share with new employees all the reasons why.

Methods for Measuring the Effectiveness of Training Programs

Do your new employees a favor and make it known that you will be checking in on them regularly. Training new employees doesn’t mean that you stop monitoring them once they seem to have adjusted to the workflow. It would behoove your employees to know that you’ll be closely evaluating them not just because you want to measure their effectiveness but also because you care about their performance and overall job satisfaction.

One way to measure the effectiveness of your company’s effective training strategies is to have a manager meet with them at least once a week to ensure that they are meeting their goals, asking any relevant questions, and sharing any concerns they have about their day-to-day responsibilities. Training new employees doesn’t happen overnight—and for that matter, it doesn’t even happen in a week. Give your employees the feedback they need for up to a year into their new role so they can understand the areas in which they may need to improve. And by all means, make it clear when they meet or exceed your expectations; the more confident they are, the more their performance metrics should rise.

Other effective training strategies include post-training assessments and feedback surveys. Customer satisfaction ratings and on-the-job observations can also provide insight into how well your new employees are becoming acclimated. Your goal should be to gauge how well they are performing, perceiving their usefulness, and striving to make meaningful contributions for the betterment of the company.

The Importance of Continuous Learning

A new employee who stops learning and soon begins to feel as if every day is Groundhog Day will be less valuable to your company. That’s why training new employees should also involve giving them continuous learning opportunities to support their ongoing growth and development.

One of the best new hire training techniques has everything to do with emphasizing that you want your employees to grow, feel valued, and actively contribute to the company in ways that make them feel proud and acknowledged by both their colleagues and superiors. Continuous learning opportunities can be held in person or online; these include conferences, workshops, seminars, and school courses. Some continuous learning opportunities are free, while others require a fee—regardless of the cost (or lack thereof), make it apparent that you want to equip your employees with all the resources they need to make a real difference and, in turn, uphold your company’s strong reputation.

Final Thoughts on Effective Onboarding Strategies

According to Gallup, “The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee's annual salary—and that's a conservative estimate.” With this information in mind, know that training new employees through a strategic employee onboarding process will empower them in myriad ways.

We encourage you to embrace the employee onboarding process, and to make training new employees a way for your company to thrive by investing in your greatest asset—the people behind the scenes with an obvious passion for the brand you’re fostering, the company culture you’re cultivating, and the industry you’re improving.

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