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6 Steps To A Successful Onboarding Program

by Luke Fitzpatrick 15 days ago in tech

When bringing a new employee onto your team, an effective training program is vital to get them off to a good start.

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

A robust onboarding process helps your recruit learn the ropes quickly and successfully so they can get stuck into the job and start contributing to your business. It’s also hugely important for employee retention — one survey found that employees who have a negative onboarding experience are twice as likely to look for new opportunities in the future.

Training programs for new employees are vital to your business for both developing and retaining new talent. So what can you do to make the onboarding process as effective as possible?

Step 1: Start preparing them before their first day

The best way to get your new recruits off to a good start is to make sure they turn up to their first day as prepared as possible, giving them the confidence to get stuck into the job straight away. Sometimes called pre-boarding, this preparation involves giving recruits a variety of helpful information before they begin the job, such as:

  • An overview of the first day/week, including a schedule.
  • The equipment you’ll provide, and any equipment they’ll need to bring.
  • Access instructions/directions and advice on where to park.
  • The dress code and other office rules.
  • Contact details for their supervisor or manager so they can introduce themselves and ask questions.

Pre-boarding goes a long way to making the onboarding process as a whole more effective. The highest-performing companies are 53% more likely to implement pre-boarding than their competitors, showing just how much of an edge it can give your business.

Step 2: Have a detailed onboarding plan at the ready

Your training program for new employees needs to be precisely planned and organized to be it’s most effective. Make a checklist of training tasks, goals, and assessments, and ensure that any supervisors or managers involved in the process have access to it.

Keeping everyone on the same page means your new recruits will have an organized and consistent training experience and will benefit more from it as a result.

Step 3: Take a blended approach to learning

Incorporating a variety of learning methods into your training plan can help new recruits learn in the way that works best for them.

For example, some trainees will get more out of presentations, seminars, or written instructions than others who may prefer to learn with hands-on, practical tasks and on-the-job training. Catering to different learning methods gives the best of both worlds, and helps trainees learn more effectively.

Step 4: Build relationships as well as skills

Onboarding isn’t just about training your new recruits - it’s about incorporating them into your existing team as well. Give your new employees plenty of opportunities to work with a variety of colleagues and other departments to help them build relationships and gain a wider perspective of how your business operates.

In particular, assigning an experienced colleague as a mentor can be highly effective, providing a support figure for new recruits who may be more informal and more approachable than supervisors or managers.

Step 5: Schedule one-on-one time

Continuous feedback is essential for onboarding processes - the recruit needs to know what they’re doing well and how they can improve, and you need to know how they’re settling into their role and what other support they might need.

Regular one-on-one time with the recruit’s direct supervisor or manager helps to keep this dialogue open and informative. From the recruit’s perspective, this helps make them feel supported — 72% of new employees say one-on-one time with their manager is the most helpful part of onboarding.

Step 6: Set realistic goals

Don’t rush your trainees. Pushing them to achieve too much too fast can dangerously shake their confidence and negatively impact their long-term performance as a result. Gradually build up your recruit’s responsibilities, so they have time to grow into the role, and give regular feedback to help them improve wherever possible.

It might help to incorporate progress reviews at specific milestones; not just at the end of their first week or month, but also three months, six months, and even one year into the job.


Luke Fitzpatrick

Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, The Next Web, and Influencive. He is a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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