Onboarding best practices for startups

Like any other company, your startup needs to hire and train new employees as it continues to grow. Onboarding training is crucial for integrating new employees into your company’s culture and ensuring they have the necessary skills.

By Danielle Agass on Jul 18th

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However, startups face some unique challenges when it comes to training. By definition, they are young companies, so they often lack well-established onboarding best practices. Startups also operate in highly dynamic markets with new, innovative business models, so they’re constantly under pressure to do things quickly, even when it comes to training. And lastly, they may not have huge budgets set aside for training, because other areas of the business take priority.

These are all very real challenges for startups, but they don’t have to keep you from onboarding your new hires successfully. In fact, with some help from e-learning technologies, your startup can actually implement a quick, cost-effective, custom-made training program that reflects its unique culture. Follow the five onboarding best practices discussed below, and your startup will soon be onboarding new hires with the best of them.

Onboarding best practices

1. Start even before day one

Using e-learning tools, such as online pre-assessments, training modules, and tutorial videos, you can actually start educating potential employees before they even officially join the company.

For example, you can give potential candidates access to pre-assessment modules to test their background knowledge (for example, existing knowledge of your company’s products or relevant IT skills). This saves precious time once an employee is hired, giving you a firm grasp of where they stand in terms of skills and knowledge on day one.

2. Make introductions

Once an employee is hired, don’t waste any time introducing them to your company’s culture, products and team. E-learning makes this cheaper and easier than ever. It saves startups from having to maintain an expensive team of trainers or take experienced employees off the floor to conduct training each time a new employee gets hired.

Now, your experienced employees can simply author online courses covering basic topics, like product intros and company procedures. These courses can be accessed online at any time, so new hires can start training immediately and get up to speed quickly at minimum cost.

3. Get the most out of the first week

The first week is crucial for getting the new hire off on the right foot. Make the most out of it by designing a continual orientation program. This can all be done online using an e-learning path, a series of training modules which the new hire can work through at his or her own pace. The modules should cover all the basic topics (IT, policies, company culture) that new hires can master on their own.

It’s important not to overload the new hire in week one, which is why an e-learning path is so helpful. It lets the employee master the content on their own in a low-pressure, interactive learning environment. Let them build a firm foundation in the first week on the job, so that everything that comes next will be easier.

4. Extend the onboarding period

Learning is a never-ending process, so don’t expect onboarding to be finished in just one week. Give new hires a structured onboarding period with regular assessments spread out across their first 90 days or even longer. This way, you can monitor their progress and ensure that they are fully integrating into the company.

E-learning is an inexpensive, time-saving method for keeping onboarding on track over a longer period of time. Employees can regularly log in and take a quick online assessment to check whether they’re mastering the necessary skills. Modern e-learning platforms also make it easy to track learner results, so management or trainers can see when a learner is falling behind on specific topics.

5. Create a feedback culture

Teamwork and feedback are essential ingredients of any startup’s success. So, start instilling these key values in your new hires from day one by making continual feedback a part of the onboarding process. Give new hires plenty of feedback on how they’re doing, but also encourage them to offer their own feedback in return. This promotes creative, solutions-oriented thinking and lets the new hire know their ideas matter. It also helps trainers improve onboarding courses so they fully meet the needs of new employees.

One great method for gaining course feedback is net promoter score (NPS). Simply add an NPS survey to the end of each course, so new hires can let you know if they found the course useful.

Onboarding the easy way

Remember, your startup doesn’t need to spend a fortune or devote hundreds of working hours to onboarding a new hire. Just do what most startups are already very good at: use smart technologies. E-learning software makes training faster and more efficient than ever. Embrace the possibilities and follow the onboarding best practices above, and your startup will be on the road to onboarding success in no time.

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About the author

Danielle Agass is the Content Marketing Manager at Easygenerator and has been writing ever since she could pick up a pencil. A Brit by birth, she moved to the Netherlands in 2018 with her husband and their cat, Ron.

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