Laying the foundation for success: onboarding best practices

All companies, of all sizes, must engage their new hires through a training program. Whilst the content of onboarding training, and the needs of new hires will be different from business to business, there are some onboarding best practices that can be adopted.

By Danielle Agass on Apr 2nd

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A strong and meaningful training program will equip new hires with everything needed to perform in their new roles, and ensure a clear pathway to success is laid out. However, it is also a vital tool for your organization to give an excellent first impression; by selling its ethos, and the vital role the new-starter will play. Doing so will provide much-needed assurance, making new hires feel enthused about joining your organization.

For many, onboarding training starts out enthusiastically with the very best intentions, but this tends to taper off after the first few weeks. To ensure your organization doesn’t get caught by this pitfall, this article has set out six best practices for any onboarding training program that will lay the foundations for your new hires to flourish.

Provide easy signposting

All new hires will come with queries and small issues they need assistance with – this is only natural when starting in a new place. With this in mind, it’s key to signpost them to the right resources to ensure these queries can be answered quickly and easily.

Providing ‘soft’ versions of resources at the click of a button is ideal to empower your new starters to quickly find answers themselves and reflects how they might seek to solve a problem in their day to day lives. Of course, there always needs to be a balance between making information readily available and not overloading people with content.

Targeted information ensures new hires are in receipt of the key headlines of your organization, but prevents them feeling overwhelmed with lengthy strategic and policy documents. The more varied and imaginative your content, the greater its impact will be. Short guides, infographics, and bite-sized videos are all great examples of how to efficiently use the content for maximum impact.

Sell your organization’s ethos

All businesses come with their own special values and understanding this is part of introducing new-starters to an organization’s working practices, and the rationale behind these. This can be seen from the tone of policy documents, how staff work and use their office space, or how you expect your new hires to prioritize their time. All of this expresses the ethos of your organization and makes employees feel part of the bigger picture.

However, this ethos isn’t usually something that can be set out in a one-pager, or captured neatly in a structure chart; rather, it is learned over time. Your onboarding training is a key tool for exposing your new hires to this as soon as they enter the organization, allowing them to quickly become accustomed to the culture of their new workplace.

Ensuring that big issues are given sufficient attention is key in onboarding best practice. Highlighting issues such as, success in the workplace and valuing customers in the training program will build an important base and mindset that your new hires can easily buy into, and quickly begin to ‘live’ through their day to day work.

A ‘joined-up’ workplace

One of the best, and most likely untapped, resources are your existing employees. Not only are these the people who already know all about your organization, but they’re the ones best placed to tell the story of why it’s such an amazing place to work. Inspiring your employees to share their knowledge, and empowering them to create their own content not only personalizes the onboarding process but also lets your existing employees feel valued.

The best onboarding program will enable your new hires to make connections from their very first day. Onboarding best practices seek to create a joined-up working environment where key connections can quickly be made. This will give new hires the confidence to succeed in their new roles.

Continuous improvement

Your onboarding program should never be viewed as a finished product. Instead, it should be something organic, where there is always room for improvement. One of the easiest ways to assess its success is to ask those that have most recently used it.

An onboarding training program that focuses on both the needs of the organization and the individual, will help new employees feel empowered to ask for the tools they need to succeed. Furthermore, feedback will not only facilitate continuous improvement, but the information gathered can inform future recruitment processes and assist with corporate priorities. Don’t forget that successful engagement from day-one, will likely lead to happier, more productive employees in the long-term.

Onboarding, on-demand

The content of your onboarding training program will only be as good as the delivery methods you use. Think about how your new hires access information in their everyday lives and try to reflect this in the delivery of your onboarding training program. This can include making sure the onboarding content is available on-demand and accessible through a range of devices from laptops to smartphones.

The easier and more accessible the content, the more engaged your new hires will feel. Furthermore, using this type of shorter and more accessible e-learning will allow new hires to quickly utilize the knowledge in their roles.

Look at the bigger picture

No new hire can simply be inducted into an organization in a few short days and just expected to succeed. The very best onboarding training programs will provide long-term support to new hires and ensure that the onboarding process naturally links to annual performance assessments and discussions.

This creates the crucial ‘golden thread’ that links an employee’s current performance right back to when they initially joined an organization. Setting up new employees for early success will equip them to achieve throughout their whole time with your organization.

To kick-start your onboarding program, why not download Easygenerator’s Onboarding Starter Pack.

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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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