Your complete employee onboarding toolkit

This guide is full of downloadable checklists and plans that will help you create a new hire onboarding program that will make employees feel welcome and prepared to do their best work.

By Videhi Bhamidi

About the author

Videhi Bhamidi is a Learning Product Consultant at Easygenerator. With over 15 years of experience in e-learning, user-experience research, and thought-leadership projects, she is a regular contributor to L&D magazines. She is an Oxford alumnus and strives to fuse design, research, technology, and didactics in her solutions.

Why is onboarding important?

A well thought out onboarding training program can make all the difference between a new employee feeling welcome in their workplace and striving to achieve their best, and feeling insecure and invisible.

Key Fact

Research and conventional wisdom both suggest that employees get about 90 days to prove themselves in a new job. The faster new hires feel welcome and prepared for their jobs, the faster they will be able to successfully contribute to the firm’s mission.

Since it has been found that new hires who underwent a positive introduction to the organization and their position have a tendency to stay longer, onboarding programs must be as effective and intuitive as possible.

Bad onboarding stats Successful onboarding stats

The benefits of e-learning for employee onboarding

The typical routine for a new hire training program is to have a classroom setup. However, this can be fairly counterproductive due to the potential costs involved and the resource required. With all the paperwork, it can be an administrative nightmare. It also takes employees, both new and current, away from their work, which can be frustrating.

More and more organizations are now incorporating (or switching to) e-learning in their new hire training programs, as a flexible, intuitive and cost-effective alternative. E-learning can improve your new hire onboarding in numerous ways, including:

  • Overcoming information overload. By creating a digital library of learning nuggets, or “microlearning” modules, new hires can learn at their own pace and focus on specific topics, without becoming overwhelmed. These digital modules can even be made available on mobile devices, so employees can learn in their own time.
  • Increasing engagement. It is all too common for new employees to experience death by PowerPoint in their first week of a new job. By using e-learning in combination with an Employee-generated Learning (EGL) approach (whereby the company’s subject matter experts (SMEs) take ownership of creating learning content), new hires benefit from having extremely relevant, hands-on training material, written by people who have first-hand knowledge of the job.
  • Keeping track of certifications. You often need to ensure that your new hires have passed certain mandatory training, such as health, and safety or data security. Especially if you have a large number of new hires starting at once, it can be difficult to track results and certifications. With e-learning, this can all be automated.
  • Tackling too many training requests. New hire training can have a big demand on your resources, taking existing employees away from their busy schedules. Creating a digital library of e-learning, while having an initial outlay in resources, enables you to quickly onboard new employees without disrupting business as usual.
  • Sharing company culture. E-learning can also help new hires become familiar with the company’s culture. Again, by employing an EGL approach, new employees will be learning straight from their peers. This creates a strong team spirit from day one and encourages new employees to contribute their own knowledge and ideas. That way, they can leave their mark on new generations of employees themselves one day.

Designing your onboarding training program

According to a study by Dr. Talya N. Bauer and SHRM foundation, employee onboarding must cover four main segments of information: Compliance, Clarification, Culture, and Connection (the 4 Cs).

Here’s a checklist of pointers and sample content to help you cover the 4 Cs when designing your onboarding training:

4 Cs of Onboarding

Onboarding best practices

For many new hires, onboarding training starts out enthusiastically with the very best intentions, but this momentum slows down after a few weeks. This is because new employees are usually caught up in the daily grind of work after a while and may not have the same level of interest as before. 

To ensure your organization doesn’t get caught by this pitfall, here are a few best practices that you can use across various stages of your training program, that will lay the foundations for your new hires to flourish.

Plan your onboarding

1. Do your homework

The first place to start would be to understand how onboarding is done at the moment; to understand the areas people who went through the program liked or disliked and why that was the case. 

E-learning authoring tools, such as Easygenerator, incorporate net promoter scoring (NPS) into courses, allowing learners to rate and provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of your course.

2. Ask the stakeholders

Speak to employees who went through the onboarding training recently on what they had expected from such a program. Ascertain their fears and insecurities about starting out in a new company. Speak to HR or the L&D Manager to understand the objectives of the program from a business perspective.

Some onboarding best practices would be to structure an onboarding program that:

  • Gives new employees a sense of comfort and a promising first impression of the organization
  • Lays out the organization’s culture, values, and brand
  • Details the expectations of an employee, e.g., regulations and compliance
  • Describes the fundamental things an employee would need to know in order to thrive in the organization such as the dress code, processes for leave application and where the cafeteria is
  • Teaches them where they stand in the organization’s structure
  • Shows them how valuable their role is to the organization’s well-being and excites them about it

Here’s a downloadable planning worksheet that will help you to design a tailored onboarding program for each of the 4 Cs: 

Planning worksheet

Download your onboarding planning worksheet

Design your onboarding

1. Personalize content, minimize repetitions and stagger the program

A good new hire training program teaches an employee what they need to know, and only what they need to know for their individual role. It doesn’t drown them in information that is mostly unnecessary. 

Sometimes, information that is presented during onboarding training can actually be obtained from the organization’s intranet or website, such as the company’s HR policies or organization charts. Yet another onboarding best practice would be to reflect on the key information that needs to be communicated during the program and how it could add value to an employee’s understanding.

Onboarding best practices would accommodate and allow new hires the freedom to leave and enter the course at times it suits them best. Structuring e-learning components in the program would also empower new hires to learn valuable information at their convenience.

2. Employee-generated onboarding

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.

Deliver your onboarding

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. 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. 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 an online ‘library’ of key learning nuggets and resources will empower your new hires to quickly find the information required for their day-to-day jobs. When providing digital content, ensure not to overwhelm the employee with everything under the sun, but rather offer targeted content with key headlines, bullet points and short pieces of information instead of a lengthy policy document. You can use a variety of formats to create short, focused and crisp content with the likes of videos, quick guides, and infographics – these nugget formats have the maximum impact. 

3. Get the most out of the first week

The first week is crucial for getting the new hire off on the right foot, but it’s important not to overload them. Make the most out of it by using an e-learning path. This is a series of training modules that the new hire can work through at his or her own pace in a low-pressure, interactive learning environment. The modules should cover all the basic topics (IT, policies, company culture) that new hires can master on their own. 

4. 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. This can include making sure the content is available on-demand and accessible through a range of devices.

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.

5. Share stories

While some information might already be on the organization’s website or intranet, current employees have an awareness about the organization that can’t be discerned from the organization’s site.

Online onboarding training can also enable subject matter experts around the business to share their knowledge. This gives the new hire a more helpful in-depth insight into the organization, rather than a one-size-fits-all generic overview. Use stories or videos to demonstrate best practices or valuable lessons from such employees.

Onboarding training templates

There are two common execution models for your onboarding training program. Below we’ve provided you templates for both to help you roll out your onboarding.

30:60:90 Day Model

The 30:60:90 Day Model sets a clear roadmap for the new hires to inform them what is expected, whom to work with, dates, where they need to go in their first 90 days of tenure.  Here’s a sample breakdown of milestones in each component of this model:

Sample 30_60_90 Model

Download your 30:60:90 onboarding plan

52 Weeks Model

Few organizations believe that a new hire can be onboarded overnight or even with a month’s intensive classroom training. Rather, they believe in spacing out the whole onboarding journey across 12 months (52 weeks) and allow the employees to learn and experience a unique aspect about the company or the team in a slow and settled fashion. 

In such a case, the first week is usually allocated for the must-haves and must-know information bits in a classroom setting. This is followed by a blend of digital learning activities with minimal disruption at work and allows them to onboard themselves at their own pace.

52-week plan

Download your 52-week onboarding plan

Improve your onboarding

1. Continuous improvement

Your onboarding program should never be viewed as a finished product. Instead, it should be something organic. 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.

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.

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.

2. 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.

Onboarding new employees with Easygenerator

As mentioned above, onboarding entails 4 main components: Compliance, Clarification, Culture, and Connection. Easygenerator can easily help you build courses in each of these components: 

The onboarding features of Easygenerator

In addition, to help you kick start your onboarding training program in mere minutes, Easygenerator has developed the Onboarding Starter Pack with a selection of example onboarding courses, designed by our didactic experts, ready for you to start using.

And with that, you should be fully prepared to launch an engaging and effective onboarding training program!

Download the Easygenerator Onboarding Starter Pack

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