the biggest takeaway from Training 2016 was … ONBOARDING!

Posted by Amy Bybee on February 24, 2016
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After more than 500 conversations on the expo floor, our Paradigm Learning team was blown away by the urgency around onboarding. And they were also blown away by the detailed needs shared in these conversations. We had attendees desperate to communicate culture, jump-start new hires’ productivity, reduce turnover, and help new employees understand their role so they feel thoroughly prepared. Here is some onboarding feedback that we heard on the expo floor (and have included our expert responses as well):

“We need our onboarding to prepare employees to understand their role.”

Our response: We think of onboarding much like a funnel. First, employees must understand their industry, then their company, then their role. Generally, we take a high-level approach to the industry, as some employees will be coming from the same industry. When teaching new employees about their company, we make sure to include the culture of the organization and some level of financials, as employees make natural connections to how their role impacts the culture and bottom line.

“We need our onboarding to teach culture, especially since we are constantly changing.”

Our response: You’ve hit the nail on the head – new employees need to feel part of their new organization right away. Giving employees a generic onboarding program and assuming they’ll understand the company culture once they are fully immersed in their new role is wishful thinking at best. Our recommendation would be to use a visual or a game as the basis of your program with breakout sessions for the generic parts, since your culture is the foundation of everything you do.

“We need our onboarding program to be scaleable!”

Our response: Many of our clients are in this exact situation. They start with a well-designed program that works in the company’s main office. Then they start to grow and add more offices, but far fewer employees are onboarded at these satellite locations, so our clients tweak the program for each location. The result is an inconsistent onboarding experience. We can help you create a consistent, engaging onboarding program that can be used in multiple locations.

“Our retention is linked to gaps in onboarding.”

Our response: You’re not alone. Many studies are putting numbers on a problem that HR professionals have understood for a long time. Your onboarding program is the first impression that new employees have of their new job. If they have a positive experience, they’ll bring a positive outlook to their new role. It’s important to keep all employees engaged, but it’s especially important to get them engaged in the first place.

“Our onboarding is too long and SO boring!”

Our response: Preach! It’s difficult to strike a balance between giving new employees the information they need to be successful while also getting them to be productive as soon as possible. We suggest keeping the “administrative” parts to 2-3 days MAX. Keep new employees engaged by having a home base they come back to and breakout sessions for the “boring” stuff.

Comments or questions? Please note them below and we’ll be happy to respond.

Topics: Learning Development, Onboarding, Human Resources