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Employee Onboarding 101 : The Best Training Guide Ever

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From posting a job to candidate interviews, hiring a new employee is difficult, but the hard work doesn’t end on the employee’s first day. HR teams and managers will need to fully train the new hire through a comprehensive employee onboarding program.

If you’re looking to improve your employee productivity and new hire experience, read on to learn what employee onboarding and training entails, why it’s important, and the essential things to cover in a new employee’s first days and months at the company.

What is Employee Onboarding?

Employee onboarding is the process of familiarizing an employee with a company, its culture, and the tools and processes the new hire will need to do their job. Successful onboarding programs involve both department managers and HR teams and begin on the employee’s first day and last up to a year.

Difference between Employee Onboarding and Orientation

Many companies confuse employee onboarding with new employee orientation. Orientation is a procedural process that lasts a day or two. Orientation is about making sure employees have completed their paperwork and reviewed employment policies and handbooks.

Orientation is only a small part of onboarding. Onboarding is a management process designed to better equip new hires to be as productive and engaged as employees had motivation declared in their cover letters when applying for the job.

Orientation can be completed quickly by an HR team member, but onboarding will require several months and involve the new hire’s peers, managers, and HR team.

Why is onboarding important?

Onboarding clearly requires a significant investment of time and resources. Wouldn’t it be better if employees just got started on their work?

Researchers have found that employees in companies without formal onboarding programs are more likely to leave and are less productive than employees who went through a formal onboarding program.

The lack of productivity has a price – employees not understanding their jobs cost businesses in the United States and the United Kingdom an estimated $37 billion every year.

Onboarding benefits companies by creating more engaged and productive employees while significantly reducing turnover costs.

What’s needed for an employee’s first day of onboarding?

In addition to orientation procedures, an employee’s first day should focus on setting them up for success in their new role. Think of the first day as introducing the employee to their job and to their coworkers.

Employees do better when they have clear expectations and responsibilities. Clearly define their role and provide a specific job description. It’s also important to review the job role and responsibilities with the new hire’s peers.

If fellow employees don’t understand the new hire’s role, they may resent the new person or think the new hire is stepping on their toes. The entire team will work better if everyone is aligned on each person’s responsibilities.

An employee’s first day of onboarding also should include a social component to allow the employee to meet their new teammates. Consider taking the employee out to lunch or bringing coffee and doughnuts for a meet and greet.

Employee Training in the First Week

A new employee’s first few days on the job can either set them up or success or make them second guess their choice to join the company.

A recent survey by BambooHR identified the top items employees want from their first week of onboarding:

  • On-the-job training
  • Review of company policies and procedures
  • An employee “buddy” or mentor

On-the-job training is the key for getting employees up-to-speed on the tasks they need to complete and the systems they’ll need to use. Many employees struggle to retain the information they learn from classroom training sessions.

One-the-job training helps employees learn as they go instead of being overwhelmed by the large volume of information presented in a classroom session.

As product adoption platform, Apty provides real-time on the job training for new and existing employees. Guided workflows allow even novice users to quickly complete their work in any web-based enterprise application like Salesforce, Oracle, or SAP.

For example, one Apty client, a major U.S. airline, implemented these best practices for onboarding new engineers. When the engineer is ready to input their first project into CA PPM, a mentor engineer shows them how to complete the process using Apty’s guided workflows.

This approach combines the advantages of a peer mentor and on-the-job training.

Onboarding: The First 12 Months

Both training and onboarding extend beyond an employee’s first week. A member of the HR team should check in with the new hire at set intervals to see how they’re adjusting to the company and role. Experts recommend check ins at 1 week, 1 month, and between 3 and 6 month.

It’s impossible for an employee to learn everything they need to know about their job in the first day or week. Employees will need ongoing training to fully master their tasks and your company systems.

This ongoing on-the-job training can benefit both the employee and the manager. Researchers found that implementing on-the-job training programs has a positive impact on managers’ creativity and achievement of company goals.

A successful onboarding program is the key keeping employees happy and productive for the long-term. For additional information on creating your onboarding program, checkout the resources below.

Additional Employee Onboarding and Training Resources

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Nathan Altadonna

Nathan Altadonna

A former journalist and product manager, Nathan is a proud tech geek who blogs about digital transformation, employee productivity, and enterprise software. In addition to his work with Apty, Nathan runs his own consulting company, Innate Digital, helping companies develop content and get the most out of their marketing tech stack.

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