Imagine that you go to a party and you only know one other person..  Aside from a polite hello here and there, nobody engages you.  Conversations seem pretty private.  And, the ones that you’re close enough to overhear are made up of jargon that you’re not familiar with. How long do you think that you’ll want to stay at the party?

Probably not long.

Now imagine that you’ve just spent thousands of dollars and countless hours finding the perfect person to fill a position at your company.  The first day on the job you drop them off at their desk.  You then wish them good luck and leave them without so much as an Employee Handbook.  Shouldn’t you put some effort into helping your new employee fit into your organization after spending all of that time and money?

Otherwise, that employee will feel like the party goer above and will leave before you know it.

The onboarding training process will have a profound impact on how a new employee integrates into your organization.  Because of this, you should think of onboarding training as one of the most important training programs that you implement.

Onboarding is a “training program” because with onboarding, you train your new employee to become a part of your organization’s culture.  And, it’s an incredibly important training program: when your employee feels like a part of your organization, he or she will be able to maximize their potential.

How should you provide the onboarding training

For a small cohort, you can provide the training in a live session.  However, another cost effective way to do it would be to use your company’s e-learning platform.  One advantage of this approach is that your new employees can complete their onboarding training course at their own pace.

Another benefit to using your company’s course management system is that you can provide the onboarding training using a variety of tools.  As most course management systems allow for documents to be uploaded into the system, new employees can have 24/7 access to their employee handbook.  Video modules can be used to provide a visual narrative of the company and its mission.  And, assessment modules can be used to test the employee’s retention.

Define responsibilities

Starting a new job can be a scary experience for anyone.  So the first thing that you should do as part of the onboarding training is to let your new employee know exactly what their responsibilities will be.

By understanding their responsibilities, employees will learn exactly how their work fits in with the rest of the organization.  And, this can be a very concrete way of making them feel like they are part of the team.

Culture Club

As part of the onboarding training process, you can help your employees fit in by introducing them to aspects of your company’s social culture.  As an example, if most people wear suits to work, then let your new employee know, so that they don’t show up in shorts.  If its “unofficial policy” for mid-level employees to arrive at the workplace before Senior Management, then let your employees know, otherwise they might not look like “team players”.

Being dressed with appropriate attire and getting to work when everyone else does can help to avoid embarrassment on the part of the employee.  And, there are many other such social norms that you can make your new employee aware of.  What’s the best way to do this?  By providing a personal mentor…

Provide a mentor

As part of the onboarding process, it’s really important to have a mentor who can show the new employee the ropes.  A wokplace mentor has two responsibilities.  First, the mentor can help the employee with everything that’s not in the Employee Handbook.  Little tips such as “Make sure you go to the Christmas party” or “Be sure to sign up for Volunteer Day” won’t be written down anywhere.  However, these unwritten rules can have a big impact upon whether the new employee fits in.

In addition, the mentor can serve the purpose as “sounding board” for the employee.  Then if the employee has any questions, the employee will have someone “in the know” to help answer them.

Conclusion

After investing in the process of hiring a new employee, one has to be sure that the employee is helped to become a part of the organization through an onboarding training process.  Otherwise, the employee has a higher chance of leaving the organization if they don’t feel like they’re part of the team.

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