In the last blog, we discussed how to make a new employee’s orientation—their first or second day on the job—an effective and memorable experience. In this blog, we are going to talk about what happens over the next thirty to sixty days as the new employee is handed over to their new department(s). The onboarding, or training and immersion process, of a new employee to their new job is critical for their success.
Unfortunately, many times a new employee is neither trained nor certified adequately in their new position, creating the real possibility of the new employee quickly becoming frustrated and disappointed with their new employer and new responsibilities. This can lead to poor customer experiences and numerous mistakes, which in turn leads to a quick departure from the job.
The lack of an effective onboarding program for each position or role is a big problem in many companies today. Consider that sixty-nine percent of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced a great onboarding. So how do you create a great onboarding that inspires and retains employees? Consider the following elements:
- The department is organized and welcoming. The employee should feel welcomed by their new team and manager and not feel as though they are an afterthought. Providing a quick note or email to the department managers is a necessary step to ensure everyone is informed. The department needs to be ready for their new employee, so ensure their business email, business cards, computer, and other necessary tools are set up, available, and ready to go. Google takes this a step further by reminding department managers to complete specific tasks proven to improve the new hire’s productivity. 
- The new employee is given a dedicated person to help settle them in. This person could be a mentor, their trainer, or just a person assigned to show them around. Introduce them to key people, and be there to answer questions. Research from the SHRM Foundation suggests that new employees who receive a mentor learn more about the company and understand the culture better than their non-mentored counterparts.
- Connect the new employee to their products and services. Get them to try, use, play, and become familiar with your company’s offerings as quickly as possible. Have them do so as a customer.
- Ensure there are feedback opportunities over the first sixty days whereby someone who is the not the new hire’s manager checks in to see if the person has settled in and feels comfortable with their training and assimilation.
- Have an organized training program that certifies and tests that the new person can do the job.
Within onboarding, there are four considerations that should be clarified and considered:
- Who is going to train. Ideally, it will not be the manager because managers are too busy to focus on a new team member’s training. The trainer should represent the values and be the expert for the position.
- Where training will occur. This should be a place that is good for learning, where mistakes can be made and in an area where customers are not inconvenienced.
- When training will happen. A clearly defined schedule of what happens on which days should clearly set expectations around the training program.
- What is being taught. Ensure all processes and tasks are comprehensively defined and organized to support learning. Throughout the training process, tests both written and through demonstration should be scheduled.
Onboarding coupled with a great orientation is the first impression an employee has of your company and their future experience with you. With the right attention, care, and detail, you give your new staff every chance to be successful and instill in them the mindset and feeling that this is the place they want to be for a while. Please quit the outdated sink-or-swim strategy applied to much new staff today, and ensure your talent receives the time and training investment they need.
If you’d like a comprehensive look at the Culture Hacker Methodology, check out my book on Amazon or on Barnes & Noble. For best practices and insights from today’s cutting-edge leaders in company culture, check out the Culture Hacker Podcast on iTunes.
Cheers, and thanks for reading.
 “An onboarding checklist for success.” OC Tanner Blog.
 Justin Reynolds, “The 3 best onboarding tips from elite tech companies.” Tinypulse.
 Tayla Bauer, “Onboarding new employees: Maximizing success.” SHRM.