Onboarding and TrainingTraining + Development
By Bill Spencer, Supervisor of Research & Development
You never forget your first day at a new job. Often remembered because it marks the start of a new chapter in life, but also because – let’s face it – the first day at a new job is stressful. There’s always a little anxiety on both sides at the start of a new job, as both the employer and the newly hired employee are eager to make a good first impression. With any luck, nerves relax after a warm welcome, office tour, introductions and maybe a good icebreaker. A good indicator of a successful orientation is when the new hire and employer are reassured that they made a good decision.
During onboarding, new hires learn how to perform the essential duties of their position. This training should not only teach an employee the skills needed for their job but help outline the purpose of their role and the part it plays in the organization. Whether you’re a 10-year veteran or it’s your first day on the job, the approach to an effective training session is the same. Here are some facts from the field regarding getting the most out of employee onboarding and training:
A meeting starts before the attendees arrive
When hosting an onboarding, training or any meeting, being organized and prepared is a must. You’ve got to have a plan for the big day and give yourself plenty of time to set up. Be sure attendees have all the necessary information well in advance of the first session and that they understand training objectives and what will be expected of them. When possible, provide a way for attendees to get updates, additional information or answers to their questions beforehand.
Have an agenda and stick to it
Continuing with the theme of being organized – make sure to have an agenda! An agenda ensures all relevant points are covered in good order and adequate time. Providing an agenda is a courtesy to attendees – it will give them a chance to better contribute to the discussion. Remember to allow for enough time to cover each item, but also stick to the schedule – move on from topics that linger past their allotted time. They can be revisited later.
Communicate culture and values
Both onboarding and training are the perfect time for team building, sharing stories and showing what sets the company philosophy apart from other organizations. You want a culture with values that are aligned with the overall vision, where everyone feels free to express themselves and feels accepted as an individual. The culture and values of an organization can sometimes take time to disseminate, so it’s crucial to take advantage of every opportunity to share them during onboarding and training sessions.
Training is teaching
Remember to set specific expectations but also offer encouragement along the way. Training should be something that everyone looks forward to. It’s not a bad idea to put together a small welcome gift or otherwise add a few simple considerations to an onboarding or training to show the team that they are appreciated. Strive to set everyone up to succeed and be sure to celebrate that success when it happens.
Avoid information overload
Rome wasn’t built in a single day. Training and especially onboarding may take days or weeks to complete. While it’s certainly important to cover an adequate amount of material, be realistic about the time in which it takes to do so. Rushing through a training or onboarding too quickly will only create the need to reteach the information again in the very near future. More importantly, if you do fall short on time, there’s always another day in which the training can be tackled – with a set of rested minds and a fresh perspective on the material.