How to Create a Successful New Hire Training Program

New hire training, often called onboarding, can make or break an organization. Beyond the first few days, when the new employee gets settled into their new role and completes the housekeeping tasks such as new hire paperwork, new hire training is essential. A new employee who is not well trained is likely to leave the organization out of frustration, and is also likely to cost the organization in lost revenue and unhappy customers.

Focused man reading a document at his computer with colleagues discussing in the background at the office.

According to a study done by the Wynhurst Group, 22% of new hires leave within 45 days of their start date. What’s worse is that the cost to replace a new hire in the first year is estimated at three times their salary. 

The lack of new hire training can cost an organization money in many other ways, too, including: 

  • Dissatisfaction on the job, which equates to poor performance and lost business
  • Inefficiency that requires more time and money to complete tasks
  • Mistakes that require rework, inadequate product, loss of time and materials

For much of today’s top talent, “more training” tops the list. Staff members who are well trained and prepared for their jobs are set up for success in the organization and ready to perform the necessary functions. And the key is to have a well-planned new hire training program. 

New hire training refers to the training that takes place within the employee’s first year on the job and is when the new hire gains the knowledge they need to achieve proficiency. During this time, organizations also have an opportunity to foster a connection to the company’s culture by encouraging new hires to get involved in the social activities in the organization. Social connection at work has been shown to increase the number of positive experiences for employees.

Proper training and positive experiences can lead to an increase in job satisfaction. It can also allow people to become fully engaged and loyal to the organization, and thus easier to retain. In the long run, a successful new hire training program is an investment in positive employee relations.

Evaluating New Hire Training With a “Bird’s Eye View”

Before an organization hires anyone, it’s wise to consider the “bird’s eye view” of the organization’s goals and how the new hire training program fits in. Professionals can evaluate their programs by asking these “bird’s eye view” questions:

  • Does the new hire training meet the needs of the business? The goals of the employee’s role should directly connect to the goals of the organization and the department, and the new hire training should support the goals as well.

  • Does the training teach the new hire to be empowered to solve problems creatively and encourage confidence? Upon completion of the new hire training, they should be able to think critically, identify problems and create innovative solutions.

  • Does it encourage engagement by building skills that employees want to learn? The training should include specific skills training that is of interest to the new hire to ensure that the employee stays engaged.

  • Does it support the bottom line by increasing the efficiency of key processes? The new hire can be set up for success if they are trained in the most efficient ways to complete their job duties, thus supporting an increase in revenue and a reduction in expenses.

  • Does it train employees on how to complete tasks or use key tools to help reduce frustration on the job? It’s important to identify the skills and tools the new hire will need and include training of these into the program to minimize frustration for the new hire. 

Writing the New Hire Training Program

Once the current new hire training has been evaluated from the “bird’s eye view” perspective, the details of the specific training can be determined. There are many key aspects to writing a new hire training program. Below are steps to ensure a successful one:

  • The job description should be revised to make sure it’s current. It can be used as a template to structure on-the-job training and ensure the new hire understands what’s expected. A review of the skills and knowledge the new hire will need to be successful is critical at this stage.

  • A review of the new hire’s resume or job application will uncover any training gaps between the new hire’s skills and the job description. Learning objectives can be written at this stage that bridge any gaps between their current skills and the skills needed to be successful in the job.

  • Identify additional job-specific training that needs to take place. Job-specific training may include compliance, process, sales, product and/or service training.

  • Included in the training should be any important aspects about the organization’s culture, policies, etiquette, rules, etc. that the new hire would need to know to avoid embarrassment or unknowingly breaking a rule.

  • Determine the style of training. The new hire may be more comfortable with hands-on learning, self-directed learning, independent online learning or a combination of all these.

  • Realistic, measurable goals and objectives should be established for each day. The training manager might consider how they would like the new hire to feel about the training and the job.

  • The new hire should document as they complete training tasks so their progress can be monitored.

  • Stakeholders can help with the training. A variety of trainers helps break up the monotony of training. This also helps to build connections among team members and foster teamwork.  

  • Set a start and end date for the training program. The new hire should be allowed enough time to learn the material, comprehend and apply what they’ve learned. Also, identify how many hours per day the training will need to last, including breaks and a variety of training activities to avoid the new hire from being overwhelmed. Keep in mind the adage, “I see and I remember, I hear and I forget, I do and I understand.”

  • A method of collecting feedback from the new hire should be in place to measure the success of the training. Frequent check-ins during the training will send a message of support and encourage questions. Consider incorporating coaching sessions to ensure the new hire is on track to completion.

  • Keep it engaging. Try using fun, engaging activities such as storytelling or a historical review with photos of the organization. Teach new hires the industry jargon by turning the terms and acronyms into a game. 

  • Celebrate successes, big and small, along the way. Establish milestones so that successes can be celebrated.

  • Evaluate the training program with employee reviews both after 90 days and one year.
New Hire Training Program

These tips and suggestions will help build a successful new hire training program by starting with a “bird’s eye view” analysis of the organization’s needs, then taking a drilled-down approach to determine how the new hire’s role contributes to the organization’s goals. 

An Approach Worth Taking 

When a new hire begins, the temptation may be to put them to work as soon as possible. But with careful consideration and proper planning, a new hire training program can be a strategy to ensure future positive employee relations, and a workforce of happy, long-term employees. For further workforce development training, KnowledgeCity has a vast library of courses, white papers and articles. Consider taking KnowledgeCity’s course on Positive Employee Relations.

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