New starter training doesn’t have to be costly in terms of time and resources. Here are six low-cost, high-reward strategies for training new hires.
1. Replace ad hoc learning with training
Having formal training is often a better alternative to leaving it up to new employees to ask questions, seek help, or teach themselves. Ad hoc learning can be terribly inefficient, especially where it adds to the load of a team that may be short of experienced people.
There are always common questions and learning requirements for new employees. For example, 99% of new hires may need to learn your company’s particular HR software. For any learning which is often repeated, you can run short, practical training sessions.
Many companies also do teaching before official employee commencement through online portals, virtual tours and welcome videos.
Your new employee will appreciate the investment in them. They’ll also be thankful for the reduced amount of help they’ll need to seek from managers and colleagues.
The early days of a job shape an employee’s long-term motivation, satisfaction and loyalty. Smart investment in training set the new person up for a long and productive stay.
2. Teach organisational values
Ideally, new employees will come to believe in what your company stands for. A good place to start is by teaching them values and objectives.
Training materials might cover your company’s principles, why it’s in business, who the customers are, and how the business serves the community.
Such corporate knowledge helps the employee to fit in, contribute towards a common goal, and be motivated by something greater than personal reward. They’ll have a good understanding of (i) why they’re working for your organisation in particular and (ii) the existential purpose for them turning up to work each day.
3. Turn training into team building
Training new hires presents team building and career development opportunities.
Depending on their learning needs, multiple members of a team can do training together. This can help better integrate new team members.
You can also give established team members certain teaching and coaching responsibilities to help the newbies. For the new person, designated training relationships help them with both skill development and establishing personal connections.
Relationship building is a key part of the onboarding process. It improves performance and eases stress. Nurturing relationships early can go a long way towards lowering attrition rates during the first six months of employment.
For existing staff with management aspirations, training responsibility is valuable for personal development. This kind of experience is a foundation for developing a consultative, coaching style of leadership.
4. Connect new hires to potential mentors
Matching a new employee with a prospective mentor or coach offers many benefits to the new hire. This can translate into stronger company attachment. Having a mentor helps boosts an employee’s effectiveness and gives them a greater sense of control, purpose and belonging.
Consider connecting the new person with a senior member of staff who works in a different area. Workers feel less inhibited when interacting with colleagues outside their immediate work environment. Cross-unit relationships also help break down any internal silos, though they also need to be managed somewhat differently.
According to experienced mentor and mentee Julie Kratz, mentoring is among the least expensive people strategies but has one of the highest payoffs. Initial investments can build into a culture where mentoring becomes commonplace and often happens spontaneously.
5. Create a career development plan
Employees with documented career development plans have a clearer vision for their future with the company and, therefore, are likely to stay longer.
Putting plans in place for new hires also means their services are likely to be used more effectively. Career development plans should be created in close consultation with supervisors, helping with succession planning and matching of employee interests with assigned tasks.
The best development plans do more than identify skill needs and career goals. They also nominate specific training activities to help achieve those objectives.
Over the long term, highly targeted and individualised career plans can be enormously beneficial. A smart training plan accelerates professional development while boosting satisfaction and long-term engagement.
6. Get them involved in something big
There’s perhaps no better way to bring a new worker into the fold – convert them from an outsider to an insider – than to get them working on an important project.
Make no mistake, assigning a new starter to a significant job is as much a training exercise as a way to kickstart their productivity. Without being overbearing, the manager needs to keep a close eye on the employee to ensure no big mistakes. And they’ll probably be lots of instruction. But the payoff can be great.
Netflix has a “right off the boat” plan. New employees are integrated into large projects from the outset of their employment. Naturally, they appreciate the trust and faith shown in them. It’s a tool to motivate new hires to join in fast and start the enjoyable process of contributing towards team success.
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