Learning at the workplace has grown out of its niche and become a necessity for all organizations. Research undertaken by LinkedIn found that one in four Gen Z and millennial employees rate opportunities for learning as key to their engagement at work. The research also found that more than a quarter of the same demographic of employees would quit their job if the organization did not offer enough opportunities for learning and professional growth.
The new employees’ training plan details the first point of contact that a new hire has with the organization. It is essential to offer them an engaging and rich learning experience to ensure they are off to a good start.
The Importance of New Employee Training
Many companies mistakenly believe that they can dispense with new employee training. They hope to save on the cost and time required for training new employees and believe that the new employees will do just fine by learning on the job.
While on-the-job training has a role to play in the professional growth of the employee, a formal new hire training program increases engagement, enhances employee retention, and reduces employee turnover. Several studies have shown that the cost of replacing talent is significantly higher than training new/existing talent. Engaged employees are more productive, which together with the savings from reducing employee turnover, boosts the organization’s bottom line.
Onboarding is not New Employee Training
Onboarding and new employee training begin soon after an employee joins the organization. Quite often, therefore, people mistake the two to be the same. However, the two are different.
New employee training typically commences after the employee is onboarded. On the other hand, onboarding begins immediately after the employee conveys his acceptance of the offer. Onboarding comprises all the mandatory administrative and compliance processes such as reference checks, background checks, familiarisation with the organization’s values and culture, etc. Organizations also see onboarding as a means of reassuring new hires that they made the right decision in choosing to work for the organization. This is done by reiterating some of the strengths of the organization and the benefits to be gained by working for the organization.
New hire training, in comparison, is directed at training the newly hired employees on core skills required to complete tasks that they have been hired for. This could include tasks such as operating machinery, analyzing data, generating reports, etc. New employee training requires robust planning to create a training framework, design of processes, and content for training the new hires—for them to become productive employees.
The training needs to be personalized for each role, depending on the nature of the role and the current competency level of the new employee.
Areas of New Employee Training
The purpose of new employee training is to transform new hires into productive employees. The training should identify gaps in the employees’ competencies and equip them with the necessary skills to fill them.
The various aspects on which new employees need to be trained include:
Organizational Goals: The trainers should clearly outline, for the trainees, the team and organizational goals. The trainees, at the end of the training, should be able to see how their work aligns with these goals. This clarity helps to obtain the buy-in of the employees to the organization’s goals and increases the sense of belonging to the organization among the employees.
Expectations of the Role: The new employees need to be apprised of all the requirements of their role. This will include the exact functions that they are expected to perform, the norms for execution, the expected standards, and the related milestones and deadlines. In addition, they also need to be explained the supervisory flow and the hierarchical structure within the organization. Finally, while they are gaining an understanding of their role, they also need to be told about the internal and external stakeholders, vendors, suppliers, customers, etc., that they would need to interact with. It is also important to brief them about the expectations of the various stakeholders and the methodology for communication with them.
Work Processes: For the new employees to fit into the organization and work as a part of a team, they need to understand the way work gets done in the organization. They need to be told of the work processes and workflows that govern operations in the organization. Focused training on these aspects and hands-on practice are critical before they are given independent charge of their work. The most common method used in such trainings is assigning each new employee a ‘buddy’ – a team member with the same job roles.
Performance Management: The new hires need to know how their performance will be assessed. They should be informed of the KRAs and KPIs relevant to their role. The performance management plan will also indicate how the attainment of goals will be assessed and who will carry out the assessment. This allows them to form a clear understanding of what is expected in terms of performance and also helps them chart a path to reach their desired level.
Organizational Policies: New employees also need to be familiarized with the policies at the workplace, such as code of conduct, work timings, compliance policies, etc. In addition, the new hires are also told about and trained on the various technology tools and systems used in the organization. The training should be complemented by providing the trainees with various training handbooks and policy manuals for the trainees to refer to periodically and refresh their knowledge.
Implementing an Effective New Employee Training Program
The training program must be run efficiently to ensure that the new employees are able to integrate within the organization in the shortest possible time. The various factors to be considered for efficiently running a new employee training program include:
- Advance Planning: Even before the new hires start their training, there should be clarity regarding what they need to be trained for. To assess your organizational requirements, you can talk to existing employees and get feedback on their new hire training experience. These inputs could be incorporated to refine the new training plan. The trainees, during the training, can also be informed of the various learning opportunities that will be available to them in the organization.
- Training Schedule: Draft a detailed training schedule with details of learning content, training objectives, instructors, timeline, etc. This helps new hires gain an overall picture of the training plan and prepare themselves to engage during the training sessions.
- Training Objectives: Specify the objectives that the training aims to achieve and the skills that each new hire would have acquired at the end of the training. The training should be designed to be relevant to each role and enable the employees to become productive in the shortest possible time.
- Mentorship: Learning is an ongoing process. Explain to the trainees how they can continue to build on their skills with your learning and development program. Institute a system of appointing competent and experienced employees as mentors and coaches to guide new hires – so that they continue to maintain a learning mindset. You can also have their managers assign specific training programs to enhance their skills.
- Teamwork: New hires must be made aware of how their work contributes to fulfilling team goals. The importance of teamwork can best be emphasized by incorporating team activities in the new hire training through group tasks, group projects, interactive sessions, etc.
- Feedback Mechanism: As the new hire’s progress in their training, it is important to provide them with feedback on their performance in the training. At the same time, it is also important to understand how they assess the effectiveness of the training. Such a dialogue will help refine the content and future delivery of training.
- Identification of High-Potential Hires: Identify new hires who show promise of fast growth and create a plan for their further training, cross-training, and leadership development. The performance of such hires must be then tracked, monitored, and guided for greater responsibilities in the future. This becomes a means for an early start to an internal talent development program.
- Leverage Technology: Use the power of technology-enabled tools such as Learning Management Systems (LMS) to improve the efficiency of the training process. LMSes help consistently deliver a rich training experience, are scalable, and can also help with progress tracking.
- Continued Support: Institute a system of continued and ongoing support even after the training is complete. Training material should be available in a central location and easily accessible for ready reference when required. The trainees should also be briefed on how and to whom they can reach out for help.
A planned and effective training program for new hires is the surest way to build an efficient and productive workforce. New employee training helps bring employees in step with the organizational culture for them to integrate faster into the workplace and start delivering impact.
If you want to know how you can efficiently transform your new hires into productive employees and help them perform to their potential to help the organization deliver better business results, we can help!
Book a FREE demo with Auzmor Learn – an award-winning, intuitive, and extremely easy-to-use LMS.