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Talent Development

6 Best Practices for New Employee Training and Onboarding

Your training and onboarding program can be the difference between an engaging, effective new hire experience and one that falls flat. 

Seventy percent of employees who had an exceptional onboarding experience say they have “the best possible job.” These employees are also 2.6x more likely to be extremely satisfied with their workplace—and more likely to stay. But only 29 percent of new hires say they feel fully prepared and supported to excel in their roles after their onboarding experience.

An effective training and onboarding program can help make new hires feel welcome, help them acclimate to your company culture, and enable them to be productive faster. New hire training and continuous learning opportunities can also help you retain skilled team members. 

Here are six best practices to help you significantly impact new employees during training and onboarding.

1. Develop core competencies early

Prepare your new hires for their roles by helping them develop some core competencies within their first 30 days. This can include anything they should master to excel in their roles, such as product knowledge and messaging, tools, soft skills, and cross-functional team relationships. 

Make a plan for what your new hires should know now and what they can learn later on so you can get them up to speed without overwhelming them.

2. Build on your team member’s strengths

Training often focuses on identifying an employee’s opportunities for improvement and developing their weaker skills. But it’s important to develop your team members’ strengths too. Strengths-based learning can result in up to 23 percent higher employee engagement and 73 percent lower attrition. 

Take time during the training and onboarding process to learn more about your new hires’ interests and strengths so you can build development plans that hone their expertise.

3. Extend onboarding out 90 to 365 days

New hires reach a 25 percent productivity rate in their first month on the job, 50 percent in their second month, and 75 percent in their third month, on average. And it may take a new hire up to a full year to reach their peak performance potential.

An employee onboarding program that extends at least 90 days will be more effective in setting your new team members up for success. A longer employee onboarding program allows ongoing culture assimilation activities and continuous learning opportunities to reinforce important skills.

4. Onboard in small groups

Onboarding new employees in groups can encourage collaborative learning while creating an immediate sense of camaraderie and fostering a strong culture. Research shows that employee performance improves up to 22 percent when they feel connected to the organization and its culture.

“When you’re part of a cohort, you have the same Slack group, you’re having the same conversations,” says Petek Hawkins, Head of Enablement at Melio. “So you can help each other, and it gives people that belonging right away, and it just makes them feel like they’re engaged right away.”

Read More: The Sales Onboarding Checklist Designed to Take Onboarding From Good to Great

Try these ideas for group onboarding:

  • Create new hire groups (of 3 to 10 employees) for people who start on the same day and provide opportunities for them to interact
  • Assign training activities or projects for groups to work on together or 
  • Create a Slack channel for everyone to chat, ask questions, and bond
  • Schedule weekly group coffee chats for new hires to discuss wins, blockers, challenges, and more

5. Recognize your team members’ early achievements

Recognizing team members for their achievements during onboarding demonstrates the value your company places on new employee training and learning and development. It also encourages team members to participate in future learning initiatives, as 85 percent of employees said recognition motivates them to work harder.

Make a point to recognize the early achievements of your newest team members. This could mean a verbal acknowledgment from their manager for completing a training module. Or it could be a shout-out from the CEO at an all-hands meeting to congratulate the onboarding group for completing a project.

6. Create long-term employee development plans

Discuss long-term career goals with your new team members during the onboarding process and set up corresponding development plans so they can participate in continuous learning. This will give new hires a sense of their future at your company, leading to early employee engagement and satisfaction.

Employees who say they have a clear plan for their professional development are 3.5x more likely to agree that their onboarding process was exceptional. 

Read More: How to Create Career Paths for Your Employees

Set your employees up for success through training and onboarding

An effective training and onboarding program can lead to happier, more engaged employees who reach full productivity faster and stay at your organization longer. It can also set the stage for continuous learning and help you maintain talented team members as your roles and company needs evolve. This will help ensure your organization’s success now and in the future. 

Want to learn more about how WorkRamp can help you develop an effective onboarding program? Contact us to request a demo.

Jen Dewar

Jen Dewar is a marketing consultant in HR technology, focusing on developing educational content for HR professionals and recruiters. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion, lifelong learning and development, and treating people like people throughout candidate and employee experiences. Outside of work, you can find Jen snowboarding in Tahoe, enjoying a glass of wine in Sonoma, or hanging out at home with her family.

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