Virtual training

Training New Hires: How to Create Engaging Employee Onboarding

The CloudShare Team

Dec 05, 2023 - 5 min read
Training New Hires: How to Create Engaging Employee Onboarding

Want to improve engagement at work? Start with better training.

According to Forbes Advisor, companies with structured onboarding programs retain 58 percent of employees for three or more years. Official training programs for new employees also help 77 percent of new hires hit their first performance milestone. A positive onboarding experience also makes a new hire up to 33 percent more engaged at work.

Creating a training program for your new hires seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, 58 percent of organizations have an onboarding program without much depth. Worse, 88 percent of employees feel they’re not given a good onboarding program.

Here’s how you can make sure your employees don’t feel the same way.

The Foundational Link Between Training and Engagement

When employees feel confident in their knowledge and abilities, they’re happier, more motivated and more engaged. You’re probably the same way. Would you want to do a job where you constantly felt unprepared, lost, or untrained?

Probably not.

This isn’t a new concept, either. It’s one of the ideas at the core of self-determination theory. Developed by Professors Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Deci in the 1970s and refined by other psychologists in the decades that followed, the theory says that people are motivated by three basic psychological needs:

  • Autonomy: Ownership over your goals and behavior and the ability to act in a way that has a noticeable impact.
  • Competence: The feeling that you have the skills, abilities and knowledge to overcome a challenge or accomplish a task.
  • Relatedness/Connection: A sense of belonging and the feeling that your actions are beneficial to the people around you.

It’s not hard to see how an employee onboarding program can help fulfill all three needs.

Training gives a new hire the knowledge, tools and skills they need to be competent at their job. This gives them greater autonomy over how they work, allowing them to thrive. As they settle into their new role and work alongside their new colleagues, the new hire will start to feel a greater sense of belonging.

On the other hand, if your onboarding throws new hires into the deep end right away with the expectation that they’ll ‘learn by doing,’ don’t be surprised if many of them quit within their first few months. On average, 20 percent of workers in the United States leave a new job within 45 days. Since the cost of replacing a new employee can range between 16 to more than 20 percent of their total annual salary, you’ll want to make sure you roll out effective training to your new hires.

Best Practices for Training New Employees

When developing a training plan for a new employee, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Identify “Need-to-Know” Information and Details

At the outset, you’ll want to answer four questions about your new hire training.

  1. What tasks or processes does a new hire need to understand in order to do their job?
  2. What resources are necessary for the training to succeed?
  3. How will the training be delivered?
  4. How will you assess the training’s effectiveness once complete?

Leave Room for Customization

We’ve said before that there’s no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to training. You can’t treat every new hire as if they have the same knowledge, skills, and professional background. You should also leave room to tailor your training to each new hire’s learning preferences.

A new hire with a visual learning style might prefer to watch a demonstration of what their role involves. Another new hire might want to listen to verbal instructions or read through a training manual. Some new hires might even learn best through repeated practice.

Work with each new hire to figure out the best approach to their training.

Don’t Just Focus on the Basics

Too many corporate training programs focus entirely on administrative and occupational details. They fail to account for the fact that these aren’t the only things a new hire needs in order to thrive. The new employee also needs to know about what to expect from their workplace.

What does your company value and prioritize? What sort of culture has developed within the wider organization? Who will the employee be working with, and what should they know about their new team?
It’s also crucial to tailor your training to a new employee’s specific role. What knowledge and soft skills will they require? Work with the employee’s hiring manager – they know the position better than anyone.

Equip Leadership with the Right Tools and Skills

There’s an old saying – people don’t leave their jobs, they leave managers. And there are few managers more important than those responsible for bringing on new hires. Find the most skilled, passionate and charismatic leaders in each department to direct your training, and make sure they have the tools and skills necessary to help their people succeed.

Talk to Existing Employees

Whether you’re trying to identify gaps in an existing training program or create a new program, one of the best strategies is to ask employees what they believe the training should include. Start by identifying employees in a similar role to a new hire, then ask them what they think the new hire needs to know and understand. You could even have them give a firsthand evaluation of your training – or share any issues they had when they went through onboarding.

Know the Difference Between Training and Onboarding

Onboarding is only one part of workplace training – it introduces an employee to their new job. Training should never stop there. Instead, your organization should embrace continuous learning and offer accessible training for upskilling and re-skilling, as well as programs to help refresh old skills and knowledge.

Regularly Review and Revise Your Training

Continuous learning and continuous improvement go hand-in-hand. There’s always an opportunity to further optimize your business’s training programs. Review training analytics data to see if you can identify potential bottlenecks, and schedule a meeting with each new hire after their first, third, sixth and twelfth month.

This will not only help you gauge how well they’re settling into their new role but also see if there are any ways their onboarding fell short. You can also use this feedback to determine what additional training someone might require.

Give Your New Hires What They Need to Succeed

Sometimes, a business gets lucky and hires an employee who’s seemingly perfect from day one, armed with all the necessary knowledge and skills from the outset. What many businesses fail to realize is that just about any new hire can eventually perform on that level. All they need is the right training.

Interested in learning more about creating effective corporate training programs? Read about how to choose the right employee training technique and best practices for creating an employee virtual training program.