You don't need us to tell you it would be great if new employees could learn your policies, procedures and software usage by osmosis. You also don't need us to tell you that this is a rather unlikely scenario. The good news is, however, that by coming up with an established plan for training your new employees, you're equipping them for success in both the onboarding process and beyond.
Before we delve into what you should include in this plan, it's important to establish early on in the process that the HR staff is available as a resource should the new employees ever want to reach out. That said, a plan gives your employees somewhere they can find answers to follow-up questions. It also helps to prevent too much disruption in others' workflows, as hopefully it will be able to anticipate and answer questions in advance.
Here's a list of five things every business should include in its new employee training plan.
No automated system nor list of to-dos can replace face-to-face interaction. Within their first week, new employees should meet their direct supervisors, direct reports and colleagues with whom they'll work closely. In addition to providing additional resources, this step can greatly ease the first-week jitters and contribute to a convivial work environment.
#2: Coaching sessions
You can never assume someone's level of experience with certain software platforms, even if it appears on his or her resume. The truth is that he or she probably hasn't used a specific element of Excel, for example, in the same way your company does. Because of this, you should institute coaching sessions for whichever technology platforms you use most. Even if he or she has some familiarity, it can never hurt to review.
#3: Training options
And you don't need to oversee all the coaching sessions in person. Research available training videos or walkthrough tutorials. This way, you can cover your bases and cater to all types of learners, be they visual, audio or experiential.
#4: Employee shadowing
An HR representative can only anticipate so many questions that come up during the first few weeks, especially when it comes to the specifics of a new employee's role. By shadowing their colleagues—no matter where they stand in comparison on the organizational chart—new employees can witness firsthand how a task is seen through to completion. If this isn't readily available, create a custom video tutorial that will be useful for new or promoted employees in the future.
#5: First-week feedback
One-on-one feedback sessions can take a lot of time out of your schedule—especially if you're employing several new employees at once. But it is an integral step that simply can't be skipped. Make sure that supervisors are sitting down with new employees at the end of week one in order to check in. There doesn't have to be a structured outline to this meeting, as it's really a chance to see how the new employee is fitting in and whether he or she has any questions. A new employee may even surprise you with some keen outside perspective or a great idea for how to streamline a particular task.
But before any of this is done, it's important for HR to prepare properly for a new employee's arrival. Make sure all administrative first-day paperwork and processes are organized before the week begins. Don't forget that your company is making an impression on him or her as well. By demonstrating your attention to detail and organization, you can contribute to a new employee's excitement to work for a well-run company.