The Best Onboarding Never Ends

This is a true onboarding story.

An 18-year-old recent high school graduate just got his first full-time job. He plans to work in the retail store for at least the next year so he can earn money for college. Then, because he’ll still need a job while in school, he may drop to part-time and work on the weekends and during breaks. Right now, he’s just looking forward to getting started. He’s been coming to this store for years and is excited to work with his friends in a place he’s always enjoyed.

The store manager welcomed him upon arrival for his first day and walked him to the office at the back of the store. Before he could start working in the store, the employee had to complete his new hire training on the computer. So he would have to spend his first two shifts (12 hours) completing e-learning in the office—by himself. After struggling to stay awake while clicking through module after module about harassment, money laundering, theft prevention, and inventory procedures for five hours, the employee got up and left the store. He never came back. Instead, he took another job at a competing store down the street for 50 cents more per hour.

Why did this happen?

Onboarding is an overwhelming and disengaging experience for too many employees. It’s also incredibly important for preparing and retaining talent, regardless of role or industry. According to the Aberdeen Group, 86 percent of new hires decide to stay or leave the company within their first six months. Some 76 percent of employees believe training in their first week is the most critical factor in their decision. If onboarding is clearly so important, why do Learning and Development (L&D) teams often struggle to improve their programs?

Onboarding is complicated. Every department has requirements—from forms new employees have to sign to operating procedures they have to review. At the same time, management wants new employees to finish training, know absolutely everything, and get to work as quickly as possible. L&D is stuck in the middle. They know frontloading this much information doesn’t work and that people inevitably fall off the “capability cliff” once formal training is over. But they only have access to the employee for a limited period of time. So they do the best they can. Unfortunately, this isn’t sufficient for employees, who have options if they quickly become dissatisfied with their new employer.

To summarize …

  • Stakeholders are not going to let go of their requirements.
  • Compliance training is not going away.
  • L&D will be asked to do more with the same (or less) resources.
  • Managers will always want new people prepared and on the job ASAP.


Read the full article from Training Magazine

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