Developing a Learning Culture

How to Create a New Hire Training Plan

Have you ever counted the number of times you’ve had to adapt to a new environment in your life? A new school, a new gym, a new club—in all of them, you wanted to feel welcomed by and comfortable with the new people and the way things worked. New hire training helps you feel like that when you enter a new company.

Some of us hope to step into a new organization and start performing tasks or making decisions right away. This is especially true for senior professionals who switch employers but stay within the same industry and role.

Many recent graduates or junior professionals have other expectations, though. They wish to go through engaging training programs when companies hire them.

Regardless of a new employee’s position or experience, everyone needs new employee training when starting to work at a new company. This article examines some of the most effective ways to keep your new hires productive and engaged.

Why New Hire Training Is Important

An effective new hire training plan brings your new employees up to speed with their new job. It has perks for both the employer and employee.

Improves Skills and Knowledge

When you hire senior professionals, they already have the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their job. But sometimes, they lack some skills or need to master other skills at a more advanced level of expertise. Or perhaps they need to deepen their knowledge of a topic to become successful at your company.

On the other hand, interns, trainees, and junior professionals have had less time in the workforce to build skills and have less knowledge of the fundamentals of their position and industry. And both senior and junior professionals need training to:

  • Build knowledge about the organization, such as its history, mission, vision, culture, values, product portfolio, structure, policies, and procedures
  • Comprehend how they fit into the organization and what the organization expects from them
  • Learn to handle company-wide and job-specific tools
  • Understand how to communicate with other employees and top executives

A new hire training program will build the skills and knowledge at the required level of expertise and depth for all new employees. It equips new hires with the information, tools, and other resources they need to do their job.

Increases Efficiency

New employee training boosts efficiency in the two following ways:

  • Through motivation. When new hires join your company, they feel out of their element. To solve that problem, make them feel welcome. As a result, they’ll feel excited about their new job, which will ignite the flame of motivation. The rest is history! A motivated employee is much more likely to perform above your expectations.
  • Through autonomy. New hire training prepares employees to execute tasks and make smart decisions as early as possible in their new job. Employees who need less support from others to do their job speed up everyone’s performance at work.

Enhances Employee Retention and Growth

A motivated employee is priceless! And the motivation of new employees starts flourishing from the moment they step into the new company.

So that’s the right time to start showing them how your organization is unique. That’s when they’re more receptive to soaking up all the excitement you can pass on to them about working with you. Use a new hire training program to reinforce that joining your company was your new employee’s best career move.

At the end of the day, motivation triggers employee retention. After all, why would employees leave a company if they feel motivated? If you deliver them engaging new employee training, they’ll want to stick around to see what comes next.

That engaging learning experience is proof that you can live up to their expectations. It’s also proof that you’re committed and willing to invest your time and effort in helping them gather all the knowledge they need to grow in their new job.

When Should New Employee Training Begin?

On their very first day at the new job! However, there are some materials you can send your new hires ahead of time to spare training time, such as:

  • The schedule for their first day at work—so they know what time and where you’re expecting them to be—whether that’s in person or online
  • Instructions on how to set up their corporate accounts, such as the email account— especially if you need them to check their mailbox during training
  • The employee handbook—so they can skim through it before meeting you and list any questions they’d like for you to clarify

With information available before their first day,  your new employees will feel ready to start their path at their new company before day one.

The Difference Between Onboarding and Training

New hire training is part of onboarding, but it goes beyond that. Therefore, besides training sessions, the onboarding of new hires includes these sorts of activities:

  • Group meetings—for instance, to meet the team
  • One-on-one meetings—such as meetings with the hiring manager and the team manager to walk the new hires through their functions, tasks, and responsibilities, team practices, and performance review criteria

Some break it down as training focuses on the role, whereas onboarding focuses on all the other activities that integrate new employees into the new organization. Others argue that you can also deliver training on topics related to the company and not the position. Take the example of tools, policies, and procedures that apply to the whole company or department rather than a specific team or function.

Training New Employees Effectively

Here’s our curated list of tips on how to effectively develop and deliver a new hire training program:

1. Define Outcomes and Methods

To design effective new employee training, outline achievable learning outcomes. Consider the background and experience of new hires and the skills, knowledge, and tools they need to hit the ground running in their new job.

Moreover, decide on the training methods. Choose which training sessions and meetings will be in-person, online, or a blend of the two. Select the ones that will be individual and the ones that will be group time.

2. Involve Management Stakeholders

Let team managers and directors know of your plans and obtain their approval if that’s a requirement. This might take some time and call for some changes in your new hire training plan. They will want to ensure that the plan aligns with their goals and strategies for the new employees, team, and business.

3. Incorporate Lessons Learned

Refresh your memory about the conclusions you obtained from previous new hire training evaluations. Also, include your current employees in developing your new hire training program.

Ask long-time employees what they wish you trained them on to become productive at their new job sooner. And ask them how effectively they consider you trained previous new employees who entered their team. After all, new hire training aims to smoothly integrate new employees into their respective teams without causing any significant disruptions.

When asking these questions, target current employees who mastered their roles and stand out as leaders. And if you’re onboarding a batch of new hires who’ll perform the same function, call for the help of current employees who have the same or a similar position.

You already know the major topics to include in your new hire training plan. But current employees can pinpoint the nuances that will help new hires get the ball rolling quicker.

4. Develop Flexible and Task-Oriented Training

Earlier, we recommended that you take your new employees’ background and experience when defining learning outcomes. That’s how you cover not only the 101 of new hire training but also make it flexible enough to accommodate adaptive learning.

Another way of making your new employee training flexible is by focusing on tasks rather than time. Therefore, instead of requiring new hires to finish training within a time limit, ask them to complete tasks. This will give new employees the time to go through training according to their experience, within reasonable limits, of course. Cap their progress in new hire training by quality rather than velocity.

Lastly, an effective new employee training program adapts to different learning styles. It speeds up knowledge absorption, maximizes retention, and prepares new hires to perform their new job autonomously sooner.

Figure out your new employees’ preferred learning styles. Try to offer diversified learning options that include watching videos, listening to audio, hands-on practice, and reading.

5. Offer Coaching

Great leaders support new hires getting started on their new job. In the long term, they also determine whether or not the new employees will regret accepting the job offer.

So, besides involving your leaders in developing new hire training, invite them to deliver training and become new employees’ mentors. Assign each new hire a mentor.

Choose leaders with the willingness, patience, and educational skills to guide and help new employees as they need. Ask them to keep an open and active line of communication with their coachees.

6. Plan Activities to Build Teamwork

New hire training is not only about training new employees at the corporate level. It’s also about training them at the team level. And that will make new hires

  • Start delivering high-quality work quickly with minimum direction
  • Connect with the members of their team
  • Learn where their responsibilities fit within the team
  • Understand the team’s workflows, practices, and productivity metrics

7. Keep Improving the Plan

Without an effective new hire training plan, you can’t build a sustainable business. Similarly, you can’t stop iterating on that plan to keep up with your business growth and the changes in your company.

Plus, define a schedule to check in on your new employees and assess if they need anything else to do their new job. If they do, you should definitely provide them with what they need. However, the ultimate goal is to revisit the new hire training plan and improve it according to the feedback you gathered.

New Hire Training Plan Outline

This outline will guide you when developing new employee training. These are the points you should cover in your training plan:

  1. Overview of the company. Tell your company’s story—when it started, who are the founders, and why they created the business. Explain how they envision the company in the short, medium, and long term. Describe the corporate traditions and values. Show the organizational chart, where they fit in it, and the communication lines to get in touch with other employees and top executives. Finally, present the product portfolio with enough detail to make it relevant to any employee regardless of their department or team.
  2. Organizational tools, policies, and procedures. Show the location of company-wide tools, when to use them, and, depending on their complexity, how to use them. Regarding policies and procedures new hires must comply with, you don’t need to describe every single one of them. Nevertheless, point to a repository with all the information about your company’s policies and procedures. Explain how to navigate it, and if you prefer, highlight the most impactful policies and procedures and present those in detail.
  3. Benefits package. First, make sure that new employees sign up for the benefits in their compensation package. Then, help them know their way around the technicalities and procedures around stock option plans, insurance, and other types of benefits. Use plain words in your explanations, let your hires know about the next steps, and answer their questions. The goal is that your new employees get set to enjoy their benefits package.
  4. IT setting. Put your new hires in touch with the company’s IT staff. They’ll help the new employees set up their work environment—computer, network, and software access and configuration. 
  5. Data privacy and cybersecurity training. Set a time and place for IT staff to educate new hires on data privacy, cybersecurity, and responsible use of the company’s hardware and software. Have the IT team spend enough time with them to thoroughly elucidate their obligations. It’s imperative to pass the information on what the company expects from new employees to preserve its compliance. This is particularly critical when those employees handle confidential employee or customer data.
  6. Overview of the team and role. Start with presenting the team structure and describing the job that each role in the team entails. Then, put a face to each role and have every team member present themselves in their own way. That will help new hires know whom to talk with when needed in the line of duty. Explain the workflows that run within the team—who does what and when. Point out the job-specific tools and other types of resources your new employees will need to rely on. Outline team practices and describe the team and individual performance metrics.
  7. Workplace safety training. Train your new hires in workplace safety training by an office manager, if you have one, or a member of the HR team. Split new employees into groups unless you don’t have too many of them regularly. If the latter is your case, use an augmented reality eLearning solution.

Kicking Off Your New Hire Training Program

To implement your new employee training plan effectively, learn about training methods. Additionally, you might want to consider just-in-time learning techniques to boost your new hire training program.

And if you need a hand with measuring the program’s effectiveness, check out our learning measurement solutions. Lastly, we offer onboarding solutions that might come in handy to bring your new hire training to life.