Onboarding Checklist: Creating a New Hire Training Plan

What Is Onboarding For A Job?

In the world of HR, "onboarding" is how you integrate new hires into your organization.

When most people think of onboarding, they think of the initial orientation process, with all its paperwork, administrative procedure training, compliance courses, and team introductions.

Onboarding is a longer and more involved process than orientation, however. Onboarding includes a new hire's initial orientation, the new hire training plan, and everything else your organization does to give employees a foundation for success at your company.

Gallup's research suggests that it takes a new hire around 12 months to reach peak performance. To support and speed this development, you need a comprehensive onboarding process that spans their first six to twelve months. You also need a training schedule for new employees that effectively teaches them what they need to know without creating information overload.

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Why is Onboarding Important?

According to a Gallup poll, only 12% of employees strongly feel that their organization does a great job of onboarding.

Why should you care? Because those 12% are 2.6 times more likely than the rest to be extremely satisfied with their workplace. You have a great chance of retaining any new employee who feels like they have "the best possible job," and that's the case for 70% of hires who report exceptional onboarding.

Attracting and hiring talent is expensive. An investment in high-quality onboarding and a new hire training plan is necessary to prevent early turnover and secure a long-term commitment.

Why Should You Create an Extensive Onboarding Plan?

Onboarding is supposed to prepare you to excel at your job, yet only 29% of new hires say they feel fully prepared after their onboarding experience.

Leaving a new employee's onboarding to their manager or team is risky. Without a structured company-wide onboarding policy, at least some of your new hires will end up lost at sea.

An onboarding plan should lay out every step that managers need to take to help their employees succeed. How well they implement this plan should be part of their job performance evaluation because it has a deep impact on the engagement and retention of their team.

A structured and well-documented onboarding and training plan is especially important now that many of us are working remotely. Remote onboarding introduces extra obstacles that you have to plan for – it's much easier for remote new hires to struggle without anyone noticing.

You need to proactively answer questions before onboarding remote employees, like how is the new hire going to meet and socialize with coworkers? Who should they go to for help on a specific topic? Are there enough self-serve resources readily available to them?

What Makes an Onboarding Plan Successful?

Gallup has found that new employees are much more likely to call their onboarding experience exceptional when onboarding:

  • Involves the active participation of their manager
  • Helps them identify a clear plan for their professional development
  • Lays out why and how their jobs promote the mission and purpose of the organization
  • Sets clear expectations for training and performance

In particular, Gallup suggests that exceptional onboarding answers five questions:

  • What do we believe in around here?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What is my role?
  • Who are my partners?
  • What does my future look like here?

What Do You Include On An Employee Onboarding Checklist or Template?

A good onboarding checklist will give managers an easy way to track and fulfill onboarding requirements, especially if it links them to necessary resources.

But onboarding should be tailored to employees' roles and responsibilities, so rather than an onboarding checklist, you'll need something more like an onboarding template that can be adjusted by department and job description.

An employee onboarding template should include specific universal actions like a welcome email, team introduction, and required paperwork, but also more flexible role-based items like:

  • Providing a list of key staff and their responsibilities
  • Reviewing the individual's responsibilities and duties
  • Assigning a mentor and scheduling shadowing sessions for key tasks or processes
  • Giving the mentor a feedback form for each of the required sessions
  • Scheduling meetings between the manager and new hire at least twice a week for the first month
  • Scheduling 6-week, 3-month, and 6-month performance evaluations
  • Establishing and discussing the learning and performance objectives you expect them to meet at each evaluation

Why Do You Need a New Employee Training Plan?

Gallup found learning to be one of the top 3 essential ingredients in exceptional onboarding. A formal employee training plan can support and fill in the gaps of the informal learning and mentoring that's sure to take place.

And just as having a structured onboarding plan is important for thoroughness and consistency across an organization, so is having a new employee training plan.

There are a lot of important pieces for training new employees, from legally-required compliance training and organizational policy to software systems, role-based knowledge, task-specific training, and skill remediation.

A new hire training plan can help you ensure they get everything they need. It can also help you select the best method for each topic – which objectives are best delivered by the manager? By a peer? By the knowledge base? By an eLearning course?

New employee training plans also help you keep track of "when." Certain compliance courses have statutory deadlines based on the hiring or starting date. Some task-based training will be triggered by specific types of assignments.

A formal training schedule for new employees can also prevent information overload. By assessing when a new hire will really need a piece of training, you can pace things out for maximum retention.

What's the Easiest Way to Provide Training to New Employees?

While some aspects of your new hire training plan will need your organization's special touch, so many others can be fulfilled with ready-made eLearning courses.

Off-the-shelf courseware like ours can provide an amazing shortcut (as well as savings!) for your new employee training needs. And since it's eLearning, it's perfect for in-office or remote onboarding.

We have a huge catalog of courses that can fulfill your new hire training schedule, including:

With our enterprise solutions, you can get all this in one place, with bulk pricing, a dedicated account manager, and course delivery options that run from a free LMS to integration with your current system.

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