3 Onboarding Practices to Increase New Employee Retention

You have solid onboarding practices in place, but do they really meet your new employees' needs? Find out how you can step up your onboarding game.

Many companies claim to understand the importance of comprehensive onboarding practices (at least, in theory).

However, according to Gallup data, only 12% of employees say their organization does a great job of onboarding. What’s more, data from a 2020 Gartner/USA Today study finds that only 33% of new hires feel a sense of belonging in their first 12 months.

Clearly, there’s some miscommunication between employers and their staff. While management thinks they’ve got onboarding covered, employees feel like they aren’t getting enough support.

The rise of hybrid work has posed its own new challenges when it comes to building robust onboarding practices. New hires can find connecting with company culture, building relationships, and integrating into infrastructure difficult from afar. Busy managers may let training fall by the wayside when trainees aren’t physically present.

Onboarding is more than just handing a new hire a stack of handbooks and wishing them well. It’s about pulling your new team member into the fold and giving them the tools they need to succeed. Your onboarding practices should be systematic and comprehensive—new hires should be ready to stand on their own two feet by the end.

Thankfully, whether you're training new hires virtually or in the office, there are plenty of learning technologies to help you shape strong onboarding practices. Learning platforms that deliver microlearning and training reinforcement can keep employees engaged throughout the process, filling the inevitable downtime in the first several weeks.

Using a microlearning platform as part of your onboarding strategy will help avoid overwhelming new hires with a flood of information. Combined with the following three practices, training software and some smart planning can help companies craft a top-notch onboarding program.

1. Well-Planned Onboarding Programs Make Great First Impressions

Managers have a lot on their plates, so new hire onboarding is just one more responsibility in an already stacked schedule.

However, if you don’t prioritize your new hires' experience from the start, you’re opening yourself up to problems down the line. They might make easily avoidable mistakes, or worse, quit in frustration—which means you have to restart the entire process.

The way a company handles the first days and months of new hires' experience is crucial for retention. Ideally, onboarding should comprise a series of strategic practices lasting six months to a year. Putting your best foot forward from day one shows new hires that your team cares. Greet them with a coherent, extensive onboarding plan, with actionable checkpoints and milestones clearly defined along the way.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to spend the next few months micromanaging their training. But it does mean building an ongoing education plan for the long haul. Luckily, there are tools to help you out! Supplementing in-person onboarding with a digital microlearning program keeps employees engaged throughout their journey. Microlearning shrinks hefty lists of protocols and practices into bite-sized lessons, leading to increased knowledge retention and employee engagement.

Onboarding programs that combine personal interactions with self-directed learning help employees set long-term development goals early on. Prioritizing continued training and growth through a microlearning platform ensures that employee and company goals remain aligned.

2. Collaborative Training Helps Introduce Corporate Culture and Processes

No matter where new employees are located—on-site, working remotely, or in a hybrid environment—collaborative training can help them adjust to corporate culture, team dynamics, and the complexities of their new job.

Collaborative learning practices task everyone with welcoming a new employee onto the team. This fast-tracks knowledge transfer, while simultaneously developing lasting working relationships. Collaborative learning also goes hand-in-hand with self-directed microlearning where some of the responsibility is also placed on the new employee. Together, these strategies keep new employees engaged at every moment of onboarding. They’ll feel confident knowing someone is always available to clarify any uncertainties and empowered to grow independently through their virtual training.

Traditional onboarding practices adopt a centralized approach. Training flows from a single point, in one mass of information that’s often just too much to retain. Decentralizing this process with collaborative and online microlearning shrinks the information overload into manageable pieces, and allows employees to engage when it works best for them, like in the flow of work or on the go.

Support from company leadership and management is vital to creating an elevated, engaging onboarding experience. Managers should facilitate the development of microlearning modules, helping to identify when to introduce certain topics and proposing success metrics for each program. Managers should also lean on their other team members and their skills and expertise to help new members succeed. Leveraging their knowledge to create hybrid in-person and training reinforcement sessions will help increase knowledge retention and ramp time. A collaborative approach also cultivates a better understanding of how individual work impacts the entire team’s success. From the start, employees and departments have to work together to succeed.

women looking at tablet with eLearning activities

3. Continuous Learning and Professional Development Through Microlearning

One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to training is that once employees complete a program, they’re good to go.

The truth is that no matter how great the training is, learners forget up to two-thirds of the information within two weeks!

The evolution of hybrid work has rendered traditional instructor-led training less impactful since employees have less time for multi-hour classroom or virtual sessions, and they likely won't commit much of it to memory anyway. Just because someone went through training doesn’t mean they absorbed the information. And traditional training methods provide little visibility into what works and what doesn’t, which leads to issues when proving the impact of training.

To maximize your training program and onboarding ROI, you need to incorporate post-training reinforcement. Continuous microlearning that’s easy to consume encourages knowledge retention and application on the job. An employee can sit through all the lengthy seminars and training programs in the world, but until they see how the lessons relate to their work over and over again, they're not likely to retain them in full. Microlearning integrates career development into employees’ everyday routines without piling on an additional load.

Microlearning platforms like Mindmarker are engineered to maximize the ROI you get from comprehensive onboarding practices. Strategically-timed reviews and robust analytics to assess comprehension and retention drive your employee training forward. Mindmarker’s microlessons integrate multimedia and quizzes to increase engagement. Self-reflective and behavioral assessments allow employees to share their goals and reflect on progress along their employment journey. Surveys and polls also provide you with additional feedback, so you can bolster what works and scrap what doesn’t.

When you offer continuous training and professional development opportunities, you show employees that they matter. These employees feel valued and are more likely to commit wholeheartedly to a company that invests in them.

Boost Employee Retention with Strategic Onboarding Practices

Integrating learning technology from the very beginning of the employee journey sets new hires up for long-term success, and elevates an organization's learning culture. Smart onboarding practices are critical—from the first day, yes, but also all along the way with long-term employee development.

Mindmarker can level up your training program to match the new hybrid, decentralized mode of work. Mindmarker’s microlearning method can transform any unwieldy lesson plan into easy, digestible, appropriately-paced activities.

Your team can access these lessons on the go, from wherever they are, thanks to the virtual learning platform’s functionality. Adaptive learning flexibility allows learners to move at their own pace—continuing to more challenging material once they've mastered a topic or digging into one they need more time with.

Meanwhile, management can view learning metrics to track progress and see what is and isn’t working. Data points like completion rates, scores, responses, and other interactions can help identify areas and team members who might need extra assistance, as well as track learner sentiment over time.

Mindmarker’s learning and communication platform is a leading technology in microlearning. Improve the efficiency of your onboarding today—regardless of how dispersed your team is. Contact Mindmarker to discover how to boost employee retention with enhanced onboarding practices.


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