We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of effective training in facilitating a successful onboarding for new employees.
If employees aren’t properly equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to perform their jobs in their new environment and a new team, most likely, they won’t be able to contribute in an optimal way.
On the other hand, well-equipped employees are more likely to be productive, motivated, and satisfied in their work.
However, training new employees effectively can be easier said than done, with potential challenges for both the employers and the employees. For instance, time crunch can be an issue: we’d want to integrate employees as quickly as possible, in which training programs can be a slowdown.
In this new employee training checklist, we will discuss all you need to know for creating effective new employee training.
Besides sharing a step-by-step checklist template for building a training program, we’ll also cover the following:
- The basics of new employee training (benefits, challenges, etc.)
- Key elements of an employee training checklist
- Best practices for effectively training new employees
Let us begin this article with the basics: what is new employee training?
New Employee Training: The Concept
New employee training, simply put, is the process of equipping new hires with the skills and knowledge they need to adapt and be successful in their new roles and environments. Training should be an essential component of any onboarding program.
An employee onboarding program, on the other hand, is the process of integrating new hires into the organization, with the objective of helping them to become productive so they can effectively contribute to the team.
A systematic training program for new hires can offer the following benefits:
- Smoother integration: A well-crafted and effective training facilitates a smoother transition and integration into the company’s environment and ecosystem. This has been shown to be effective in reducing stress that new employees often struggle with.
- Enhance productivity: New employees who receive adequate training tend to become effective contributors faster. In turn, this can benefit the company by improving the productivity of each business process.
- Reduces errors: Effective training reduces the risks of potential errors and mistakes and, at the same time, can also improve the quality and consistency of the work performed by these new employees.
- Improves engagement: When employees successfully transition to their new workplace, they can experience better job satisfaction. In turn, this can lead to better employee engagement and retention.
- Cultural assimilation: An effective new employee training program offers an opportunity for new employees to properly understand the company’s values and align better with the company’s culture. This can help shape a sense of belonging, which can improve engagement and motivation.
A well-structured and well-crafted new employee training will also help create a positive first impression for new hires, and we all know how important and powerful first impressions are. When an employee experiences a positive first impression, it can significantly impact their entire tenure’s productivity and level of motivation.
Well-trained new hires will typically be:
- More engaged: systematic training in a well-crafted onboarding program can engage new hires from the very start. They may perceive the well-prepared training program as a way for the organization to appreciate and value them, so they will be more excited about their new roles.
- More loyal: a positive first impression due to effective training and an overall onboarding program can improve loyalty and retention. Employees who feel valued, welcomed, and well-equipped to do their jobs are more likely to stay in the company.
- More productive: Well-equipped employees can get a stronger start at their new roles, which can lead to increased overall productivity.
Potential Challenges in New Employee Training
Unfortunately, despite the obvious benefits, both the employers and the new employees may face significant challenges in conducting new employee training. Below, we will discuss some of the most common of these challenges.
- Time: There’s always the dilemma between integrating new hires quickly or training them first, which may disrupt regular operations.
- Information overload: Employers may be required to include company-specific policies, information, procedures, and unique knowledge when preparing the training content for new hires, which can be challenging.
- Consistency: Especially if your organization has multiple departments and teams, maintaining consistency in training across these different departments can be a challenge.
- Navigating the unknown: New hires will naturally need to deal with unfamiliar new roles, responsibilities, new faces, and processes. All of these can be very overwhelming in practice.
- Managing expectations: New employees often come with very high expectations about their new job and may be disappointed when the onboarding process and new employee training fall short.
- Skill and knowledge retention: The training program and the onboarding process, in general, may involve a high volume of information and knowledge. It can be challenging for employees to remember all of these details and retain the acquired skills or knowledge.
In the checklist we’ll share in the next sections, we’ll consider these challenges and how to tackle them strategically.
Key Elements of an Employee Training Checklist
A robust employee training checklist should include the following key elements:
- Basic information: The organization’s/employer’s name, start/end date of the training (or the actual hiring), the name of the trainer/mentor, and other basic details.
- Company overview: An overview of the company’s history, mission statement, culture, and values. The purpose of this section is to communicate the organization’s main values and ethos to the new hire.
- Role-specific training: This section should cover the skills and knowledge needed for a specific role/position, so this checklist should be custom-tailored to this role. This may also include training on specific company processes/systems, specific products/services offered, or industry and role-specific knowledge.
- Policies and procedures: Relevant company policies and procedures such as dress code, code of conduct, security procedures, and so on.
- Safety and compliance: Optional, but certain industries require safety and compliance training. If that’s the case, include training modules on regulatory compliance and safety protocols.
- Technical skills: Modules on the use of specific hardware, software, or tools if the role requires specific technical skills.
- Soft skills: Soft skills required for collaboration/teamwork in the company and the specific job role, like communication skills training, customer service training, and more.
- Regular evaluations: Include regular evaluation points (check-in points) to assess the new hire’s progress and address any questions or concerns. Later on, the new employees should have access to ongoing skill development opportunities in the company.
Tips on Customizing the Checklist
The new employee training checklist we’ve shared is designed to be customizable so you can tailor it to suit your organization’s or new employee’s specific needs.
Here are some tips you can use to create a tailored checklist according to your company’s specific needs:
- Identify role-specific requirements
Make sure you thoroughly understand the new employee’s role or roles: what are their key responsibilities? What skills and knowledge are required? Which other roles are dependent on them?
- Consult relevant stakeholders
Involve team leaders, supervisors, managers, and senior employees (i.e., peers) when creating and customizing the checklist, and actively gather feedback and input. They can provide valuable insights and perspectives into how to make sure the checklist thoroughly covers the critical aspects of the role.
- Prioritize training modules
You don’t need to include all training modules for each role, and in fact, doing so can be counterproductive. After you’ve identified the specific role’s needs, prioritize the most important skills and knowledge to be included in the checklist.
- Define clear objectives
Define clear and measurable training objectives for each training module. These objectives can help you assess the effectiveness of each training module and provide a clear roadmap for success.
Ask the key question: what should this new hire be able to understand or do after completing each training module?
- Adapt to your company culture
Make sure that your training module aligns with your company’s unique values, mission, and culture. A common approach is to include sections in the checklist that introduce new hires to the company’s core values, mission, and vision.
- Include compliance and safety training
Especially if your business is in a heavily regulated industry that requires specific compliance, certification, or safety training, make sure to include these in the checklist. Make sure the training program can equip each new employee so they are aware of their safety and legal obligations.
- Create a clear timeline
Map out a training schedule so you can have a clear timeline for different training modules. Try to sequence different modules logically so you can have an optimal order for learning for each role: start with foundational courses and follow up with advanced courses. Don’t forget to incorporate time for practice and hands-on experience into your schedule.
- Diversify training methods
Diversify your training program by utilizing various training methods. This won’t only help to keep the new hires engaged throughout the onboarding process, but some topics may be better taught through one method over others. For example, a specific topic may be best taught through one-on-one mentoring, while another topic may benefit more from hands-on practice.
- Tailor checkpoints and assessments
According to each role’s needs and training objectives, integrate assessments and checkpoints in the checklist to evaluate this new employee’s progress. These checklists can be in the form of practical tasks, quizzes, tests, or discussions with seniors/mentors, among other methods.
- Seek continuous feedback
Last but not least, remember that customizing the checklist should be a continuous process. The checklist should be dynamic according to the changing company needs and the industry standards for each role.
Encourage feedback from new employees who have gone through the training process, as well as supervisors who oversee the training. Based on their input and feedback, regularly review and update the checklist.
Best Practices for Effective Training
How should you use this checklist to maximize the results of your new employee training? Here are some practical tips and best practices you can try:
- Make sure training program is tailored to the individual employee’s needs
- Assessment: Before you create a checklist and begin training, make sure to evaluate the new hire’s prior knowledge and skill levels. Tailor the training program and the checklist with the aim of filling skill gaps while strengthening existing skills and knowledge.
- Personalization: Create custom-tailored learning content and paths for each new employee. Ensure the content is focused on areas where improvements or new skills/knowledge are needed. If possible, allow employees to progress at their own pace and convenience.
- Embrace technology to streamline training
- Use the right platforms: Utilize e-learning platforms or an all-in-one learning management system like iTacit to make your training program more accessible and flexible.
- Gamification: You can also use platforms like iTacit to incorporate gamification elements like leaderboards, quizzes, simulations, or competitions to make your training more engaging and fun.
- Leverage videos: Videos can often deliver complex concepts better than other forms of content. This is especially true for employees who are visual learners. You can use both short and long informative videos to enhance your training content.
- Use interactive training methods
- Hands-on practice: Whenever possible, encourage and facilitate employees to do hands-on practice in real-world settings. You can, for example, incorporate simulations, practical exercises, or role-playing activities.
- Group workshops: Conduct group workshops so more experienced employees can share their experiences and knowledge with new hires, which can also foster collaboration.
- Continuous evaluation and feedback
- Regular assessments: Conduct regular assessments in various forms (quizzes, written assignments, practical tasks, etc.) to evaluate the employees’ progress. Use these insights to evaluate your training program and adjust accordingly.
- Feedback loops: It’s critical to establish a feedback mechanism so employees can share their thoughts about the new employee training program, the challenges they face, and their concerns. Use this feedback to improve the training program.
- Mentorship and peer learning
- Mentorship programs: On top of the training program, try to pair new employees with more experienced ones as mentors. Mentors can support the new hires throughout the training program, answer questions, and provide guidance. Mentorship can also foster on-the-job or hands-on training.
- Peer-to-peer learning: Encourage new employees to learn from their peers who joined the company earlier. Some employees may find learning from peers who share their knowledge and best practices more effective.
- Real-world practice and application
- Present case studies: Incorporate case studies in the training program to show how concepts and topics being taught can be applied in real-life workplace settings. Case studies can also be useful for illustrating complex concepts.
- Ensure relevance to daily work: Make sure training content is relevant and directly applicable to the employees’ day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. When employees feel what they’ve learned is relevant, they are more likely to stay engaged and retain the knowledge/skills learned.
- Update and evolve the training program
- Stay up-to-date: Keep training content current with the evolving industry trends and best practices, as well as new technologies.
- Regular evaluation: Regularly review and adjust the training program based on the evolving needs of the organization, new goals/objectives, and employee/stakeholder feedback.
An effective training program shouldn’t be a one-time event but an ongoing and continuously evolving process. You can adopt these tips and best practices to create an agile, dynamic, and effective training program for your new hires, as well as existing employees, to enhance their knowledge, boost productivity, and foster a culture of continuous learning.
The new employee training checklist we’ve shared above can be a powerful tool for your organization. A proper training program won’t only help ensure new hires are properly equipped with the required skills and knowledge but will also ensure a smoother integration.
Our training checklist can help your company to:
- Streamline the new employee training program and the onboarding process in general by providing a clear direction.
- Reduce the time needed for new employees to be ready for their new roles and responsibilities by ensuring that they are properly equipped on all aspects of their job.
- Improve the quality of work performed by new hires and reduce the likelihood of mistakes/errors.
- Ensure compliance by training the new hires on all company procedures, policies, and relevant laws/regulations.
- Increase employee engagement and job satisfaction by providing support and valuable learning experience.
- Improve employee loyalty and retention by making sure new hires feel supported and valued.
If your company is not yet using an employee training checklist, we encourage you to start using one today. Or, if you already use one, take some time to review and update it to make sure it stays current and effective.