New hires can be great for the morale of any company.

They often bring in fresh ideas, high energy, positivity and overall excitement about their new roles. However, depending on their level of training prior to arrival, they may also need to be caught up to speed rather quickly.

But sitting for endless hours in a classroom trying to absorb all the new information they need to be successful can put a damper on the positives that come with starting a new job.

That’s why it’s important that your new employee training focuses on maintaining those high spirits while still helping them learn everything they need to know.

Here’s how to do that…

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Clearly Communicate Goals


The first thing that any new hire needs to know is what his or her responsibilities will be, his or her place in the hierarchy (who is the boss?), codes or standards he or she needs to follow, and any basic information that will help with productivity (Where are the bathrooms? Who to call if he or she needs help? Etc.).

The goal of onboarding is to help the new hire through this process quickly without taking time away from other staff members. That’s why it’s important to clearly outline those learning objectives as a part of any orientation course; employees need to know whether or not they are achieving those objectives.

Avoid vague language and instead focus on action: What should the new hire be able to do at the end of your training? If new hires know they’ve accomplished the objectives outlined in the course, engagement rates will remain high (and information retention will last longer, too).

Focus on Microlearning


[Tweet “Simplicity is the key to great engagement.”]

When you train employees who have been in your organization for a while, it’s easy to forget the many functions of your business that they have learned over time. So, keep in mind that the sheer amount of information required to keep pace can be overwhelming for new hires. They will also have questions about why thing are done a certain way, which may require additional time to address.

One solution to this problem is microlearning.

Microlearning is a training approach based on the idea that people acquire new skills better in small chunks. Rather than overloading new employees with every bit of information, your goal is to structure the information into smaller, more manageable modules, with each module representing a task or process that your new employee needs in order to excel.

The advantage of this is that is allows employees to learn quickly while also allowing employers to pinpoint areas of struggle more easily.

Make Resources Available Online

Some of your new employee training will be basic information that is recognizable in any business – like dress codes or break policies. But in certain industries, there will be need-to-know information that employees can’t just look up with a search engine, like regulations, organizational charts or IT guides.

That’s why it’s important to provide a way for new hires to find information they might have missed (or simply want to review) quickly. Having access to online resources will help them find important information when they need it without needing to worry about remembering it all when they first learn it.

By making resources available online, you also empower them to engage both inside and outside of work.

Offer a Variety of Training Styles


Unlike regular classroom training for new hires, eLearning onboarding doesn’t require multiple instructors, scheduled classes, transportation or other such expenses, which makes it somewhat more exciting than traditional learning.

But that doesn’t automatically guarantee engagement. While most of the material may be new to employees, they are still in the process of learning, which can create anxiety for many people. By offering a variety of learning formats, you can reduce monotony and improve focus.

This means including video, audio elements, animations and even games that will trigger their interest and attention.

Measure Success with Surveys

How will employees know when they’ve really acquired all the information they need to be successful? How will you measure the success of your orientation?

There are several ways to evaluate your training program, but the most effective way is through surveys. This types of feedback allows new hires to share which parts of the process they found most and least helpful, whether or not they were overwhelmed at any point, whether or not they failed to learn something essential to the job and the overall effectiveness of the experience.

The goal of measurement is to keep your training program updated and to make improvements where necessary so your employees receive the best introduction to your company. Knowing what worked and what didn’t from the users themselves will help you create the most effective course possible.

Surveys also help new employees become a part of the process, thereby furthering engagement in your company. They become responsible not only for their own learning, but also for the learning of those who come after them.

Don’t Stop at Orientation

Engagement shouldn’t end when your orientation ends. Studies show that 58% of employees feel trapped in their current role due to a lack of training, and that 23% will leave their company because of lack of training.

Making sure your new hires are up to speed is an important part of success, but you should also continue training them on a regular basis to help them improve their skills and expand their knowledge base.

Consider following up with new employees and their supervisors two or three months after your initial training is over. Ask them about their experience, and gauge their interest level for continued training in skills that would improve job performance.

Employee orientation shouldn’t be treated as a single event, but rather an ongoing process that supports your newly hired stuff during their first months (or years) of the job.

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Final Thoughts

Training new employees on the intricacies of your company doesn’t have to be an arduous task. In fact, you can create an orientation course that keeps morale high while still giving them all the information they need to succeed.

Start by clearly communicating the goals of your course, and what objectives new employees will have to meet to successfully complete it.

Focus on creating a course that puts information into smaller, more manageable modules, and give employees online access to these modules so they can refresh their memory at any time.

After training has completed, make sure to include surveys that will help you determine if there is anything about your course that can be improved, and make sure that you don’t stop training employees after orientation.

Learning should be a part of your employee experience from the time you say, “You’re hired” to the time they say, “Goodbye.”

Jonathan Davis is an accomplished professional with experience helping Fortune 500 companies achieve success in employee communication and training programs. Jonathan focuses on delivering reliable, successful outcomes that increases employee engagement through highly targeted deliverables, creative messaging and robust programs.