Training New Employees – 3 Essential Elements for Every Onboarding Program

So you’ve scoured the applicant pool and found the perfect person for the job, the hard part is done, right? Really, you’re only about half-way up the hill. The training the new employee receives is just as important as who you’ve hired.

Don’t believe us? ADP says that 91% of managers, 81% of HR administrators, and 75% of employees say onboarding is not done right. It’s also been reported that it costs an organization 1.5x the employee’s salary to replace and get a new employee up to speed. It’s safe to say, getting onboarding right is crucial.

Here are the three essentials to keep in mind so your training will hit the mark.

 

1. The Warm Welcome: Ease Their First Day Nerves

New employees have a lot to get the jitters about—a new job, an unfamiliar commute, a new office space, possibly a new city, and all new co-workers (not to mention new responsibilities). It’s important to start to build trust and confidence the moment they walk in the door. Let’s face it, first impressions are important, and a team member’s first day is also their first peek behind the curtain.

On day 1 new team members will start to make judgments on what makes you tick as a company, how the organization is run, and your culture. Are managers hiding behind locked doors? Are their new co-workers friendly? Do the leaders really care?

You only get one chance to set the tone for their first experience. Alleviate their fears and establish a culture of caring by showing them that they’re more than just a number.

If you’re a small company, have each new employee sit down with someone from the C-Suite to get the story of the company. It helps them feel like they’re more than just a number—the leaders care about them and take the time to get to know them.

For larger organizations, a good option is an Introductory Video – a short and sweet message from leadership that all new hires can watch. It tells them a bit about the company, the role employees play in their continued success, and how excited leadership is that they’re joining the team.

Why does this make such a difference? The Gallup organization reports that 71% of employees today are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work. Establishing a culture where every person matters and is valued is a great way to help build a new employee’s trust that they joined the right organization—and that buy-in is an important factor in keeping employees engaged.

 

2. The Coaching Mindset: Establish Check Points and Expectations

87% of Millennials recently surveyed stated that professional development and career growth are very important to them. Your employees are hungry, and they want success – they just don’t always know how to get there. That’s where you come in.

Outline clear expectations and milestones using a BARS (Behavior Anchored Rating Scale) Chart. The BARS Chart serves as the foundation for the new employee. It outlines what not acceptable, good, and GREAT looks like in their role.

Peer mentor check-ins are a great way to reinforce these GREAT behaviors in a less intimidating setting. New employees can watch a tenured employee perform the GREAT behaviors, talk through their best practices, and openly discuss challenges with someone in their same role.

Then use a 30/60/90-day Plan to build off that framework. These plans allow managers to work with an employee to gauge where they fall at each milestone (according to the BARS Chart) and plan for next steps.

At each of these milestones, the manager should meet with the new hire to discuss their progress and goals for the coming days using the 30/60/90-day Plan as a framework. 

 

3. The Wow Factor: Cater to the Modern Learner

We all know that there are certain things that simply have to be covered when it comes to training new hires: your company’s mission, vision, values, the tools/software they’ll use, and the knowledge, skills, and behaviors they need to do their job well. Check out this Onboarding Checklist to see if your program covers the basics.

But it’s not enough to just check all the boxes, you have to make it memorable. The average employee checks his or her phone more than 150 times per day, so it’s not surprising that the modern learner has a shorter attention span and will tire of the “required” content quickly if you don’t make it exciting.

Reading a manual, sitting through a presentation, or taking a compliance course isn’t going to cut it for the modern learner. Instead, weave in as much interactivity as possible.

You can do things like a VR scavenger hunt for office essentials, add mobile-friendly self-paced foundational courses, or include Simulated or Animated Videos in to your onboarding program. We promise your learners will notice the difference and their knowledge and retention will improve.

Remember, finding and hiring the right people is only part of the battle—how you train them, starting at day 1, is a big factor. For more info on onboarding, check out our article on Onboarding Best Practices. And if you’re interested in learning about Introductory Videos, BARS Charts, 30/60/90-day Plans, Animated or Simulated Videos, incorporating Virtual Reality and more, let us know. We’d love to talk to you and help assess which onboarding training elements are right for your company! 

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Creating Your LMS Requirements Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide

There’s no way around it: choosing a learning management system, whether it’s your first LMS or you’re making the switch, is tricky. And let’s be honest, there’s a lot of unhelpful information out there claiming to be your complete guide to selecting an LMS. Here’s the truth: a one-size-fits-all LMS requirements checklist doesn’t exist, because no one knows the unique needs of your business except for you.

With that in mind, the Unboxed team sat down and thought: why not empower training leaders to explore their training needs and create an LMS requirements checklist that meets those needs?

 

Creating Your LMS Requirements Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide

 

So, instead of producing another half-baked LMS checklist, we decided to create a powerful tool you can actually use:

A step-by-step LMS buyers guide that teaches you how to identify your unique LMS requirements and establish a simple process for choosing your first LMS or switching your current LMS.

If you’re looking for a proven method to determine your company’s training needs—and a step-by-step guide to get you through LMS implementation—then download Creating Your LMS Requirements Checklist: A Step-by-Step Guide.

 

Want to know more about what’s included in the guide? We’ve got you covered. Keep reading for an in-depth preview of what’s inside.

 

THE BUSINESS CASE FOR A GREAT LMS & GREAT TRAINING

A learning management system is simply software that delivers training content, hosts resources (like PDFs, digital learning guides, and links to online content), and tracks each user’s progress over time.

It’s worth noting that while most companies use their LMS to deliver onboarding, sales and compliance training, recent data on talent acquisition and development has prompted a deeper desire to think more about the effectiveness of that training content, and how and when it is delivered.

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • The 5 classifications of LMSs everyone should know
  • What Millennials are really looking for in the workplace
  • Recent data on how to retain and nurture high performing employees
  • How to boost your company’s revenue with a great LMS and custom training

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR NEW LMS THE RIGHT WAY

RULE #1: DON’T START WITH FEATURES

Crawling and walking, horses and carts. It’s always the same mistake: we want to skip to the end instead of beginning at the, well, beginning. Before you can start creating a list of LMS requirements, you have to understand your users, the content they want to engage with, and how, when, and why they want to engage with it.

Jumping right to the end and picking LMS features isn’t like spoiling the ending of your favorite novel. It’s more like wasting your department’s budget by implementing a training system that your colleagues will never use. It’s a sure-fire way to instantly kill any organic desire for a culture of learning at your company.

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • How to assemble a diverse stakeholder team
  • How to identify user roles to understand your company’s diverse needs
  • How to write user stories that map out your company’s training goals
  • How to separate LMS must-haves from nice-to-haves

CHOOSING A NEW LMS OR MAKING THE SWITCH

If you’re new to learning management systems, there is one thing you must focus on before anything else: quality training content. Even the best LMS isn’t worth a penny without great content, so work at adopting a smart, company-wide training content strategy first, and don’t get bogged down by starting with LMS features.

If you’re switching to a new LMS, you most likely have a training content strategy already in place. But, you still need to build a list of clearly-articulated pain points about what’s missing in your current LMS and what you need in your new one. Then, you need to work with your LMS provider to build an implementation plan that address your specific data migration needs.

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • Some notes on the importance of great training content and a training strategy
  • A few quick insights on data migration and your pain points

VETTING YOUR LMS PARTNER: WHAT YOU SHOULD BE ASKING

It should be simple, so what makes choosing the right LMS so complicated?

Not only do you have to show your stakeholder team the business case for LMS adoption, you also have to marry great training content with the right list of LMS features that are best for your company.

And on top of that, if you’re not asking your future LMS provider the right questions up front, it’s hard to know whether you’re simply getting a vendor (who just wants to land your account) or a true business partner (who is deeply invested in your success).

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • 5 questions to ask every LMS provider

THE LMS Requirements CHECKLIST

Throughout the process of choosing a new LMS, we know you’ll want to stay organized. So, we’ve also included a simple checklist that keeps everything in one place and helps you track your progress.

It’s basically your cheat-sheet. And, we’re here to help in any way we can.

What you’ll find inside the guide:

  • A two-page checklist you can use throughout your LMS implementation process, from building your stakeholder team to hyping your launch

SPOKE® AND UNBOXED TRAINING: YOUR PERFECT PAIR

C’mon; we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t at least take one opportunity to tell you about our world-class LMS, Spoke®, and Unboxed Training, our custom training design team.

After you’ve downloaded the LMS requirements checklist, make sure to visit our Spoke page to check it out for yourself. While you’re there, you can also sign up for a personalized demo.

The Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist

There’s a big difference between onboarding and orientation. Yes, they both start with an “O” and are crucial to new hires, but they’re different.

Orientation is a company-centric checklist completed in your new hire’s first week. Onboarding is a job-specific process that creates a confident, engaged and valuable contributor over many months.

So, the question is, does your current onboarding program go beyond the basics of orientation and cover everything your new hires need to get up to speed and productive quickly? To find out, download the Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist. For each checklist item ask yourself, “Is my current onboarding training great, does it need work, or is it non-existent?”

Employee Onboarding Checklist: The Essential Topics for new hire and onboarding training

Topics Included

In the Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist, we cover everything from organizational basics (i.e. company history, vision, and goals) and meeting your new team (because face-to-face time is so critical) to one-to-one checkpoints (yes, that includes mentors and managers) and measuring the effectiveness of your onboarding program.

With 40+ topics, this checklist will inspire you to look at onboarding in a whole new light. Gone are the days of sink or swim for your new hires. Hello, awesome onboarding.

So, What’s Next

After reviewing the Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist and understanding how your current program measures up, you have a few options:

  1. Check out our list of onboarding best practices to help you create or improve your new-hire training on your own,
  2. Learn how we can help your employees reach their A-game faster with a custom onboarding program built just for you, or
  3. Do nothing (warning: not recommended unless your existing onboarding training is already awesome).

Download the Checklist

Remember, orientation isn’t onboarding. Download the Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist to learn what goes into a great onboarding program. Then reach out and let us know how we can help.

50+ Sales Training Topics: The Essential Checklist

sales-training

 

No matter what sales methodology you use—The Sandler Selling System, The Challenger Sale, SNAP Selling, Conceptual Selling, CustomerCentric Selling, or another—there are critical sales training topics your program should include. If you’re the person responsible for sales training, and you’ve wondered how you can make your team more effective, don’t be afraid to give your current program a quick checkup.

 According to Frank Cespedes and Daniel Weinfurter of the Harvard Business Review, “More than 50% of US college graduates, regardless of their majors, are likely to work in sales at some point. But of the over 4,000 colleges in this country, less than 100 have sales programs or even sales courses, and of the more than 170,000 students who earn MBAs annually, only a tiny fraction learn anything about sales.”

That means what we think it means: organizations can’t take sales skills for granted as they onboard new sales professionals. Effective onboarding and on-the-job training are must-haves. It also means even the strongest sales methodology program may still have gaps.

Our Essential Sales Training Topics Checklist will help you identify areas of strength and opportunity so you can ultimately build or supplement an amazing sales training program.

 

Sales Training Topics

Chuck Cohn neatly outlines differences between B2B and B2C sales in his Forbes post. B2B sales pursuits involve a longer decision process, more stakeholders, lengthier relationships, a smaller lead pool, and a different type of product knowledge than B2C pursuits.

These differences necessitate training tailored to each type of sales pursuit, so we’ve compiled a B2B and a B2C checklist. Use the appropriate checklist to help you answer the question: Where do my sales professionals need to build their skills?

Download the checklist that’s right for you:

sales training topics - essential checklist of 50+ topics

MODALITY MATTERS

It can be difficult to take a sales team out of the field for days or weeks of facilitated training. With this in mind, sales training program managers should consider re-packaging content into modalities that work well for busy, on-the-go sales professionals.

Geoffrey James explains in his Selling Power post Blended Sales Training:

“While most sales managers realize there’s an ever-growing need for better skills and product knowledge among the sales team, few firms can afford to send sales reps to several weeks of classroom training, even once, let alone every year. Fortunately, it’s now possible to combine classroom instruction, online learning, and Web conferencing to simultaneously reduce training costs and increase retention. This can result in sales training programs that are far more effective than ever before.”

The Association for Talent Development’s 2016 State of Sales Training report shares the following recommendations (and we wholeheartedly agree):

  • Content should be short and easily accessible.
  • Training should be tailored to the individual salesperson.
  • Learning should be engaging.

A blended approach that pairs synchronous learning (real-time activities like classroom practice and videoconferencing) and asynchronous learning (self-paced activities with individualized reflection and collaboration time) may fit the bill. A well-designed blended sales training program incorporates the benefits of classroom training and self-paced training, and streamlines content with the sales team’s workflow as much as possible.

 

ESPECIALLY FOR SALES MANAGERS

Training for sales leadership matters too. The ATD’s 2016 report mentioned above shares 50% of respondents believe the top barrier to effective sales training is salespeople are not being held accountable to applying skills learned in training. Sales managers have a critical role when it comes to setting expectations with their teams and providing supportive coaching.

With that in mind, our Sales Training Topics Checklist includes a brief section for sales managers. For a more thorough overview of leadership training topics, download our Leadership Training Topics Checklist.

 

Next Steps

One way to update your current sales training program is to incorporate microlearning. Microlearning is the practice of delivering training in smaller, bite-sized chunks that learners can digest and even re-watch quickly and easily. James states:

“Blended sales training relies upon an important aspect of human memory—the power of repetition…Blended sales training takes this concept to the next level. In this case, classroom instruction, interactive online learning, and Web conferencing are all called into service in order to present the material from a variety of different angles. Because the message is repeated in several different ways, retention goes up and sales reps are far more likely to integrate what’s being taught and incorporate it into their day-to-day behavior.”

If courses are easy to access and high-quality, microlearning for sales training offers proven benefits and can complement older, otherwise effective program content.

Whether you support B2B or B2C sales teams, use the checklist that’s right for you and make sure you’re on the road to world-class sales training.

Leadership Training Topics: The Essential Checklist

Whether we’ve been one of the parties in an awkward supervisor/supervisee relationship, or we’ve watched poor leadership practices impact our organization, we all know managing people requires a specific skill set. Just because we give an individual contributor a new title doesn’t mean they have the skills they need to lead teams effectively—much less enjoy it.

A CareerBuilder survey reports more than 26% of managers said they weren’t ready to become a leader when they started managing others, and 58% said they didn’t receive any management training at all. According to the ATD whitepaper Experiential Learning for Leaders, only 28% of business executives say they’re effective at developing leaders.

Wow.

Leadership training is critically important. In this post, we hope to help you get started on the program your managers need. We’ll make it easy to identify the leadership training topics you need to consider, and we’ll explore different ways you can implement your program.

 

Leadership Training Topics

Even though the manager onboarding statistics are concerning, the good news is this—leadership training is a wonderful place to build a strong, sustainable culture of learning.

We’ve compiled a checklist of leadership training topics to help you answer this question: Where do my managers need to build their skills?

Leadership Learning Experiences

Okay, keep that strategy hat on and answer this next question: What type of training experience would be ideal for your managers?

Ultimately, you want to identify the must-haves that will unleash the most benefits for your company and culture. Here are some considerations to help you brainstorm. In order to meet business, manager, and team needs, many programs choose to blend two or three of these approaches.

 

IN-PERSON FACILITATED

PROS
CONS
More opportunities to bond, build a support network, and share best practices If facilitated as a full-day or multi-day event, follow-up activities should be developed and implemented to encourage application and defeat the “forgetting curve”
High learner accountability If facilitated as a full-day or multi-day event, may involve extra costs such as hotel, travel, and food
Limited distractions Managers are not as accessible to their team members
Can be developed in bite-sized formats and facilitated in-house to provide continuous learning

 

 VIRTUAL INSTRUCTOR-LED

 PROS
CONS
No travel required Fewer opportunities to bond, build a support network, and share best practices
Can be developed in bite-sized formats and facilitated in-house to provide continuous learning Difficult to measure engagement beyond course participation

Managers are susceptible to more distractions during the training

Technology challenges with video, Internet connectivity, and sound can negatively impact the learning experience

 

SELF-PACED ON DEMAND/JUST-IN-TIME

PROS
CONS
No travel required Fewer opportunities to bond, build a support network, and share best practices
Simple course completion tracking Difficult to measure engagement beyond course completion
Typically organized in bite-sized courses, so managers can balance training with supporting their teams Managers are susceptible to more distractions during the training
Consistent information and experience
Easy to administer

 

Leadership Training Timing

Based on our experience, the best time to enroll managers in training is right when they’ve been promoted, or “just in time.” Relevant leadership training is the antidote to sink-or-swim, a practice that hurts confidence, morale, and your company’s net promoter score.

Waiting for managers to ask for help is risky. You’ll lose productivity, and some of your managers with the potential to be great leaders might realize another company offers more support and professional development.

When it comes to leadership training, strike while the iron is hot, when managers are eager to learn. Proactively equip them with the skills they need to confidently excel in their new role.

 

Next Steps

Hopefully, you’re starting to get a vision for the type of leadership training topics your managers need, and the type of learning experiences that will support your goals. Keep in mind learning experiences can be combined in order to create a blended approach, and you can always hire a partner to help you develop your strategy.

Managers want to feel equipped for their roles so they can make a positive impact on your company and the lives of their direct reports. When you build their skills and confidence, you create a more sustainable organization and a better place to work.

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