Comprehensive New Employee Onboarding Checklist

Creating an employee onboarding program is no small task. Finding the right employee, to begin with, is only half the battle. Once a new hire joins the team, it’s all hands on deck. Onboarding sets the tone for new employees as they start their new careers at your company. To properly equip employees for various job functions, a comprehensive onboarding process needs to be in place prior to the hire.

The Onboarding Process

Effective onboarding is the key to long term employee retention. Those first few days and months on the job determine how engaged, educated, and confident new employees are in their new positions. Studies have shown that up to 20% of new employees quit within their first 45 days on the job. The real cost of employee turnover can be up to 150% of an annual salary, so investing in a comprehensive onboarding program is worth its weight in gold.

The onboarding process is more than administrative paperwork; it’s a personal handshake from the organization to a new hire. Onboarding is a useful tool to assimilate new employees into the organization by providing a big-picture overview, down to the small details of day-to-day expectations.

New employees need an introduction to the company culture, history, mission, values, strategic goals, while also getting role-specific training. All things considered, when new employee onboarding does its job, the result benefits both the employee experience and the organization overall.

Employee Onboarding Software

As noted in the ADP 2016 Employee Engagement Study, only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees. Streamline the onboarding process to ensure your employees are well-equipped for the work ahead with a robust, employee onboarding software.

At Unboxed Training & Technology, we customize onboarding programs to mirror your company culture and increase retention by using real-life scenarios for practical application. Effective onboarding uses the right blend of eLearning, interactive workbooks, classroom training, and reinforcement to turn new hires into high performers, no matter their learning style.

Employee onboarding programs directly affect employee experience being an initial touchpoint for new hires of the organization. Is your employee onboarding software getting the job done? A word to the wise: Health check your onboarding before a new hire tries to learn their job on a subpar program…

New Employee Onboarding Checklist

Does your onboarding start with the basics and keep building? Evaluate your current employee onboarding to see how it measures up. The Essential Employee Onboarding Checklist provides a comprehensive overview of 40+ topics to make sure your new employees are set up for success. We’ve listed five of the main sections below to give you a sneak peek of the content:

employee onboarding training checklist ipad

Organizational Basics

Being basic isn’t always bad. Some information will be standard across the board for all employees to learn; we call this the “Organizational Basics.” New employees usually have little to no context on the company history and need to be informed on the foundational pieces of the business (i.e., mission, vision, company structure, unique value proposition, etc.).

Are you laying a solid foundation for employees at the beginning of the onboarding process before they jump into the more technical aspects of their job?

Human Resources

Time for the company policies. Human resources (HR) help employees grow with the organization by managing expectations, offering career development opportunities, and relaying the company culture in an engaging, inclusive way. Set goals at the beginning with HR to track progress, overall performance, and future promotions.

Is your onboarding program set up to help your employees thrive within the organization?

Meet the Team

Your onboarding program should be personal and involve humans. Onboarding should encourage each employee as a vital, valued player on the company team. As a new player on the team, new hires need to know what position they are playing, what responsibilities they have, and how their role supports organizational goals.

Have you built in face-to-face time in your onboarding process for new hires to socialize cross-functionality?

Role Specific Training

You don’t know what you don’t know. Give new employees the tools and training they need to perform their jobs with excellence. Role-specific training is a mixture of on-the-job learning experience and company provided knowledge bases. Personalize onboarding training to prepare new employees for their specific position in an efficient manner to make them valuable contributors.

Are you providing new employees with everything they need to succeed in their new role?

Measure the Effectiveness of Onboarding

If you don’t measure your onboarding, how do you know it’s working? According to the SHRM 2017 Human Capital Benchmarking Report, the average employee turnover rate was 18% in 2016. When an employee’s job description and on-the-job duties are significantly different, a 2-week notice is likely ready to send in their drafts folder.

Assess employees’ experience with your onboarding process at regular intervals in the same way you would schedule an employee performance review (30, 60, 90 days, etc.). Stay proactive and continually refine your onboarding process with the insight you gain from employee feedback.

How effective is your new employee onboarding program?

Create The Best Employee Onboarding Experiences

Onboarding doesn’t stop once the employee sits at their desk and watches a few videos. New hires will only be “new” for a short period, but onboarding is an ongoing process. Some onboarding programs can take up to two years, depending on the position. The best employee onboarding keeps investing time and resources into new employees until they are productive, valuable assets to the organization.

Are you ready to health check your employee onboarding program? For each checklist item, ask yourself, “How does my current onboarding training stack up?” Then, let us know how you scored so we can help your employees reach their A-game faster!

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5 Ways to Utilize E-Learning Games in Employee Training

In the ever-changing world of technology, the race to stay up to date is an exhausting feat. Modern learners are bombarded with texts, emails, phone calls, push notifications, and all kinds of digital distractions throughout the day. Simplifying the training experience is pinnacle to both effective learning and knowledge retention. Integrating eLearning games into your training increases training interactions by 3x, improves knowledge from beginning to end by 64%, and boosts employee engagement (who doesn’t love a good competition?).

Gamification in Business

Gamification is a buzzword these days as one of the most popular learning styles for both learners and educators. Gamification is the application of game mechanics in non-gaming contexts, such as employee training, to increase engagement. Examples of game mechanics include badges, points, levels, and leaderboards. 

corporate university meister learning retention triangle data

Statistically speaking, people only retain about 10% of what they read and 20% of what they hear/see. Corporate Universities author, Jeanne Meister, notes compelling evidence for incorporating gamification in business today:

“Interactive learning games can increase long-term retention rates by up to 10 times.”

5 eLearning Games

In a previous blog, we talked about some questions to consider before introducing games in training. The question isn’t if your organization should introduce games, but how. To understand how you can start utilizing eLearning games in employee training, consider the following.

1. Jeopardy!®

Documenting all of the ins and outs of company products, policies, and best practices could quickly fill a 50-page manual; thankfully, those are long gone! Use the traditional Jeopardy!® format to train employees and reinforce specific topics, relevant to various job descriptions. Assess both hard skills and soft skills with customizable categories to fit your company’s needs.

Jeopardy!® for training includes all of the same rules as the top-rated quiz show on TV with wagers, Double Jeopardy!®, Final Jeopardy!®, and “Daily Doubles.” For cybersecurity training, the categories might be “Passwords,” “Don’t Do This,” and “Crack The Code.” The possibilities are endless and employees will most likely be familiar with the game rules making adoption easy.

2. Recall

Everyone learns differently, so using a mix of training games supports a range of employee learning styles. Recall uses visual learning to test employees’ ability to memorize using videos and images. 

For instance, the game will display a picture, such as a work environment, without giving the player any hint as to what they need to remember. The player is then challenged to recall specific details about what they just saw during a series of questions testing memorization and retention.

3. Trivia

Not a good test taker? No problem. Trivia transforms the negative sentiments around assessments into an exciting, competitive game using points, timers, and leaderboards. Employees are more engaged when tests are gamified into trivia questions. 

Trivia helps learners make the right decisions, faster. Use Trivia to test product knowledge, terminology, encourage asymmetrical thinking (i.e. Think Outside™ the box) and improve retention.

4. Scenarios

Product knowledge and negotiations can be difficult to practice when there is no application for on-the-job instances. Virtual scenarios provide employees the opportunity to learn in a fail-safe setting before being in the “real world.” 

Scenarios are a great training type for customer service representatives, salespeople, and management. Gamified scenarios allow employees to step into the shoes of a virtual character and engage in different conversation paths to test soft skills. Realistic, contextual simulations also help to assess cause and effect decision making.

5. Scramble

New job, new everything. A new employee can feel like they just walked into a foreign country as they begin integrating into the workplace. Colleagues may seem to be speaking another language if new hires are not well prepared with training. Onboarding is an important process to effectively equip new hires, but it doesn’t have to be all mundane.

Scramble is a great resource for terminology and can be played in two ways: Word Scramble and Sentence Scramble. Sentences are either written with a word missing or laid out in a word bank where players are challenged to correctly reorganize them. Learners are tested on knowledge retention whether they are new or seasoned employees.

Game On

Gamified learning management systems (LMS) motivate learners to excel, progress, and achieve final outcomes with anticipation. Each game is easily tracked for robust reporting on an individual or team data. Identify knowledge gaps, improve retention, and empower employees with more effective training experiences. 

When gamification is implemented into eLearning, companies increase employee engagement by 60% and improve productivity by 50% (eLearning Learning). Who’s ready for a performance review now? At Unboxed Training & Technology, we offer a full list of customizable employee training games. Learn more about how to level up your training with eLearning games by watching our Beyond Gamification webinar!

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Humanizing the Virtual Classroom: Using Tools to Drive Real-Time Connection

Every day more companies make the switch to virtual classrooms to save time and money on things like airfare, lodging, and meals. While the shift to virtual eliminates these expenses, some worry it comes at the cost of face-to-face, real-time human connection, but it doesn’t have to.

You can have a similar level of interaction in a virtual classroom using software like Adobe Connect or WebEx Training Center, but you have to use them wisely for your training to be effective. According to ATD, 80 percent of online presenters use fewer than 25% of the interactive features available in these type of platforms. This somewhat disconcerting statistic is how virtual classrooms got the reputation of being less human. Because let’s face it, learners don’t like to be talked at, they like to be engaged.

 

Tools to Use in a Virtual Classroom

Here are the tools you can use to create a sense of human connection and boost engagement in your virtual classroom.

Foster Personal Connections with Webcams

To help boost that face-to-face connection, have the facilitator use their webcam to introduce themselves at the beginning of the session. To boost credibility, start out with who they are, an explanation of their role, and how long they’ve been with the company. Then, dive into something more fun. Have them share a joke, their greatest success, or an anecdote about the training topic.

Using the webcam functionality builds trust, drives connection, and humanizes the facilitator.

Then, take it to the next level by asking any guest presenters, or even learners, to use their webcams too. If it’s a smaller training session, you could use the webcams for the duration. If it’s a larger group, use it strategically when someone needs to share something with everyone in attendance.

 

Encourage Groupwork in Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms allow you to divide participants into smaller groups and give them their own private virtual space to collaborate on an assigned activity. The word private here is key. Think about an in-person session where there are multiple groups in a classroom. Each group can hear the chatter from the others and may be inclined to copy their answers rather than come up with their own.

The independent thinking that virtual group work requires boosts participation, engagement, and retention.

In a virtual classroom, the option to copy other groups disappears, pushing your learners to come up with their own unique answers. Once the activity’s time is up, just pull everyone back in the main room and have each group share what they discussed. You’ll be surprised by what each group is able to come up with.

 

Garner Participation with Polls

Polls are a great way to build human connection. Just send out a question, set a timer, and wait for the responses to start pouring in. As you close a poll, it’ll generate group-wide results you can share with your learners. From there, invite the group to discuss their reaction to the results. This open conversation helps learners forge connections with each other, but also form a sense of belonging in the larger group.

You can ask all sorts of questions with this functionality. One of our favorites is using the polls to gauge comfort level with some of the training topics. Use the poll to check comprehension of a topic you just taught or start the session by sending out a poll to gauge how much learners know about a topic upfront. That way you know what content to review and what you can skim over if everyone’s already got it down.

 

Gauge Emotion with Emojis

We use emojis on our phones every day to show people how we feel. Maybe we’re sending the cry-laughing face in response to a joke or a heart to someone we love. The same principle applies here, but it has powerful learning implications.

At the beginning of a session, give a few emojis a designated purpose. For example, in WebEx you can use the green check and the red “X” for a variety of purposes. It could be how they respond when you pose a True/False question (check for “true”, “x” for “false”), based on comprehension (check means they understand, “x” means they don’t), and so much more. Emojis provide powerful, yet fun, visual cues for how people are feeling.

 

Facilitate Conversation Through Chat

Use the chat functionality to send a message to individuals, all participants, or just the session leader. Again, this comes in handy when someone has a question or needs help, but learners can also use it to submit responses.

Say you want your sales leaders in attendance to share the greatest opportunity for their respective sales teams – why not ask them to send in their responses via chat? If a response comes in and you want to hear more about it, just call on that learner, unmute their line, and ask them to tell you more. By engaging with the responses you see, you’re bridging the gap and forming a human connection by acknowledging someone’s point of view.

When you’re building out instruction for a virtual classroom, keep all of these tools in mind and do your best to use as many of these interactions as possible. Whether it’s chat, webcams, polls, or emojis, these little touch points go a long way to making your virtual classroom feel more authentic, and most importantly, more human.

 

Need help?

If you need a hand with the writing or strategy piece of your virtual training, reach out to us. We geek out over this sort of stuff and would love to partner with you.

 

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Training Delivery Methods: Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

Content is a huge focus in the training world, though it’s really only one part of the learning equation. The magic happens, though, when strong content is shared through the most effective training delivery methods, enabling the message to be absorbed, retained, and implemented by learners.

Whether your aim is to impart knowledge, sharpen skills, or adjust behaviors, there are a lot of different methods of training delivery to choose from. But there’s no silver bullet. In fact, data continues to prove a blended approach, incorporating more than one modality to deliver your content, increases retention by up to 60%.

So, how do you determine the most effective training delivery methods for your needs? Start by considering the options available and how they align with your goals, audience, and content.

Below is a list of our recommendations.

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    Choosing the Right Modality for Your Content

    Training Delivery Methods for Building Knowledge

    When we speak about training for knowledge, we’re referring to helping learners understand the what and the why of a concept. To tackle these topics, the training delivery methods we recommend hinge greatly on well-organized information and storytelling. These include:

    •  Podcasts
    Borrowing from the popular media format, Podcasts are an excellent way to educate team members, allowing them to absorb information at their own pace in a familiar style.

    •  Infographics
    Visual tools help to reinforce concepts, and the Infographic remains a popular delivery method as it clearly outlines vital data and information in a memorable and engaging way.

    •   Animations
    Another popular visual option, Animations are a great way to educate learners. By imparting critical information in an entertaining way, you can increase both retention and engagement.

    •   Group Discussions
    Part team-building, part training, Guided Group Discussions are a great way to build relationships among team members while educating them on key concepts.

    •   Interactive Training Tools (Pitch)
    These interactive modules from Unboxed’s Training Technology team organize key concepts in an interactive, data-based tool, making it effective for knowledge acquisition and knowledge sustainment (refresher training).

    Training Delivery Methods for Improving Knowledge & Skills

    Building on those, there are several modalities that bridge both knowledge and skills, helping learners to understand the how behind the what and the why. This category of modalities includes:

    •   Instructor-Led Trainings (in-person or virtual)
    Instructor Led Training (ILT) or Virtual Instructor Led Training (vILT) allows you to build upon learned knowledge by giving learners a chance to put knowledge and skills into practice through classroom activities.The bonus of vILT is it allows you to reach learners near and far with training that’s as equally engaging, interactive, and effective as in-person training — without the pricey travel costs.

    •   Interactive Learning Guides
    Self-paced and fully interactive, our Interactive Learning Guides (ILG) keep learners engaged at every step. With a modern, web-like interface, video, animation, gamification, and interactive exercises, ILGs create an engaging experience for learners, making them effective for both knowledge and skills training.

    •   Videos
    Taking cues from what many learners engage in on their own time, training videos are an incredibly popular choice to help learners improve their skills in addition to reinforcing their knowledge.

     

    Training Delivery Methods for Sharpening Skills & Behaviors

    Moving further into training for skills, the delivery methods below allow you to focus more deeply on the tactical responsibilities of your team. These modalities also lend themselves to training for behaviors, educating learners on the action taken, and include:

    •   Group Participation, Hands-On Activities, Role Plays, On-the-Floor Training, Mentor Shadowing
    Each of these training delivery methods differs in their approach but share the same goal: to allow team members to improve their skills in settings and situations where they actually use them.

     

    Training Delivery Methods for Shaping Behaviors

    Behavior-specific training goes one step further, allowing you to work with team members to help them make changes in their interactions, approaches, and performance with direct feedback. There are two modalities that are ideal for this type of training, these are:

    •   Huddles
    Combining the benefits of group participation, hands-on activities, and role play along with direct coaching, Huddles are an excellent training method to help shape and improve behaviors.

    •   Video Simulations
    Offering the same advantages of a Huddle, Video Simulations allow geographically dispersed teams the opportunity to observe team member behavior and coach them to be more effective in their approach.

     

    Need Help?

    We recognize there are a lot of options out there, but choosing a training method doesn’t need to be a chore. We can help you analyze and understand both your goals and content to select the best option for your needs. Reach out to schedule some time with our Training Content Strategists to learn more.

    Want to know more about choosing a training method? Download our free guide!

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    How to Avoid Immersive Learning Pitfalls

    Immersive training (augmented and virtual reality) is changing fast. It wasn’t long ago that most people thought of these mediums as sparsely- and strictly-used by gamers and tech geeks. Times have changed. Video games, marketing, training, movies, TV shows… you name it and you can probably access some form of it in AR/VR.

    It may be the flashy new thing, but we’re starting to see real benefits from immersive learning. According to a recent study that compared mobile VR learning to reading a text document, when tested on learning objectives, learners who used VR scored an average of 94.5, while those who learned using the text document scored an 87.

    Still, as with all fairly new technologies, AR/VR are not without pitfalls. We’ve seen that plenty want to use this tech primarily because it’s trendy – and they move to incorporate it without proper planning.

    Let’s look at some of the most common immersive training pitfalls to ensure your use of this tech adds value from a learning perspective.

     

    Lack of Measurement

    Pitfall:

    AR/VR by itself doesn’t typically contain a way to measure success or learning outcomes. Unless the software is built by a training company with analytics in mind, success and learning outcomes are probably an afterthought.

    The measurement of learning outcomes is critical for any training technology. Without that measurability, it’s extremely difficult to calculate ROI, determine where learners are struggling and succeeding, or provide constructive feedback.

    How to Avoid:

    Before opting-in to immersive learning, put a measurement strategy in place. Start with the end in mind. Before you can begin building an immersive training experience, how will you know if it’s successful? One way is by having a training technology company build the software from the ground up with the end-goal of outcome collection and measurement as a requirement.

    For example, we can measure if learners’ behavior changed and see if training had a measurable impact on performance by looking at qualitative data (like interviews) and quantitative data (customer satisfaction, sales metrics, etc.) With immersive learning, scenarios and environments can be built requiring specific behaviors to satisfy virtual customers, make virtual sales, or accomplish any other goal.

    Then, to measure ROI, simply compare upfront development cost to the training’s impact on behavior change and performance.

     

    It’s All the Rage!

    Pitfall:

    Make no mistake about it, AR/VR is cool and trendy. That’s reason enough for many to want to include it in their training repertoire. The fact that it just happens to be awesome technology isn’t the pitfall – the urge to use it solely because it’s cool.

    How to Avoid:

    If you want to build an AR/VR experience, ensure you have learning objectives that are best accomplished via immersive learning. Could you do the same thing in a video or eLearning? If you could, maybe immersive training isn’t your best option.

    How can you determine if your learning objectives are well-suited to AR/VR?

    Do you have something that needs to be seen or demonstrated without your learner being there?

    Maybe you’re training pilots while they’re spread across multiple cities without access to the same type of aircraft. Or perhaps you need to show workers in different parts of the country a process that’s used in a single factory so they can replicate it.

    These examples lend themselves well to immersive learning because your learners are spread out and it’s incredibly costly to bring them all together. Save time and money by having them learn together virtually instead.

    Need to learn something dangerous, risky, or particularly stressful?

    Performing surgery or mixing chemicals in the making of medicines are two examples that could be taught and practiced through AR/VR with all of the learning benefit and none of the physical risk.

    Immersive training allows for safe practice and exposure to situations that would be too dangerous otherwise.

    Perhaps your workforce is spread far and wide, yet they need to collaborate to learn best.

    How about a team that needs to work together to solve a problem? Maybe a team that needs to disassemble a jet engine and each have certain parts to dissect and fix.

    In the factory, a team has to work on an assembly line to improve efficiency. With immersive training, learners could experience the same environment, while physically in different places, and practice virtually.

    This is also applicable for a disperse sales team . Immersive learning can help these teams collaborate and learn from their counterparts in a real-world scenario, no matter where they are.

    The ability to learn and work collaboratively without having to be physically together or even having all of the requisite physical equipment is a training dream brought to life by AR/VR.

     

    Hardware?

    Pitfall:

    Though the cool software is what really makes immersive learning, this training modality requires some pretty particular hardware. Getting too excited and investing in software is all for nothing if you don’t figure out the hardware first.

    How to Avoid:

    Make sure you have a plan for equipment in place prior to launch. Much of that equipment is rapidly changing, so what do you need – and how much? In general, the price of AR/VR hardware is coming down, but did you factor that into the money you’ll have to spend? Where can you get it? Will it work right for what you want to accomplish? There is an ever-growing number of options in the industry.

    It’s okay if you don’t know where to begin. When designing an immersive experience partnering with an expert can help you consider which, and how much, hardware you’ll support. Plan first – buy second.

    Immersive learning can enhance your training by making it more efficient… if you can avoid the pitfalls. At the rate this technology is emerging, now’s the time to start exploring its potential. Depending on your needs, it could change the way your learners learn for the better.

     

    As with other newly emerging technologies, AR/VR may seem overwhelming at its face. Work with a trusted partner who can help you maximize the benefits of this modality and ease your mind.

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