Your company’s greatest resource isn’t a product, service or technology offering–– it’s your people. This is why HR leaders routinely talk about the importance of “human capital investment and development.” This is the process for maximizing the impact of your employees’ time, talent and energy, and it all starts with effective training as a new hire and a long-time employee.
New Hire Training
The first year of an employee’s tenure is their most critical period, setting the tone for their entire relationship with your company. Will they develop a strong connection to your company’s mission and feel genuinely invested in future growth? Or will organizational barriers hinder your new hire’s potential?
Organizations with a robust onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%, according to Glassdoor. Effective onboarding encompasses three key dimensions: the organizational, the technical, and the social. You’re teaching your new employee how things work, defining what “good” looks like, setting up early wins, and helping them build a sense of community. At the core of effective onboarding is your company’s approach to new hire training.
New hire training should be more than a quick overview of the team’s systems and processes. I’ve worked with many different companies over the years and the ones with the strongest employee tenures are the ones that take the time to get their new hire training right. They don’t just teach and let people go out into the wild. Rather, they teach, mold, adapt, and continue those learnings in the form of micro-sessions plus management and leadership training.
Effective new hire training includes an initial training module with periodic check-ins throughout the first year. For example, one approach could be to check-in at four months, six months, eight months and twelve months. You could also align check-ins to specific project goals or employee milestones.
Once an employee is no longer considered a “new hire” doesn’t mean that training should end. Currently, at Lucas Group, we’re reimagining our training approach for employees who have been with us for three or four years to help them move to the next level in their roles.
How to Level Up Your Employee Training
Adapt for the hybrid workforce. While some teams are back in-person, other companies continue a remote or hybrid approach. When we’re together in the office, a lot of knowledge transfer happens outside of formal training. It’s easy to stop by a coworker’s desk with a quick question or learn by watching how another team member solves a problem. If you have a remote team, consider how you can supplement the “natural” training they may miss from these in-person interactions. It’s also important to consider the time commitment required by training. For example, employees may not have the time to digest lengthy content but enjoy short, five-minute podcasts that they can listen to at their convenience.
Customize content to employee needs. At Lucas Group, we just implemented Workday, a comprehensive, HCM (Human Capital Management) system that takes customized, professional development to the next level. We assign training sessions to team members and they fill out their interests and desired career program and the software curates a program for them. This approach makes it easy to tailor content to employee needs, boosting engagement by ensuring the employee is actually receiving information that’s relevant and interesting.
Start small and expand. Let’s be honest: no matter how attentive we are during a training session, it’s unlikely we’ll retain everything the session covered. That’s because we need to hear information at least seven times before we fully retain it. I like this approach with a weeklong training: introduce a topic on Day 1 and then expand on it each day. Instead of ten disparate topics, you’re building a puzzle where everyone can see how all the pieces fit together.
Focus on interactivity.Most virtual tools today offer interactive elements. For instance, Microsoft Whiteboard lets participants underline or star items during a training. RingCentral, a cloud-based communications platform we use a lot at Lucas Group, allows for annotating and breakout rooms. We also use Microsoft Teams for easy virtual collaboration. Taking full advantage of interactivity features on these platforms is key since most of us learn best by doing. We need to practice a skill rather than only hear someone explain it to us. One effective approach is to introduce a topic and then having a team “teach” this topic back to the group. I love seeing this engagement in action. It’s like bringing out the kid in somebody while teaching them at the same time.
What approach does your company take to employee training? From new hire onboarding to ongoing development, I’d love to hear what tactics and tools your teams find most effective.