New Employee Onboarding Guide

The term “onboarding” comes from the aviation industry — “onboard the plane.” Imagine the situation: you are at the airport waiting for boarding. You get on the plane, where you meet polite, smiling flight attendants. They help you find your seat, place your luggage, and feel comfortable during the flight. Of course, you could find your seat and put your luggage in the bin yourself. However, the crew’s task is to make you feel calm and secure.

Let’s translate this into a corporate language. We hire a new recruit and must make their “boarding” and “flight” fast, comfortable, and stress-free. The goal: We want them to be happy about ‘flying with us’.

The process of integrating new hires into a new work environment is called new employee onboarding. Through it, they acquire the basic skills, knowledge, behaviors, and processes needed to become an effective member of the organization.

Take your seat and fasten your seatbelts; we are preparing for takeoff!

How to onboard

You are enjoying your flight, sitting in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea that a courteous stewardess has just brought you. Good memories about this pleasant journey will stay with you for a while, and when you decide to visit some other place, you will likely choose this airline again. It’s the same thing with a corporate environment.

According to a survey, a third of employed Americans quit a job within the first six months, with 68% of those departing within three months. Of course, no company wants a newly hired employee to leaving! Therefore, it’s in the interest of the organization to create an environment that the new hire flourishes in. This is exactly how a well-thought-out new employee onboarding process can help. Prepared and confident employees are more likely to stick around and do great work while there.

What must an onboarding program include?

Dr. Talya Bauer from the SHRM identified The Four C’s which a successful onboarding program must include. The Four C’s stands for compliance, clarification, culture, and connection.

  • Compliance implies teaching new hires the basic policies of the company.
  • Clarification refers to ensuring that employees are aware of their responsibilities and how to correctly fulfill their role.
  • Culture involves the norms of organization.
  • Connection means relationships with colleagues and feeling like a part of the team.

A new employee onboarding program can take several weeks or longer. However, many onboarding specialists agree that the adaptation period should last at least three months. 90-days is the minimum for new hires to get used to their roles, mentally prepare for their responsibilities, feel valued and supported, and acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed. An efficient and optimized onboarding process decreases time to productivity and increases the ROI on the new hire.

Tracie Cantu, Founder of Metamorphosis Learning

“Keep in mind that onboarding should begin once the job offer has been accepted. Managers should be reaching out to the new hire to discuss how excited they are to have them on the team, what the new hire should expect on the first day, and be open to any questions between offer acceptance to the first day on the job.”

How to make onboarding effective?

Offer a warm welcome

Flying on a plane is stressful for many people. It’s like the first few days (or weeks) at a new job for an employee. Just as flight attendants can reduce the passengers’ stress through compassionate customer service, companies can make their employees’ experience more relaxed through well-organized onboarding.

Here is a basic onboarding checklist you can reuse with every new hire. It contains all the items that are necessary to make the employees feel good about being on the team.

Employee onboarding checklist

Now, prioritize the objectives for your company and situation: divide them into what you should do before the first day, on the first day, and in the first week. However, don’t overload your employees with new information.

Clive Shepherd, Founding Partner at Skills Journey

“At the beginning of the onboarding process, concentrate on the information that will help your employees to survive. Just start with an explanation of where to go for knowledge and who to talk to.”

Provide new hires with training

Flight attendants’ duties include giving instructions to passengers on how to behave on board and use emergency equipment. As for employee onboarding in your company, it’s also important to provide new hires with necessary knowledge and help them fit into the culture and continually improve their skills.

You need to make up a training program that is a roadmap with goals and responsibilities for each period of time.

Tracie Cantu, Founder of Metamorphosis Learning

“Having a roadmap that includes course/assessment time will help a new hire successfully manage their time. They will feel less stressed when they know the scope required for their training, and that it can seamlessly fit within their first few weeks on the job.”

Here’s an example for a new sales hire.

Sample one-week program for salespeople

When it comes to introducing employees to your corporate culture and training them, you can maximize the efficiency by using a Learning Management System (LMS). It will help you manage the whole training progress: create learning paths, upload and assign learning materials, and assess employees’ results.

There are several benefits of using an LMS for employee training and onboarding:

  1. It helps you organize your onboarding process and learning materials.
  2. It saves time for both you and the new hire. You can set up all the training in advance and, when new employees arrive, just assign them courses that suit their job role (or set up course menus by role to further automate).
  3. It doesn’t require many coaches, scheduled classes, special equipment, and other expenses.
  4. Your new employees can go through the courses at their own pace, and integrate the learning more easily into their schedules.
  5. Both learners and instructors can track the completion status and results.

How to engage

When you are onboard a plane, you want to feel comfortable. In-flight meal, movies, and free Wi-Fi are just a few ways that airlines enhance the passenger travel experience. The more bells and whistles you get, the more likely you will choose the airline next time.

It’s also very true when it comes to a corporate environment. The more employees are engaged, the more effort they are willing to invest in the company’s goals and outcomes.

According to Gallup research, only 13% of all employees are “highly engaged” at work, 63% are “not engaged,” and 26% are “actively disengaged.” To boost your employees’ effectiveness and the probability of them staying, it’s crucial to engage them at the onboarding stage.

1. Create relevant and engaging content

Each piece of learning content (video, article, course, etc.) must be created with a purpose, and the goal should be to close a knowledge gap of the employee. If a piece of learning content solves their current problem, they will be motivated to learn it.

Relevant content that is interesting and inspiring is simply more effective. Plus, one out of every three employees says that relevant content that is boring makes them feel miserable. This means you need to develop training programs that not only provide knowledge to employees but also entertain and engage them whenever possible.

Tip 1: Keep the content “human.”

Clive Shepherd, Founding Partner at Skills Journey

“If it sounds like it was written by lawyers in a committee, it’s not interesting.

It’s got to sound like ‘a human-being has created it for me.’ The language is friendly, informal and easy to understand.”

Tip 2: Use storytelling.

Clive Shepherd, Founding Partner at Skills Journey

“Stories engage us emotionally and help us remember lots of other stuff.

When we remember a story, we remember lots of details that would otherwise be hard to recall.”

Tip 3: Make interactive high-quality courses.

To learn mere about engaging eLearning content, see this complete guide about how to create online courses.

Tool requirement: An authoring toolkit for creating courses.

In iSpring Suite, in a day, you can be developing quality SCORM-compliant courses, quizzes, conversation simulations, and video lectures that will work on any desktop or mobile platform. The toolkit is seamlessly integrated with PowerPoint, so anyone who’s created PPT presentations can easily build courses with iSpring Suite.

2. Challenge your employees

People like to play games and solve challenging problems, and they feel inspired when they see their progress. You can add game mechanics in their training: rising up through levels, leaderboards, high scores, winning badges, and so on. It boosts their engagement and motivates them to conquer new peaks.

Tool requirement: An LMS with gamification

iSpring Learn supports leaderboards to involve learners in competition and points and badges which can be assigned to learners for successfully completed courses and quizzes.

3. Grant certificates

Appreciation is an important factor of employee engagement and motivation to keep moving towards goals at work. Your colleagues are likely to aim higher and perform better if you demonstrate your appreciation by issuing electronic certificates for the assignments or programs they have completed.

Tool requirement: An LMS with certification functionality

iSpring Learn allows you to upload PDF certificates to the platform and deliver them to your learners upon completing courses. Learners can download and print their certificates, and share them with friends, relatives, and co-workers.

4. Adopt mobile learning

Modern learners are extremely busy; they retain a huge volume of information. Flexibility and mobility can save the day. Let your employees learn whenever it’s comfortable for them from the deviсes they use most often.

Tool requirement: A mobile-friendly LMS

iSpring Learn supports fully responsive courses that adapt to the screen size of any device. Plus, it has a free mobile app that allows learners to take courses even offline.

How to assess

The autopilot is on, but the pilot is constantly monitoring the instruments, making sure they are on course. When it comes to onboarding, it’s crucial to make sure your employees are flying in the right direction. The most objective way to evaluate your new hires’ success is to use real numbers and calculations.

Let’s take for example a sample one-week program for salespeople. From the Knowledge check column, we find out that an employee should pass four online quizzes and one face-to-face assignment.

A learner gets points for the tests assigned in the LMS and the grade for the assessment from the Head of Sales. After all the tasks are completed, the manager sees the total number of points. If the result meets the minimum passing score set by the coach, the employee moves to the next module or phase.

Tool requirement: An LMS with analytics

iSpring Learn LMS allows you to get full control over learners’ progress on every course. It not only lets you assess their results, but also provides you with attempt details, answer breakdown, average score, and much more.

To learn how to use metrics to boost learning effectiveness, see this full guide on LMS reports.

Each employee’s onboarding experience ends sooner or later, but their professional development is ongoing. Through eLearning, the vehicle needed for your entire organization to constantly acquire new skills and improve themselves as professionals is in place. You can make the training process automated, easy, and engaging with iSpring Learn LMS. Get a free 14-day trial and explore all iSpring LMS features.

We would like to express our gratitude to the following experts for sharing their knowledge and experience:

Tracie Cantu, Founder of Metamorphosis Learning

Tracie Cantu SHRM-SCP is the founder of Metamorphosis Learning, a talent development firm committed to working with SMBs and start-ups to build and launch learning programs and systems that improve performance, increase employee engagement, and improve retention and talent attraction. Tracie has worked in Learning and HR leadership capacities for organizations such as United Airlines, the State of Texas, and Whole Foods Market.

Clive Shepherd, Founding Partner at Skills Journey

Clive Shepherd, learning consultant, Founding Partner at Skills Journey. In a career spanning more than 35 years, Clive has headed up a corporate training function, co-founded a leading multimedia development business, and operated as an independent consultant operating worldwide. He is a regular speaker at international conferences, has been recognized with two lifetime achievement awards, and has written five books, more than 200 articles, and nearly 1000 posts to his blog, Clive on Learning. His current venture is Skills Journey, a curriculum of online CPD courses for L&D professionals.

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Digital Marketing Specialist at iSpring Solutions

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