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Onboarding & Training Is Not One Size Fits All: 4 Ways To Make It Personal

An excellent onboarding process can speed your employee’s practical readiness to begin their new job… but have you thought about their mental and emotional state? There’s nothing like an impersonal onboarding experience to make new hires feel frozen in their tracks.

Does this mean you should shy away from automating repetitive and boring onboarding tasks? Quite the opposite – by speeding up the mundane part of the process, you leave more room for personalization in your new employee orientation.  

1: Bring on the good vibes right away

How employees feel at work is directly tied to how successful they are at work. How can you create “good feelings” during employee onboarding?

Google saw a 25% improvement in new hire productivity when they reminded managers to follow these five steps during onboarding of new hires:

  • Have a role-and-responsibilities discussion
  • Match the new hire with a peer mentor
  • Assist the new hire in building a social network
  • Set up onboarding check-ins once a month for six months
  • Encourage open dialogue

The minute you hire a new employee, make it personal. Don’t just send out a “dear candidate, congratulations” letter. Take five minutes to craft a personalized email to let them know their offer letter is forthcoming, and how excited you are to add them to your team. The emotional boost will have them ready to onboard with enthusiasm. From there, continue a direct line of communication with an open door policy. 

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2: Recognize how employee “feelings” drive employee engagement

People who look forward to their jobs every day are what we call “engaged” employees. This employee engagement hinges on several factors, including:

  • Job satisfaction: Your employee enjoys what they do and feels like they make a difference with what they do every day
  • Company culture: Your employee feels a sense of belonging and doesn’t feel out of place or minimized 
  • Top down accountability: Your employee believes that their superiors are accountable to them as much as they are to their superior
  • Clarity of expectations: Your employee is crystal clear on what their job responsibilities are and the expectations
  • A manageable workload: Your employee doesn’t feel overwhelmed or overloaded with tasks at any time
  • Small daily challenges: Your employee has enthusiasm and a problem solving attitude thanks to interesting, challenging tasks
  • Short and long term goals: Your employee gets regular boosts and feelings of achievement by meeting goals
  • Round table support: Your employee feels that everyone on the team has their back, from all directions

Employee engagement is critical for business success. Onboarding new employees is the first level of engagement, so personalization is key. If you can make your employees feel engaged, you’ve immediately increased the chance of retention.   

3: Understand why one-size onboarding does not fit all

Providing and absorbing basic information can be cripplingly boring. Finding ways to both automate and speed this process up and make it more personal is the secret to employee engagement out of the box. Review your onboarding system and look for ways to make it more inviting. You want to evoke positive feelings in your employees during every step.

Digital onboarding doesn’t have to be impersonal. While there are basic forms to fill out, you can personalize even the initial introduction to the system by making sure the new employees preferred name and mode of address is generated.

Customize the onboarding funnel to include everything your new hire needs to know on a companywide and departmental basis. Omit modules that don’t have anything to do with them or their job. You can cross-train later. The goal is to make your employees feel that they are already valued and respected, and that includes respecting their time.

Most employee onboarding processes come with a hefty dose of information overload. Keep each new hire’s experience relevant to them and their direct responsibilities. This will ensure that the most important information doesn’t get buried.

4: Provide multiple paths to success

It’s not just what you teach your new employees, but how you teach them. By providing them with self-directed learning in the workplace on day one, you allow them to absorb information at their own pace. Don’t just diversify and personalize your content. Think about learning styles and communication preferences. 

Concentrate on making access and assimilation of key information as easy as possible for all types of learners. Deliver different ways to provide the same information, and allow new hires choose how to consume it. This way, you allow them to succeed using the skills and tools they already possess. 

Embracing a streamlined onboarding platform like Trainual can allow you to automate large portions of your onboarding process. You can personalize other sections to give your new hire those “good feelings.” With everything they need to know in one location, they can learn at their own pace in their own way. They will also be able to revisit sections later if they need a refresher. 

A good onboarding system plans for far more than a week or 30 days – it supports employees through their first year and empowers them to remain engaged. This lets you focus on building strong teams and driving business growth!


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