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4 Best Practices for Streamlined Onboarding

Note: This article was updated on 1/21/2022 to include relevant research, methods, and strategies

Have you ever been shopping and asked two employees the same question–like whether an item qualifies for an advertised sale–and received two different answers? Most of us have.

And though sometimes this is simply the result of one lazy or indifferent employee being disinterested in following the proper protocols, these conflicts usually result from poor and inconsistent employee onboarding practices. The retail environment may be where insufficient employee onboarding makes itself most felt in our day-to-day lives, but the reality is that reliable employee onboarding is critical to the success of just about any business.

The best onboarding practices are streamlined and consistent, and we’ve grounded our platform in these principles from day one. To help your company avoid the sort of 'he said, she said' fiascos that make the businessperson in all of us cringe, here are some key factors to consider when crafting a lean, efficient, and consistent employee onboarding procedure.

1. Show Teams the Value of Onboarding

Many new team members see training and onboarding as little more than an obstacle, albeit a necessary one, that they must overcome before they can get down to real work. Onboarding is like eating your vegetables, so to speak. As such, companies should make sure that their employee onboarding process explicitly spells out the benefits that it has to offer. Employees need to understand that onboarding is not only a mechanical HR necessity, but the best way for them to find their bearings in a new environment and set themselves up for success.

2. Resist the Urge to Info Dump

Of course, the most surefire way to get your employees to buy into the onboarding process is to keep it concise and based on fundamentals. Initial training is unquestionably important, but anyone who’s held the same position for any extended period of time knows that the majority of workplace skills are picked up on the job. Tempting as it may be, you can’t teach your new employees everything they need to know in their first week, and trying to do so will only overwhelm and frustrate them.Always try to find an online learning platform that goes beyond introductory employee onboarding. The right platform will modulate learning so new members don't  feel overwhelmed on their first day on the job.

3. Keep Things Interesting

As in any learning situation, the most effective onboarding processes are highly interactive and engaging. After all, no one likes being lectured at for hours on end! Gamification is on the tip of everyone’s tongues for a reason–it works. People are more likely to retain and really understand information when they’ve learned it by doing. Employ new methods of learning like bite-sized lessons or video coaching to keep your team members engaged while they learn.

4. Automate the Simple Things

Perhaps most importantly, if you oversee more than a handful of employees, your onboarding processes must be at least partially automated. Without an automated platform, it’s impossible for leadership to juggle dozens or hundreds or thousands of team members’ progress, especially if your company is dedicated to providing the kind of customized onboarding defined by the previous tips.

Strong online learning platforms allow managers to see exactly what learning materials their teams are working through and can assign additional modules or quizzes as appropriate, all without having to worry about actually distributing these materials to the right employee at the right time. The right platform will give you a comprehensive bird’s-eye view of the employee onboarding process without having to micromanage the menial details that keep the process running smoothly.

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