Many companies believe it can take as long as one year to fully onboard a new hire at 100% productivity. Some organizations spend hundreds of hours with long videos in a new hire’s first month, while others simply use the “trial by fire” method. The bigger question that each company could ask is “what does 100% productivity mean to your organization?”
For a salesperson, this might be their first month at quota, while someone in marketing might be their first successful Salesforce.com campaign. Does your organization clearly define learning objectives each week that you can validate? One of the most important considerations when developing an onboarding program is how much can your new hire truly retain at one time? Does your new salesperson need to know all 50 products your company can sell in the first three months, or simply the top 10 and understand in detail. You might want to use your onboarding program to learn another product each week until complete.
When you think about the time and money spent on recruiting and hiring people, very few companies invest time after the first month retaining these new hires and ensuring they achieve 100% productivity.
The clock to 100% starts the moment the new hire signs their offer letter, and they start exploring their new company. This same onboarding clock should not stop until the new hire has reached the goal. Both the employee and onboarding team must know on a weekly basis where the new hire is towards the goal.
What is the answer to creating a successful onboarding program? First and most importantly, each hour your new hire spends on the wrong material, that is one hour longer to 100% to reach 100% productivity. Below are a few tips to reduce the time to 100% productivity for your new hires.
- Use an onboarding system that allows you to receive feedback via surveys, tests, and even video. We use LearnCore as our platform and love its capabilities.
- Pre-Board: When the offer letter is signed, make sure your new hire has content to consume before their first day.
- First Day: Make their first day amazing, take them out to lunch, make it a big deal around the office or virtually through your systems.
- Real World: Expose new hires by getting them out in the field as soon as possible and spend time with many groups and facilities. Many learners are kinesthetic and retain information by doing versus watching.
- Be Ready: Your new hire is ready to learn, and first impressions are very important. Make sure all their systems, computer, badges, are waiting for them.
- 90 Day Plan: Give your new hire the roadmap day one and stick to it.
- Yes, use videos: Resist the temptation to throw up on them. 5-7 minutes folks, that’s all they can absorb at one time.
- Testing and Surveys: two-way onboarding is a proven method to reduce onboarding time. Use surveys, role plays, video coaching, to have them teach back information and review.
- Assign a Mentor: Make it very formal and start the first week. This person doesn’t need to be part of your direct reports.
- Weekly Check-In: Recruiting, Human Resources, Enablement, etc. should all have a place in weekly check-in’s not just the hiring manager. You hiring manager is key, yet multiple vantage points on development are critical.
One magic bullet doesn’t exist to reduce the time to 100% productivity; it may be a dozen small areas you could improve quickly. Let a company like ClientWon review your current onboarding program and provide feedback on how to make changes which will reduce the time to onboard. Typically an outside company can see things internal groups may miss since they do not have “skin in the game.” Next, set a benchmark after looking at past results. If a specific role is taking nine months to onboard, set a goal of 7 months in the next quarter. Find the wasted hours in your current onboarding program to reach the new goal.
Steve Buergey is the founder of Client Won, and his passion is helping clients create amazing onboarding programs without significant capital investments. He has spent over 15 years in Sales Enablement with Fortune 1000 companies like Iron Mountain and PSAV leading large segments of their onboarding program. Steve has also started his career as a hunter in the IT and Telecommunications Industry. You may contact him at (224) 210-9191 or firstname.lastname@example.org