Having worked at Lessonly for over 3 years in Services and now Account Management, I’ve had the privilege to partner with dozens of our customers as they’ve constructed and reconfigured their employee onboarding process. In fact, onboarding is still the most common initiative new customers are interested in focusing on. They understand the importance of not only retaining new talent, but fueling that initial enthusiasm and drive that’ll support the long-term success of that individual on their team.
I want to share with you some best practices I’ve seen, as well as share some tips on how you can engage new hires remotely with new employee onboarding software.
So, what do you cover in onboarding?
First things first: Define what the team member needs to know. Everything an employee needs to know typically falls into one of these five categories:
- Company / Industry Knowledge: Things like HR processes, benefits, company history, about the industry, vision, mission, values, right?
- Systems: This is highly technical and about accessing and using specific systems and software, learning who is the admin, etc.
- Processes: What are the ‘things’ that this role will need to do on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, and how should they be done?
- Products: This can be as basic as understanding the different types of products/services your organization offers, or as complicated as going over how each product or feature of that product works to include new releases.
- Soft Skills: What skills will help the employee be successful, whether that’s time management best practices, knowing how to address angry customers, leading 1:1’s with your team, etc.
Pro tip: If you have difficulty filling in this list, talk with someone currently doing the role you’re building onboarding for and see if they can help, or if they can track their activities across a certain period of time.
Select your medium and level of mastery
Once you feel confident in the topics that will be covered in onboarding (aka, once you’ve created the first draft of your employee onboarding checklist), it’s time to think through the best way to deliver that knowledge. Lessonly is an onboarding and training software, so you may think I’d say EVERYTHING should go into our platform. I don’t necessarily disagree because Lessonly is a great place to house training. Employees and contractors can easily access the knowledge they need, when they need it, whether that’s learning it for the first time or referring back to it later.
However, putting everything in Lessonly (or any LMS) doesn’t guarantee a great and effective onboarding experience. As you’re designing your onboarding program, you’ll need to look at your onboarding checklist and determine what level of mastery is needed. Here are three levels to consider:
- Awareness: Do they need to simply be aware that the content exists and where to go to refer back to it? This can be useful for basic systems knowledge or benefits information.
- Competence: Do they need to demonstrate a basic level of competence, meaning that they understand the basic concepts of a certain topic and are able to recall them?
- Mastery: Do they need to demonstrate a certain level of mastery in that skill? Not only do new hires need to understand something and recall it, but they need to carry out that action to a certain level of performance.
This exercise is important because from this, you can understand how you should present that content in your onboarding:
- Awareness: These topics should live solely in Lessonly or your employee onboarding platform so that once your new hire completes the onboarding training, they are aware that the info exists and know how to find it in the future
- Competence: These topics can live in Lessonly, but should also include some level of assessment to ensure a baseline level of competence. We recommend even supporting online training with some level of in-person discussion whether that’s to review or go deeper into the discussion.
- Mastery: These topics are central to the new hire’s responsibilities and they need to do them well. Including some key aspects in Lessonly will help support them as they’re learning, but there should be increased focus on reinforcing the behavior and ensuring the new hire can perform to a certain level via 1:1 coaching, role plays, and in-platform practice. Lessonly’s Practice features are key here, allowing you to re-create a real-world scenario and have the new hire practice until they reach a certain level of performance. Basically, Practice = Game. Changer.
Now, let’s talk about the order
A key part of onboarding is building the confidence of the new hire and fueling that wave of enthusiasm by giving them the tools they need to be successful. At Lessonly, and for many of our customers, the first two weeks are lesson-heavy. We lay that groundwork and create foundational awareness. We also layer in shadowing and check-ins for new hires with their manager to answer questions and check up on progress. For each of these in-person or Zoom meetings, each party has a clear outline of what to bring, what to look for, and what to listen to. Meaning this isn’t time to just ride shotgun, but to actively be learning and participating.
A focus of onboarding is getting that new team member comfortable performing some of the most common tasks that make up their job. New hires often use these to build confidence and take solace in knowing that while there is still a lot to learn, they can do these things consistently well.
Hopefully this gives you a good framework for architecting your onboarding program.
One final thing!
One last thing I’d like to discuss is something near and dear to my heart as a remote employee myself. Let’s talk about building relationships during remote onboarding.
- Have every new hire create an About Me lesson that is then assigned to the team. You can also choose to assign a new hire to the rest of your team’s About Me lessons.
- Slack your remote teammates at least once a day to say hey and see how things are going. With everyone remote, you can’t physically see if someone is struggling.
- Set up virtual lunches or coffees with other team members to encourage cross-departmental connections.
- Provide examples of what great looks like so that new hires can follow that example. This is especially important when the new hire isn’t sitting with the existing team.
- Managers: Set up office hours to make yourself available to the team if things pop up!
- Assign an onboarding buddy for each new hire to help build that bond and ensure the new hire feels supported.
Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what you think leads to the best onboarding experiences or how you go about constructing your onboarding system. Thanks so much for reading!
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