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Adrian Sallis

Feb 28, 2020

Creating Your Staff Onboarding Course: What You MUST Include


A high staff turnover rate is costly. Having an effective onboarding process can train staff quickly and keep them around longer. Whether it is informing the new hire of the programs available to them or letting them know what will be expected of them, onboarding sets the foundation for a harmonious relationship with your employees.

As important as onboarding courses are, you want to make sure to get them right. Make a course too long and you'll lose the attention of your new employee and risk them not retaining key information. A course that is too short will not give them the information they need to be successful at your company.

How long your course needs to be to cover all of the required information will vary by company and the job being filled. There are some things, however, that every onboarding course should have. Let's go over them.

Intro from Upper Management

Your executives are the leaders of your company. Because of this, your new hires should be familiar with them and what their vision for the company is. When hired on at a new company, it is easy for the new employee to feel like a mere cog in the machine. This is exacerbated when every mention of upper management evokes mysterious and faceless figures that are off giving commands from on high with no connection to the staff.

Allowing the employee to get to know the executives right from the start will help to alleviate this problem and make them feel more like that are part of a team. While this type of introduction can be done in a written form, that is hardly the most effective way. A video will allow the hire to see the executives and get to know their personalities a little bit better. If video is not an option, then audio would be the second choice as it is still more personal than text.

Company Mission and Values

There is perhaps nothing more important to establishing and maintaining the company culture that you wish to cultivate than making clear to your employees from the start what your company's values are. This area of the training should go beyond a cookie-cutter, throwaway mission statement. You want to instill in the new hires that your company actually believes in these values.

When possible, give examples of times that your company has lived up to the values that it holds. If you participate in any charitable giving or outreach programs that align with your stated values, now is a great time to mention them to the employees and potentially encourage them to join in. Similarly, programs that are available to employees in service of your company's values should be mentioned here as well, even if you plan on going into greater detail on them later. Again, the goal is to not just state your values but to instill your belief in them into the employee to help guide company culture in the direction you want it to go.

Overview of Key Systems

It may seem obvious, but your employees should come away from onboarding knowing when and how often they will be paid and, if applicable, how time management at your company works. Similarly, they should be made aware of the company's vacation and sick day policy. Payroll isn't the only key function, however. HR policies and procedures are also an important factor that is common to all businesses. Your employees should know where they can go should a dispute arise and how that dispute will be resolved.

There may be additional key systems depending on the type of business you operate. For example, if the employee will be given an email account or will be making use of file-sharing tools, then they should be instructed as to how those systems work as well. Be sure to include any other key systems that may be unique to your industry.

Role Specific Systems and Training

Shaking hands

While many aspects of any given role in the company will require more instruction than one onboarding class can provide, there are likely many aspects of each individual role that can be covered during this time. One example is any role-specific systems that might not have been general enough to be covered by the previous section.

Remember that employees will need to be separated by their respective roles for this section of the training, so if you have large in-person training sessions be sure to schedule this portion of the training appropriately. If you are using a more modern approach to training, such as online courses, then each employee can simply be directed to the resources appropriate to their job.

Health and Safety Policy and Training

Every company should have policies in place to handle medical incidents. Whether it is a simple injury that needs to be reported or a medical emergency that requires the employee to act quickly to save someone's life, everyone should know these procedures thoroughly long before that knowledge is needed.

If your industry includes hazardous situations, then you will have an even greater list of safety concerns that must be addressed. Be sure that the employee is fully aware of any dangers they may be facing on the job, how to avoid those dangers, and what to do in the case of an accident. Instilling the importance of safety right from the very start is vital to keeping everyone on the job injury-free.

Drug and Alcohol, and Sexual Harassment Policy

These are the more serious topics that are never really fun to talk about but are nevertheless very important. Your employees need to know the rules regarding what is considered inappropriate behavior and what the consequences will be if they do not obey those rules. Now is the time to discuss any treatment options that you may have available for employees should they find themselves with an addiction problem.

In addition to the consequences of sexual harassment, be sure to make clear to each employee what the proper procedure for reporting it is. You not only want to discourage people from harassing others but to empower victims to speak out.

Bringing Your Courses Online

There are many advantages of bringing your onboarding processes from a physical location to online distribution. We've already discussed how much easier it is to tailor the training to specific roles in the company. Another benefit along those same lines is that an employee will always be able to go online and refer back to the training if needed.

Online training benefits you just as much as it does the employee. With online training, it is easy to track staff completion through the use of electronic signatures. You can quickly see which employees have completed which stages of training. This becomes especially useful when updates are made to a course and you want to make sure that everyone has been trained on the new material. Such upgrades and retraining can be a hassle when training is done in person, but become a breeze when an online platform is used.

The exact details of your onboarding process will depend a lot on your personal preferences and the specifics of your industry. As long as you are careful to include the minimum requirements above, you will be on track to developing a great program. If you would like to see some examples of other great programs, that take advantage of our powerful online training platform, meet with us today. We'd be happy to help you craft the perfect onboarding course.

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