New Hire Orientation: From Dead Bore to We Want More!


Devon is excited to start his new job. He shows up bright and early Monday morning and meets his new manager, Carl. Carl gives Devon a manual and sits him at a computer to start his week-long new hire training. After lunch on Friday, Carl interrupts Devon and says, “I need your help! We’re shorthanded and I need to get this report out. You learned about it on Day 2 of training, so you should be all set. I really appreciate it!” Devon’s excited to do some real work, but has no memory of learning about the report, and definitely has no clue how to complete it! He finds nothing in the manual, and dreads the idea of weeding through the boring eLearning. He’s scared to let Carl know he’s clueless, so he completes the report as best he can. Carl has to entirely redo the work, thinking, “Another flop of an employee and another 40 hours of training wasted!”

Sound familiar?

The problem isn’t Devon and it isn’t Carl. It’s the training system that’s designed to shovel every possible bit of knowledge into a new employee’s head with the expectation that they’ll be able to apply that knowledge on the job. Does a new employee need to know everything on Day or Week 1? No. They don’t even need a fraction of that. And the knowledge they do need has to support their performance in the moment.

Picture this: On Day 1, Carl greets Devon and provides a tour of the facility, describing their customers and services or products. Carl explains the daily processes of Devon’s job, and gets him started exploring an interactive, scenario-based eLearning course that features common experiences Devon will encounter on the job. Day 2 includes more interaction with Carl and some hands-on training. On Day 3, Devon gets to shadow a senior performer and try things on his own, using job aids and his new mentor for support. Day 4 has Devon branching out on his own with frequent touchpoints with Carl and the mentor. On Day 5 Devon is ready to try it solo, but knows he has the full support of Carl, the mentor, and job aids to help as well. Extremely different experience, right?

What your new hires need to know and do after training depends on your industry and organization. Whatever it is, here are some tips to make sure that knowledge and those skills are retained after orientation:

  • Make it relevant: Communicate to the new hire how and when they’ll use the knowledge and skills on the job. If you can’t think of how or why they need to know this information, they probably don’t need to know it.
  • Let them practice: Give new hires opportunities to practice on the real system or a dummy one just like it. Let them practice people skills with actual people and mechanical skills on real machines.
  • Give them support: There’s nothing worse than sitting a new hire down at a computer on Day 1 and next checking in with them on Day 5! Provide support and guidance throughout the learning period and beyond, through mentoring, coaching and job aids or other performance support.

Training doesn’t have to be a “waste of time” anymore. Give your new hires a training experience that directly translates into how to do their jobs. Download our free training planner today!