Few career moments generate the energy and excitement that a new hire’s start date does. Teams at the hiring organization are thrilled at the prospect of welcoming fresh talent. Meanwhile, the newbie is anxious to dig into the work and make an impact.
However, employee onboarding isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, even at the most compelling organization doing the most exciting work. How you welcome your new hires can determine how fast they get up to speed and whether they decide to stay. That’s why every organization needs the right training resources for new hires to hit the ground running.
1. Job Manuals
Institutional knowledge is invaluable, but you risk failure if you don’t document the responsibilities, tactics, and nuances of job roles. Job manuals do more than reiterate the job description you used to recruit candidates. These essential manuals dig deeper into the daily, weekly, and annual tasks associated with your team’s responsibilities.
Consider a job manual as a tool novices can use to learn a new role. Consult with your team and fellow managers to identify the job manuals you must develop. Discuss roles and responsibilities and document them using the original job descriptions as a starting point. This project can seem daunting, so many organizations outsource technical writing services to create such content. These experts know how best to present information to the intended audience, targeting the right readability level and format.
Once your manuals are developed, please share them with team members in those roles and others who work closely with them. Get their early input to identify gaps and make adjustments accordingly. Once you’re confident they’re in good shape, have individuals work in tandem with their job manual, noting needed additions or adjustments over time. Making updates based on real-life use of the manuals on the job will ensure that they remain accurate and helpful.
2. Processes and Standard Operating Procedures
The game of telephone has no place in the workplace, but that’s often what happens without standardization. How one employee completes a task may work to a degree, but it may not be the best or most efficient approach. Over time, having individual staff members train new hires can result in inconsistent experiences and introduce unnecessary risk into your business.
You’re better off developing standard operating procedure (SOP) documentation to streamline your day-to-day and ensure success for your new employees. These reference guides offer step-by-step instructions on every facet of your business. As with your job manuals, creating them will take some doing, but the benefits make the investment well worth the effort.
Ensure your current teams understand the value of employing standard processes and procedures. Their acceptance of the practice will also encourage new hires to use these processes. While SOPs can initially feel like added red tape that constricts creativity, they serve a valuable purpose. By detailing the steps required for key tasks, SOPs yield higher-quality products, reduce rework, and save time. Teams can avoid guesswork when completing routine tasks like cleansing customer data, leaving more time for value-added work.
3. Knowledge Bases
It’s awkward when you don’t speak the language at work. Knowledge bases can help demystify industry jargon, break down technical concepts, and decipher confusing acronyms. Think of your organization’s knowledge base as the digital support system for your team. It can house reference guides, product information, and internal overviews that help your team be successful. This resource gives all team members access to the same information, and new hires can benefit from having a readily accessible source.
Knowledge bases are especially well suited to providing guidance and support for front-line agents, who frequently navigate challenging conversations. For example, your team may develop talking points, FAQs, or solution paths in preparation for a product or pricing change. Knowledge bases increase on-the-job confidence and provide a consistent customer experience, making their integration into your training practices a no-brainer.
House your knowledge base, job manuals, and SOPs in a centralized portal. Typically, such portals require employee credentials to access, making them an ideal place for sensitive, internal-facing information. Use your portal to structure learning paths and schedule reviews of key documentation. The latter can be especially helpful, as processes may need to be updated as technology, service lines, and best practices change over time.
Get New Hires Primed for Your Culture of Training
Your new hires may be counting the days before their first day with your organization, so tap into that momentum. Take a cue from event planners and send an onboarding “know before you go” email series to incoming hires. Provide an overview of what to expect, directions to the office, and previews of fun and administrative tasks ahead.
The more you can do to make newbies comfortable on their first day, the sooner you can get down to the business of training. Consider sending overviews of company history, products, and news to give them a jump start on background information. By welcoming new hires with a well-structured training program and materials, they’ll be ready to work independently in record time.