Dealing with Onboarding Training Issues

Onboarding new hires takes guidance and acclimation. It is about thinking what you would want if you were starting out as a new employee.

Apparently, most organizations are not seeing success with onboarding training. In fact, only 12 percent of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees, according to Gallup.

The purpose of onboarding training is to make the transition to joining a new organization as seamless as possible. Your onboarding should provide new hires with knowledge, skills, and required behaviors needed to become active contributors as soon as possible.

So how can organizations effectively address poor onboarding training? Business philosopher Jim Rohn reminds us to “focus on the solution, not the problem.” Here are some potential solutions to consider:

1. Foster active manager involvement. It seems when managers take an active role in onboarding, their employees are 3.4 times more likely to strongly agree that their onboarding experience was exceptional, according to Gallup.

Managers need to assist with reviewing the employee’s new role with them and going over their expectations. It is important to talk about the organizational culture and provide examples of how staffers live the values.

Managers also need to make sure to bridge any gaps if onboarding is done remotely. Whether in a completely virtual or a hybrid workplace, managers facilitate connections between co-workers. They can set up a schedule for how frequently an employee would like to have one-on-one meetings with them, and then create a normal cadence for when to meet.

Managers need to be astute observers of any puzzling or worrisome non-verbal signs the employee shows. They can approach employees on perceived concerns and resolve them. And in one-on-ones together, they should ask questions that reveal what is going right and identify things that are wrong. A manager’s support and action to correct things will speak volumes to a new employee.

2. Lessen the info-dump. Onboarding is a fine art of gauging how much instruction and information to give. Organizations have to follow the “Goldilocks principle” of finding the right balance, so it is “just right.” Some tips:

  • Try not to overwhelm new employees with too much information. Provide sufficient details to get them started and show them where to go to access needed information on demand.
  • Work with HR to show new hires how to access materials for learning things at preferred times.
  • Have managers schedule weekly videoconference meetings to help employees connect and learn to trust their new manager.
  • Don’t make onboarding come across as an event. Do your best to integrate the onboarding learning into regular work schedules. New staff are eager to get working, so position onboarding as a welcome break and spread it out.
  • Engage new employees by personalizing any training they receive.
  • If you have to facilitate onboarding for remote employees, ensure all technology and security details have been set up properly for them to function. Orient new staff to whatever Web-based collaborative platform the organization uses to access pertinent documentation on demand. Use microlearning content so they can fit in bite-size orientation into their day.

3.Help them adjust to the new culture. New hires should learn the organization’s mission, vision, and values. Online recognition programs can reward employees for living the values. Social badges can be used to honor people who show behaviors consistent with organizational values.

Organizations need to explain how meetings are run and the social etiquette around communications, and help new hires learn the lay of the land. It’s worthwhile for managers to assign a peer ambassador for new hires as they often can be a more available resource to the new employee than their manager. And this peer can introduce them to many co-workers, allowing them to make more connections.

Onboarding new hires takes guidance and acclimation. It is about thinking about what you would want if you were starting out as a new employee. Here’s to new beginnings!

Roy Saunderson, MA, CRP
Roy Saunderson, MA, CRP, is author of “Practicing Recognition” and Chief Learning Officer at Rideau Recognition Solutions. His consulting and learning skills focus on helping companies “give real recognition the right way wherever they are.” For recognition insights, visit: For more information, e-mail him at: or visit: