Training Top 125 Best Practice: Fusion Onboarding at Paycor

The eight-week blended training program consists of 120 learning modules that can be customized based on each of 18 Client Services roles. The modular structure gives each department the flexibility to pick and choose which sessions are applicable to its associates and “fuse” their learning journey.

Business and HR solutions firm Paycor’s significant growth in the last fiscal year uncovered a need to build a holistic, sustainable onboarding training program for its Client Services department. Learning & Performance (L&P) knew this would be a challenge as Client Services consists of many different roles—18 of which were in scope for this program. L&P engaged with an external vendor to complete a needs analysis for each role and create a design recommendation. Over a period of four months, L&P worked closely with the Client Services Leadership Team, which included directors and the chief service officer, to shape the onboarding program design. This resulted in an eight-week blended training program consisting of 120 learning modules that can be customized based on each role. 

Program Details

The modular structure to this program gives each department the flexibility to pick and choose which sessions are applicable to its associates and “fuse” their learning journey—that’s why the program was named “Fusion.”

The delivery of the program is as follows:

  • Weeks 1-4: Instructor-led training (ILT)/virtual instructor-led training (VILT), e-learning courses, cross-functional shadowing, on-the-job shadowing with an onboarding ambassador, debriefing, weekly assessments, manager reinforcement meetings
  • Weeks 5-8: A three-day cadence is repeated throughout these four weeks:

Day 1: Instructor-led training; associate learns the content.

Day 2: Guided practice; associate completes tasks learned in the classroom with his or her onboarding ambassador present as a safety net.

Day 3: Debriefing session; associate brings his or her experiences on-the-job back to the classroom to discuss and teach back to the group.

The three-day cadence of “learn, do, teach” provides associates with reinforcement after they learn and apply the fresh knowledge from training. The debriefing sessions enable knowledge-sharing within the cohort, while the teach-back forum helps reinforce the concepts learned in the classroom and experience the nuanced situations that are difficult to replicate in the classroom. The self-paced learning saves time and creates flexibility within the eight-week schedule. 

The development of the Fusion program consisted of a combination between third-party development, instructional designer contractors, Paycor internal instructional designers, learning consultants, subject matter experts (SMEs) within the business, and managers of the 18 roles. Deliverables included:

  • Instructor-led training materials such as PowerPoints, Facilitator Guides, and Participant Guides
  • New Hire Field Guides that help new hires manage their onboarding program and activities; these include worksheets to assist with job shadows, weekly worksheets to complete during their one-on-ones with their manager, and checklists to keep them on track.
  • Manager and Onboarding Ambassador Field Guides
  • E-Learning Courses
  • Assessments 
  • Homework
  • Communications to new hires, managers, onboarding ambassadors, and other stakeholders


L&P implemented the Fusion program through an iterative process. The first of the new modules were introduced in July 2017, and the final module was completed and implemented in June 2018. Results include:

  • In just one year, the Fusion onboarding program increased retention of associates with less than one year of tenure by 9.2 percent. 
  • Because of this training, Client Services engagement scores increased 22 percent from March 2016 to March 2018 specifically regarding the question, “I get the formal training I want for my career.” 
  • The ramp-up time for new associates decreased by 25 percent. New hires now are outperforming their peers by their third month on the job, where it took six months in previous years.

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