Include Learning in your Onboarding Process

What is Onboarding?

Onboarding, oänˈbôrdiNG/


  1. the action or process of integrating a new employee into an organization or familiarizing a new customer or client with one’s products or services.


  1. go through procedures to effectively integrate (a new employee) into an organization or familiarize (a new customer or client) with one’s products or services.

As referenced in previous newsletters, fewer than 1 in 3 employees consider themselves engaged in their work. In fact, quite often lack of engagement is listed as the reason people leave their jobs.

And, as if that isn’t enough to be concerned about, according to a recent USA Today article regarding potential new hires, “A growing number (of new hires) are ‘ghosting’ their jobs: blowing off scheduled job interviews, accepting offers but not showing up the first day and even vanishing from existing positions – all without giving notice.”

Both of these trends, I believe, are reflective of current low unemployment rates, skill gaps, more opportunities for well-qualified candidates and a growing economy. One way to combat this is to have a robust onboarding process, that will help new employees quickly assimilate and become engaged, and perhaps become part of your new hire selection process to entice top talent to show up.

Since the first days on the job are important in the opinions a new employee forms, a good onboarding process is necessary. In fact, about 35% of American workers quit in the first 6 months. And more than 6 in 10 turnovers begin with some kind of post-hire event— for example, the employee realizes that the job or workplace wasn’t what they expected.1

According to SHRM, “a comprehensive (onboarding) process involving management and other employees can last up to 12 months.” Visit SHRM for some great resources for developing your onboarding process.

One part of the process that shouldn’t be overlooked is learning. The first days and weeks will give new employees a clear picture of your organization’s learning culture, and whether or not it’s the kind of place that encourages personal and professional development.

Modern learning opportunities greatly improve employees’ ability to connect with their roles and how their work impacts the organization. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Job seekers from entry-level to executive are more concerned with opportunities for learning and development than any other aspect of a prospective job.”

Your new hires are hungry to learn, so the way you train through onboarding should fit with what they see as effective on-the-job learning – which is definitely not making them click through hours-long PowerPoints for a week straight. The most effective onboarding experiences should be a blend of both in-person and online training.

Those aspects that talk about your company branding, products and services, values and mission, processes, etc. are a great example of things to go over in person within the first few days so new employees can ask questions then and there and start building a sense of connection with what your organization is all about.

Other aspects, like compliance training on various topics, whether it’s cybersecurity, safety, OSHA and HIPAA required training, those types of things – this training can be really effective when you provide up-to-date videos that break the content down into shorter topic areas, so you don’t end up with all that important information going in one ear and out the other.2 Our new BizLibrary platform can provide you with not only relevant, up-to-date learning, but also with the ability to create playlists to use in the your onboarding process.

Research shows that new hires who have taken part in structured onboarding with a positive employee experience in mind see higher job satisfaction and performance levels, lowered stress, boosted engagement, and more commitment to their employer. Companies with effective onboarding also see improved retention, and quicker time to productivity.

Make onboarding fun and remember…it’s a PROCESS not an EVENT!

1Preventing Burnout: The critical role of the supervisor,
2 Modern Onboarding to Accelerate New Hire Success, BizLibrary


To view previous stories, click here.

Jackie Messersmith is President and CEO of Talent Management LLC. Talent Management provides consulting services to small to mid-size businesses to put an employee engagement culture and talent strategy in place, and is the developer of Talent Snapshot®, an integrated, competency based, online talent management solutions. Jackie can be reached at 513-528-9700 or