Navigating the Challenges of Onboarding New Employees

Jul 21, 2023

Effective employee onboarding is essential for company success. You introduce the employee to the details of their role, the processes they will follow, and their responsibilities. Onboarding also gives you a chance to familiarize new employees with company culture.

Onboarding seems simple. However, ineffective planning can lead to problems. The Human Capital Institute (HCI) points out that as many as 20% of new hires leave within 45 days. As a result, companies will spend 90% to 200% of a quitting employee’s annual salary to recruit, hire, and train a replacement. Although turnover affects all companies, it’s especially influential in the transportation industry. New employees need specific qualifications and training before they join the fleet, after all.

Clear plans for hiring and onboarding can help your company limit employee turnover. It will also give employees the insights and support necessary to embrace their roles.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s necessary for effective employee onboarding.

Understanding the common obstacles in new employee onboarding

Companies face specific challenges when onboarding. Some lack clear training processes for specific roles. A survey by Paychex found that 52% of new employees feel under-prepared after onboarding. Out of those surveyed, 80% planned to leave the job soon, even though they had only just been hired.

As prevalent of an issue as turnover is, you must at all potential sources that prompt employees to leave. Here are a couple of problems that you’ll want to address to solve this issue.

Adjusting to company culture

Company culture has more of an impact on job satisfaction than any other factor. Even if employees receive the proper training for their daily responsibilities, they may still want to leave if they don’t feel attached to your company culture. They may even feel like outsiders. Further, the rise of remote and hybrid work arrangements complicates cultural integration.

To address this issue, include information about the company’s values and history in onboarding materials. After this introduction, you might consider giving new employees a peer mentor. This employee’s job is to provide insights into workplace culture and help answer questions informally.

Also, include new hires in team-building exercises and mix the teams to include both new and existing employees. These activities can help new workers get hands-on experience in company culture.

Managing information overload

Information overload is often a problem during onboarding. Employers often introduce new processes and expectations to employees quickly. Their primary goal is to get employees to work, where they can begin being productive.

However, the introduction of all this new information can lead to confusion. New hires who aren’t able to absorb all this information may feel unprepared after training.

Your company can adopt a slower pace and give employees hands-on experience with each new process during onboarding. Again, their mentor can also come in handy here. They can offer informal advice during the first weeks.

Finally, have a platform for new employees to ask questions. They can seek clarification easily without interrupting other employees’ duties. You can also use information gateways to collect data and provide constructive feedback. Such insights enable new workers to make improvements as they become familiar with their jobs.

Clarifying roles and expectations

Employees often feel confused about expectations. Because it can take an average of three to six months before an employee feels comfortable in their role, many employees may feel unprepared on their first day. Others say the actual expectations did not match the job description.

This issue may be due to poor communication during hiring. It could also come from a lack of planning for onboarding. Your company may have generic descriptions for jobs. However, these might not include specifics for each role.

Without this clarity, employees may be unsure where to focus their efforts. They may have to stop work to seek information from peers or managers. According to surveys like the one from PayChex, many will simply give up on the job.

In addition to clearly defining roles and expectations, you can offer hands-on training. This step allows employees to learn expectations and processes in a low-pressure environment.

Leveraging tools and technologies for efficient onboarding

Planning and clarity are important for effective onboarding. You should also rely on technology to support training for new employees. These tools can provide additional support that you can build on with face-to-face interaction and training.

Digital onboarding tools

Digital platforms play two important roles in onboarding. First, they provide a chance for new employees to understand expectations, processes, and culture. They can study these concepts on their own. You can then build on and reinforce these concepts during the face-to-face portion of onboarding.

Certain technology features can also assist with training. For instance, a transportation company can use onboard sensors and analytics to train drivers’ behaviors. In this example, drivers would have a chance to correct their mistakes in real time as they learn their routes.

Interactive training methods

Interactive training allows employees to practice the processes they will use in their work every day.

For instance, a trucking company can use analytics to assess driver safety during training. The technology allows managers to see data on speed and other safety metrics. They can use this information to tailor future training for each driver.

Best practices in training and onboarding

The best onboarding and training methods can vary by industry. Your company needs to tailor the process to include your specific processes, culture, and protocols. Carefully plan each step of onboarding to ensure clarity and provide hands-on training.

Take the trucking industry, for example. You will want to focus on safety practices, driver expectations, and route planning processes. You can conduct onboarding and then go through a cycle of training, assessment, and corrections. Once prepared, the employees can comfortably take their position in the company.

You can then ask for feedback from employees after onboarding. They can provide insights that will help fine-tune future training and increase employee satisfaction.

Customized training programs for fleet staff

Trucking companies need specialized training programs. Drivers, dispatchers, and managers should coordinate activities and use a fleet management platform. With this platform, They should have a chance to practice this role in a training environment. And, you can implement systems to provide feedback and allow communication after they begin work.

Safety and compliance training

A trucking company can use electronic logging devices (ELDs) and analytics software to measure driver speed, braking, and maneuvering. This data helps drivers and managers ensure compliance with safety standards during training. Then, the proper procedures will be second nature by the time the driver leaves the training environment and takes loads on the road.

ELDs also assist with compliance requirements. For instance, the device logs behind-the-wheel times. This is necessary to abide by hours of service (HOS) laws, which require drivers to rest for 10 hours after 14 hours on duty.

Building a foundation for long-term success

Effective onboarding improves performance and employee retention. The Human Capital Institute found that quality, experience-driven onboarding improved employee retention by 82% and productivity by 70%. These benefits give you a reason to plan and continuously improve training for new hires carefully.

In addition to employee feedback, you can look at key performance indicators (KPIs) like employee retention rate and length of employment to gauge the success of onboarding strategies.

By assessing these factors, you can receive a better gauge of your onboarding process. More than that, you can look at your company as a whole for improvement.

Time to move forward with managed technology

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