A successful and engaged workforce is the foundation of any organization. Yet finding the most effective way to get new employees up and running is often a challenge.
The training of new employees is not the same process for everyone. Organizations can incorporate multiple training methods and topics to ensure that all new employees receive the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools.
This blog will guide you through creating a new hire training program for frontline employees.
Last update: June 14, 2022
Table of Contents
What is a new hire training plan?
A new hire training program ensures that the new employee is prepared for their new role through training.
It is a collection of educational materials and activities designed to help new employees learn more about their roles and responsibilities.
A new hire training plan contains practical information such as company policies, procedures, and tasks. But it also contains more abstract components such as an introduction to workplace culture, company goals, company vision, and team dynamics.
Why is a training program so important?
A well-structured training program is critical to making new employees feel comfortable in their new roles.
A common mistake (that even the most successful companies make) is not formally training new employees.
For example, the program ensures that:
- Employees become involved in the organization within a short period of time;
- The time it takes for new employees to become productive is significantly reduced.
Far too often, organizations lie to themselves, claiming employees only ‘learn by doing,’ and then wonder why a third of the staff leave within the first six months.
What is the difference between training and onboarding?
Contrary to what many people think, training and onboarding are two separate, non-exchangeable things. Onboarding is the bigger picture.
The goal of an onboarding program is to build a bond between the organization and employees within the first 90 days of employment.
Training, however, is more about the details and is part of the onboarding process. It relates to the technical details or tasks of the job, such as procedures and skills.
Examples of a training program for frontline employees
It is, of course, tempting to keep the training program as short as possible to ensure the employee’s productivity quickly. Yet it is better to spread the training period over a somewhat longer time.
That doesn’t mean that the employee starts their work activities late. Training on the job is particularly effective for acquiring a lot of knowledge and skills in a relatively short period of time.
The translation from theory to practice is done almost automatically; the employee is present at the workplace and can, if necessary, ask questions to the buddy.
Don’t forget to address the individual needs and desires of the new employee. In our format, we take a period of 4 weeks, but this is not cast in stone. A good training program is always customized.
If the position is more complex, or if someone needs more intensive guidance, it is, of course, perfectly fine to take a little longer to familiarize the employee with their new role.
The important thing is that the goal is achieved: a well-instructed, productive employee who feels completely at home in the position and organization.
Week 1: A fresh start
Ensure the new employee ‘lands’ properly during the first week with a warm welcome and the first real introduction to the organization and colleagues. Therefore, pay attention to the following components:
1.1 Welcomed by the manager and/or buddy
Give the employee a fixed point of contact during the induction period and afterwards. This can be the manager, but appointing an experienced colleague as a buddy is often even better.
For the average employee, it is easier to ask questions of a colleague, and the introduction to other colleagues also tends to go just a little more smoothly.
1.2 Welcome packet and working materials:
The employee must have company clothing, keys, or access passes immediately available and, depending on the industry and role, any protective equipment (e.g., work boots).
Have login codes for the social intranet, timekeeping, cash register, and security systems ready. A name tag is also a good addition should this be a requirement.
1.3 Tailoring new hire training program
Be clear about the duration and content of your staff training program. If you opt to train employees on the job, it is good to indicate what is expected of the employee at what time. When is presence and productivity at the workplace desired, and when is there room for self-study or theory?
Starting a new job is intensive. Therefore, do not overwhelm the employee immediately with an overloaded program; instead, incorporate sufficient rest moments.
Should the employee indicate a need for specific information that has not yet been included in the program, now is the time to adjust the agenda accordingly.
1.4 Introducing new employees to colleagues
Report the employee’s arrival in good time on the internal communication platform, preferably with a photo, so that the new face is quickly recognized in the corridors and canteen.
In addition, it is a good idea to create one or more live meeting moments during the first week. For example, in addition to the obligatory tour of the building and grounds, organize a joint lunch, a Friday afternoon drink, or other informal activities with colleagues.
1.5 Evaluation moment
The buddy checks in at the end of the first week to see how the new colleague is doing. How did they get acquainted with the organization, the work, and their colleagues?
If there are any pressing questions or bottlenecks, action must be taken on them as soon as possible.
Week 2: Further rooting
The first steps have been taken. The new employee will go to work more confidently by the second week, perhaps even with some routine already in place.
Now it’s time for the first in-depth course. In the second week, the following sections of the onboarding checklist can be addressed:
2.1 Training product knowledge
The employee starts the first training based on the services and products of the organization. Try to align the training as much as possible with the new employee’s already existing knowledge and experience to avoid creating unnecessary ballast or wasting time.
Don’t make it too heavy; use plenty of visuals to keep the training light and understandable, and employ gamification to test the knowledge at the end of each module.
By offering the training digitally through an e-learning app or using blended learning, you provide an opportunity to go over the material again at a later time.
2.2 Safety Training
If the employee encounters risky situations on the job, it is essential to pay attention to this before they actually enter the workplace. Give clear instructions on what to do in particular situations, such as theft, fire, or robbery.
Again, a picture says more than a hundred words, so make it visual.
Today, almost every job has technical aspects. Stock control, cash register systems, time registration, or operating machines require specific technical or automation knowledge.
Take enough time to show the employee the way. For example, a live introduction to the system and online manuals that are easy to access on the phone is necessary.
2.4 Consultation manager
Schedule an individual consultation with the supervisor midway through the second week. To deepen the mutual acquaintance and keep a finger on the pulse of the new employee.
Is everything still going according to plan, or does the introduction program need to be adjusted? How is the cooperation with the buddy going? Is there a good connection?
How does the absence procedure work, are there dress codes, and how do you address the customer? Introduce the employee to the company culture.
This is also an important part of the training period to ensure someone becomes part of the team as soon as possible.
Week 3: Increasingly productive
Meanwhile, the new colleague will start working increasingly independently, observing and accompanying others shifts to taking up a fully-fledged place in the team.
Nevertheless, the settling-in process is not quite over. It can be pleasant and necessary to occasionally fall back on the knowledge and experience of the buddy. The frontline training program for this week may look like this:
3.1 The organization
A company video containing a brief introduction to the organization should not be missing from the introduction. It immediately gives an idea of the ‘why’ of the organization, the organizational structure, and the company vision.
Do not forget to mention the occupational health and safety service and confidential counselor.
Incorporate assessment moments, both online and in practice, to gauge the employee’s knowledge and personal experiences.
Does the employee know what is expected? Is there sufficient product and system knowledge to be able to work with? And, almost as important, is there a match with the organization, and do they feel welcome?
3.3 Evaluation Moment
The supervisor discusses the outcome of the assessment with the employee. Is there a need for more intensive supervision or additional training, or does the employee not yet feel completely comfortable in the new work environment? Provide additional training or schedule additional individual meetings.
3.4 Explanation of (secondary) employment conditions and provisions
The first paycheck is coming up. A perfect time for a clear explanation of the collective labor agreement, the payslip, pension provisions, travel expenses scheme, code of conduct, and other HR-related topics.
Sharing of knowledge online through videos can, of course, be done, but a personal check-in with one of the HR colleagues is often considered pleasant.
Week 4: Stay or go?
After four weeks, it is usually clear whether there is a good match between the employee and the organization. Be conscious of this by evaluating the past weeks together and looking ahead.
What future prospects are there for the employee, and how can these be shaped? Discuss the following points during this week:
4.1 Probationary period meeting
The supervisor, together with the employee, evaluates the mutual experiences. Does the employee meet the expectations, and, equally important, does the organization meet the employee’s needs?
If there are unexpected doubts or dissatisfaction, don’t beat about the bush – discuss how the employment contract can be brought to a good end. If there are prospects for the future, the other points on the checklist will also come into play.
4.2 Personal Development Plan
Record the employee’s ambitions in a PDP and discuss what training and career development opportunities are available within the organization. Are there any educational or training courses that could be taken up in the near future?
4.3 Completion of new hire training program
The buddy checks whether the employee may have questions that need to be answered at this time. Content evaluation of the new hire training program can provide useful input for the path of other new employees.
Consider employee surveys to evaluate the onboarding process.
4.4 Scheduling contact moments
Don’t assume too easily that the employee is firmly in place and remains motivated. It is no superfluous luxury for both manager and employee to take the time for a joint evaluation moment at least once every quarter.
Is the employee still comfortable in their position and the team, is there a need for additional training or support, or are there any bottlenecks?
Personal development never stops
Naturally, the learning process does not end after the new hire training program is completed. In fact: if all goes well, personal development never stops. If someone comes to a standstill, sustainable employability and opportunities on the job market are soon over.
Which training courses are relevant depends on the person and their position. Through e-learning (or microlearning) modules, you can easily offer personalized and interactive digital training, enabling the continuous development of your employee in their career.
How to facilitate a training program for your frontline
To maintain employee engagement and motivation throughout the new hire training program, you need to show them its value, demonstrate a clear connection between training and career development, and illustrate how this can make them successful in their work.
Try to keep the format as simple as possible; long-winded training sessions that require your new employee to study handouts and manuals will not work.
Oneteam’s employee app with an onboarding module makes it easy to create engaging and interactive training sessions, including quizzes and explanatory videos. Discover how Oneteam can help you make your new employees successful from day one.