New Hire Training: Accelerate Learning, Increase Retention & Reduce Costs

In 2014, the average spend per new hire was $4,000. That’s up 7% from last year. With the race for talent in full swing, employers are looking for the best talent to acquire, quickly train, and retain in order to optimize costs. So how can you increase knowledge retention and decrease training time for new hires while also improving employee satisfaction?

To keep new hires engaged and motivated during employee training plans, more and more companies are turning to blended learning, which combines several different educational mediums to improve knowledge retention and speed up the learning process. Blended learning as part of the new hire training typically consists of formal and informal learning approaches.

Here are six key points for you to consider as you think through the best new hire training options for your company.

1. Engage your audience. Studies have shown that learners tend to retain less than 60 percent of what they hear after 30 minutes, and this retention rate drops to 15 percent after three weeks. However, visual examples and video improve this rate significantly. Extend training beyond orientation with facilitated formats like dialogue, mentorship, online training and other multimedia forms to ensure your training will be impactful and easy to remember.

2. Consider using software. Software can connect learners and trainers in a facilitated learning environment to accelerate speed to competency while increasing knowledge retention. Automating your extended training programs can also make it faster and simpler to monitor programs. Choose one with progress tracking and program effectiveness metrics, which make it easy to calculate your ROI.

3. Personalize the learning journey. Every new employee possesses different experiences and backgrounds, so holding a one-size-fits-all training for everyone isn’t effective . People also learn in different ways, which is why software that tailors the learning to each person’s skills, experiences, interests, and needs can be much more effective as a way to keep employees motivated.

4. Divide and conquer. Learning all of the information necessary for a new job can be overwhelming. Think about the information being presented and how it can be split into smaller, more manageable chunks. Also consider how it can be presented in different formats, like classroom training or coaching sessions. Incentives like learning goals and milestones are also ways to continue motivating employees as they continue throughout the training.

5. Immediate application. As mentioned in the first point, people tend to forget what they’ve learned. Integrating online learning, application, and coaching through immediate, real-life practice will help cement newly acquired information. Most new hires are excited about using their newly learned information to do a great job, so try pairing as many sessions as possible with the opportunity to try the skills their job will require.

6. Don’t forget the management. You may be excited about implementing your program for new employees, but you should also remember to train your managers on coaching. Success starts with them, and they’ll also have to know how to utilize this new way of learning. According to a 2012 study by Bersin, companies with excellent cultural support for coaching had 13% stronger business results and 39% stronger employee results than those with no or weak support for coaching.

It may be intimidating to revamp your company’s entire training program. But after switching to blended learning, companies like Intel have discovered a 60% reduction of time away from the job and an impressive ROI of 157%. Other studies have shown that companies that fail to train their employees are more than three times as likely to lose them.

Give your new hires a favorable impression of your company with training that’s tailored to their learning style and watch it pay off through decreased time away from the job and increased knowledge retention. Blended learning is making waves throughout the HR world because when done right, it combines efficiency with increased employee satisfaction—a true example of a win-win situation and one your company should consider.

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