Onboarding is intended to go beyond the traditional employee orientation, where managers and new hires spend anywhere from a few hours to one day covering company policies and completing required paperwork.
In today's environment, an onboarding strategy should provide new hires with all of this information, plus immerse them in the restaurant's culture, and provide the tools and resources to ramp up their productivity and confidence. It's a big task, but a well-designed strategy allows employers to reap the benefits just as much as employees.
Research by Glassdoor shows that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by more than 70 percent. That's definitely a worthwhile venture! So if you haven't yet designed your onboarding strategy or are looking to revamp it, it's best to start with the ABCs — Acknowledge, Be, Commit.
Acknowledge Learning Happens in Many Ways
The most successful onboarding strategies utilize a multi-prong approach, incorporating everything from face-to-face discussions and e-learning to hands-on training and mentoring. This expansive approach not only breaks up the monotony and drudgery of learning new tasks, policies, and procedures, but it also shifts employees from passive listeners to more active participants.
And having a mix of strategies means you're more likely to encompass all of the different learning styles, keeping your team motivated and engaged and making the training more effective as a result.
The most common types of learning styles, often referred to as VARK, include:
- Visual: These learners prefer to see and process information through imagery. Graphs, charts, maps, diagrams, and videos are recommended.
- Aural: These learners like to hear information presented as opposed to reading or viewing it. Participating in discussions, reading aloud, and having audio recordings available to refer to later are all great options for them.
- Reading/Writing: These learners feel more comfortable and engaged when reading written material and they often also find writing down notes helps them retain information. Having print or digital copies available of all written material, preferably with a dedicated space to jot down notes, will click with this group.
- Kinesthetic: These learners thrive in environments offering hands-on learning, activities, and experiences. Anything that encourages them to move and get out of their seats — role playing, moving through different simulations, and walk-throughs — will be beneficial.
While many people may have a prominent learning style, it is more likely that they connect with material in a number of ways. Try to incorporate several learning styles to expand the material's reach as opposed to catering to just one specific style.
Be an Ambassador
Onboarding should be an experience — one that is memorable, inclusive, and fosters feelings of excitement and exclusivity among new hires.
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