How Long Does Employee On-boarding Take?

Modern employee on-boarding entails instructing new employees not only on corporate procedures and expectations, but on company language as well. Learning how to use their new employer’s software is obviously important, but if an employee doesn’t grasp the nuances of what their boss is asking them to do in the first place, such proficiency ends up being rather useless.

With that in mind, how long should companies expect thorough employee on-boarding to take? Basic orientation is straightforward enough provided a company has an employee onboarding checklist and offers in-depth training materials, but the time it takes to fully integrate a new employee into the company’s culture – including its language – depends on a number of factors.

Addressing Skill Gaps

Unsurprisingly, the length of the on-boarding process is determined by a new employee’s current competencies. Just about every employee shows up on Day 1 with a “proficiency gap,” that is, a gap between where their skills and knowledge are and where they need to be.

As uncomfortable a truth as it may be, the average employee only operates with around 70% competence with respect to their company’s technical software. Most employees learn to use basic and intermediate features, but they don’t often surpass this mid-level competence threshold. As such, it’s important to remember that on-boarding need not turn new employees into experts overnight. It only needs to provide them with the fundamentals they need to succeed.

The average employee only operates with around 70% competence with respect to their company’s technical software.

Streamlining HR

Of course, the best way to streamline on-boarding and get your employees working as quickly as possible is to set up organized and efficient procedures. This is especially true when it comes to HR operations. Nothing prevents hitting the ground running quite like spending your first day or two on the job filling out pages upon pages of forms unrelated to your actual work.

Luckily, technology like authorized digital signatures and secure cloud-based data storage enable HR departments to execute their duties virtually. It’s no longer unusual for an employee to be totally squared away with HR prior to even setting foot in the office.

Patience, Patience, Patience

Ultimately, it takes three to six months on average to bring an employee fully up to speed, though hires with experience at direct competitors using similar systems, policies, and procedures may take less time. Formal training will be much shorter, but companies must accept that proper on-boarding entails far more than just “showing someone the ropes.”

In the end, good on-boarding reinforces a company’s bottom line by minimizing costs associated with re-training, failed hires, and dissatisfied clients. Ongoing, deliberately-paced training requires a certain amount of oversight, but with a powerful and flexible learning management system, companies can rest assured that their on-boarding processes are as efficient and effective as possible.

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