Taking The Bored Out Of Onboarding

Blog: Building better learner engagement and success during onboarding

As a dedicated trainer, life-long competitor, and Wisconsin resident, I know a few things. First, solid onboarding needs commitment backed by a solid plan. Second, creativity and a little competition promote an engaging learning experience. And third, cheese is king, and the Packers rule!

Below are some ideas and actions that work for my team when we welcome new talent. These methods are a great mix that, in our experience, keeps the newbies on their toes and engaged.

Leadership support

Before anyone new steps in the door, ensure the new hire has full leadership support before, during, and after the onboarding process. This support means having management approve all materials and sessions. Part of feeling welcome is seeing the different departments interact productively.

It’s highly beneficial to involve every department in the company so the employee can get a complete feel for the company, how they will interact with each department in their role, and how things flow through the different departments.

Learner engagement


It doesn’t matter if you are onboarding remotely or in person. In today’s day and age, integrating technology into your training is essential. This technology includes video calls, screen sharing, and interactive tasks like surveys.

Tools that are traditionally made for K-12 or higher education purposes, like standardized testing and defined learning objectives, are valuable to use in onboarding since they have years of development to support successful learning outcomes.

Skill drills

When training on software or internal tools, the trainer should monitor the employee’s screen while they perform these tasks. The trainer can then provide real-time feedback.

One method is a classroom training session where the learner reviews the content independently and reports back what they have ascertained from the materials. This provides an excellent opportunity for instant feedback and an open dialog about the curriculum. The trainee and trainer will likely learn something, which is always a plus.


Creating opportunities for friendly competition during onboarding helps promote the company culture. When handling more than one new hire during an onboarding schedule, it’s good to include some fun and friendly games between the new hires.

For instance, you could include a trivia-based game at the end of the week, including questions on topics they have learned throughout the week. The contest could consist of questions on training processes, company org charts, department information, etc.

Even if there is only one new hire, something like a scavenger hunt can help familiarize them with the office and offer interaction with different employees.


Overall, it is essential to have clear expectations set for your new hires. A fully detailed daily schedule is of the utmost importance. This itinerary will set expectations and a level of comfort; there will be no surprises.

As for tasks, print out the clear objectives and expectations for any session. For example, in the classroom session mentioned above, let them know they will be asked what they have learned upon completing their material review.

Lastly, the training team should frequently evaluate the onboarding content to ensure it is current and effective. If anything is no longer relevant, it needs to be changed.

For anyone, it is hard to remain engaged and focused when you are not sure what to do. This is especially true of new hires. Offering a well-structured, thoughtful, and welcoming onboarding experience is a great way to get your new hires started on a productive path.

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