Underestimating the Importance of Training in Onboarding

For many construction companies, the onboarding and orientation processes are among the administrative complexities often hurried once a candidate is hired. Yet, construction companies are missing an opportunity to provide formalized organizational and job-specific training during the onboarding process. While orientation for most companies can mean an overview of the company’s history, tour of the facilities, and a safety course, early-formalized onboarding training is a better way to understand a company’s business objectives and culture in the context of a new hire’s job responsibilities.

An unfortunate reality is that too many companies devalue the significance of training as part of the onboarding process, or perceive training as an expense that should be minimized rather than an investment into an employee’s success and longevity within the organization. Additionally, on-the-job training provided by coworkers or supervisors is done in a time-strapped environment where key information may be missing. Another constraint is not providing training material an employee can use for reference after the initial informal training.

With an acute labor shortage prevalent in our industry, the onboarding and orientation processes should be thought of as critical components of employee engagement and retention that can be leveraged as a strategic advantage. These processes are the first in-depth introduction to an organization, should be well structured, and include both input and participation from all areas of an organization. Onboarding should incorporate both organizational training (i.e., strategic mission, business objectives, organizational values, etc.), as well as specific job training (e.g., safety, software solutions, process training, etc.).

Offering both types of training will provide a more holistic view of a company to a new hire, as well as their job responsibilities. To begin this process, HR representatives should initiate a systematic approach that includes meeting with representatives from each functional area to review both the job responsibilities for each position, and the training needed to be successful in both the short- and long-term, as well as understanding company drivers that are particularly meaningful for those positions. This will allow a new hire to understand their role within the organizational framework, placing them in the best position to succeed, and lead to higher levels of employee engagement.

Ultimately, developing a formalized training program for use during the onboarding process can be a significant outlay of time and potential expense. But, it will prove to be a worthwhile investment that will improve productivity and corporate culture in the long term by reinforcing to an employee their value to the organization.

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