In many organizations, onboarding new hires is like throwing someone into the deep end of the pool and hoping they know how to swim.
Some flail around helplessly while others adapt quickly – but even Olympic swimmers need proper training before diving in.
Regardless of their background or experience, they need more than just a generic orientation packet on day one if you expect them to thrive.
The same applies to contact centre employees – regardless of their background or experience, they need more than just a generic orientation packet on day one if you expect them to thrive.
A thoughtful, well-designed induction programme makes all the difference between reps who sink and those who swim in the ever-changing waters of customer service.
So, toss the boring handbook and PowerPoints and let’s talk about how you can onboard new recruits in our modern digital age.
Here, Carolyn Blunt, VP Davies Academy at Davies, shares 10 tips to transform your induction training from a dry snooze-fest to an engaging experience that sets your newbies up for success, reduces attrition, and boosts performance. Let’s get into it.
1. Assign New Hire Buddies
Pair each new recruit with an experienced rep to guide them through those bumpy first months. Newbies need someone they can turn to for advice, feedback, and moral support when tackling unfamiliar tasks.
It also builds camaraderie and helps them feel welcomed. Choose buddies or mentors who are patient, engaging, and passionate about helping newcomers thrive.
2. Get the CEO and Other Senior Managers Involved
First impressions matter. Have team leaders and senior managers participate in orientation sessions to reinforce the importance of training.
This shows new starters they’re valued and demonstrates the company’s commitment to their development from day one. Leaders can share insights, advice, and their own onboarding experiences.
3. Get Feedback From Recent New Hires
Don’t just ask new starters how training went on day one. Follow up after 30/60/90 days on the job and get unfiltered feedback on their onboarding experience.
Ask what prepared them well or what was lacking. Survey new cohorts every quarter to spot programme gaps and identify areas for improvement. This input helps continuously enhance your induction training.
4. Update Training Materials Regularly
You wouldn’t rely on a 10-year-old map to navigate a newly renovated city. The same goes for contact centre training materials – they need constant updates to stay relevant in today’s fast-changing landscape.
Refresh your new hire programme at least annually to keep information, best practices, tools, and processes current.
Outdated materials full of obsolete information will only confuse new recruits and leave knowledge gaps that negatively impact performance down the road. Make it a priority to review and revise all training elements every 6-12 months.
5. Make Training More Interactive
Sitting through endless PowerPoint slides, videos, and lectures is the quickest way to lull new recruits into a coma. Mix it up by incorporating games, role-playing, hands-on exercises, and friendly team competitions to get trainees engaged and practising skills.
Interactive activities break up the monotony, boost energy levels, and help reinforce concepts through active application. Let newbies get hands-on instead of just being talked at.
For ideas on creating and running successful induction programmes, read our article: Clever Ideas for Induction Programmes
6. Set Clear Expectations Upfront
First-day nerves are a very real thing. Reduce newbie anxiety by clearly laying out policies, performance metrics, incentives, goals, and expected behaviours on day one.
Eliminate uncertainty about what’s required and expected of them. This prevents misunderstandings down the road and gets them ramped up quicker. Be transparent from the start so they know how to succeed.
7. Use Blended Learning Approaches
Variety is the spice of training! Use a mix of learning formats like e-learning modules, instructor-led sessions, coaching, reference materials, online forums, etc…
Appeal to different learning styles by letting newbies learn through reading, listening, watching, discussing and doing. Self-paced options also enable them to revisit material down the line.
We’ve also got some more great practical advice on induction training in our article: Top Tips for Induction Training Programmes
8. Make Training Fun and Engaging
Let’s be honest – learning is more effective when it’s fun! Use games, friendly competitions, humour, prizes, and real-world examples to liven things up.
Upbeat activities get new hires energized and motivated to learn. Laughter and camaraderie also help them connect with colleagues. Just try to avoid some of the more “cringe” team-building activities – keep it light and relevant.
9. Partner With Apprenticeship Providers
Want to really boost induction results? Offer apprenticeships. These structured programmes combine on-the-job training with classroom learning over 12-24 months. New recruits gain job-specific skills and accredited qualifications under the guidance of mentors.
The good news is that many apprenticeship programmes are funded via the levy. This means that there is a good chance that your biggest investment will be mentor time.
The payoff? Highly trained, qualified employees are less likely to leave after completing their apprenticeship. For contact centres struggling to utilize levy funds, this is a strategic way to develop talent. Why not reach out to apprenticeship providers to discover your options?
10. Incorporate Ongoing Assessments
Absorbing tons of information all at once is hard. Reinforce retention with regular quizzes, observations, and refreshers after onboarding ends.
Don’t just train newbies on day one then leave them on their own. Assess comprehension and identify knowledge gaps throughout the first month to ensure key concepts stick. Refresher mini-training gets everyone on the same page too.
Overhaul That Snooze-Fest Into an Engaging Programme
At the end of the day, a solid induction programme is like rolling out the red carpet for your newbies. It makes them feel welcomed and valued, sets clear expectations, builds critical skills, and kicks off their ongoing development journey.
But you can’t just train them on day one and then toss them the keys – it requires continuous enhancement based on regular feedback.
By keeping your onboarding engaging, hands-on, and up to date, you’ll reduce attrition and equip reps to serve customers brilliantly from the start.
They’ll swim instead of sink. So brew up a fresh pot of coffee, gather your new-hire materials, and let’s overhaul that snooze-fest into a programme that engages new recruits right from the get-go.
Written by: Carolyn Blunt, VP Davies Academy at Davies
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