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98% Retention: BELAY’s secrets to Training and Onboarding

Give your new employees exactly what they need to succeed from the start! This training plan checklist is a replica of the training plan we’ve used at BELAY to hire hundreds of full-time employees during our 10 years in business.

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About This Episode

As leaders, we often spend lots of time identifying a great candidate yet we overlook our responsibility to equip them. Finding a great person is half the battle. An unequipped employee will cost you more time, money, and stress.

 

In this episode, we are joined again by Krisha Buehler, BELAY’s VP of Human Resources. She’ll talk with us about how you can successfully onboard employees so they consistently and quickly add value to your organization.

1.  Make an extremely detailed training plan.

And we emphasize – extremely detailed. The one we use at BELAY lays out a plan for day by day, hour by hour, in a new team member’s first days. Meet in person, if possible. If not, remote is fine. And feel free to use our template to help you get on the right track. The main thing in developing a plan is to take out the guesswork and make sure every new employee goes through the same, consistent experience when they start with your company. 

2. It’s critical for new employees to meet the leaders of your organization.

This helps them see your leadership as approachable and allows leaders to communicate the vision and the “why” behind what you’re doing. The more leaders each team member can meet, the more each one will understand the company’s values and where the organization is headed. 

3. Create a culture of support and availability.

This is especially important with a remote company. You want new team members to feel like they have somewhere to turn when they have questions – and they will have questions. Whether it’s someone in HR, a peer, a team leader (or even all three) this helps them feel welcome and less like the new kid who can’t find the lunchroom on the first day of school. 

Do you currently have an onboarding plan? What does it look like? 
How can you change your onboarding plan to become more detailed (hint: take a look at the example provided by BELAY)?
What does the ideal first day look like for a new employee at your company?
Who are some of the people you lean in on to make sure new people feel welcome, and in what ways does each person help?

Training is an ongoing effort.

Krisha Buehler

The kind truth goes a long way.

Krisha Buehler

You've got to reward the good behavior and correct the behavior that you're not seeing.

Krisha Buehler

Get feedback, tweak, revise, do it again.

Krisha Buehler

Krisha Buehler on LinkedIn

Tricia Sciortino on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Lisa Zeeveld on Instagram and LinkedIn

BELAY’s staffing solutions

(04:13) You’ve hired a new employee. Now what?

(06:32) How do you get people to know each other via remote?

(10:17) How to use an e-learning system to help you onboard. 

(11:11) Inspect what you expect. 

(12:40) Getting acclimated and used to working remotely with new employees – and what the timeline looks like for doing so. 

(13:43) Create a culture of people being very supportive and available. 

(15:02) Your team member will only be as good as the investment of time you put into them. 

(15:41) If somebody isn’t getting it, tell them they aren’t getting it. Give the kind truth. 

(16:32) Differentiate between agreements and expectations – for the leader and the team member. 

(17:25) You must create a thoughtful, training checklist. 

(20:29) This week’s one next step: Create your standard training plan with help from our training plan checklist.

Krisha Buehler:

Let’s be real, training is an ongoing effort. It’s not even like as a new employee, after day 30 you’re done. You’re always learning and always training and always developing, and it’s our job, as leaders, to make sure that we are creating an environment and the tools necessary to do so.

Announcer:

Welcome to One Next Step, the most practical business podcast in the world, helping you get more done, grow your business and lead your team with confidence with tips and tools you didn’t get in business school. Here are your hosts, Tricia Sciortino and Lisa Zeeveld.

Tricia Sciortino:

Welcome to One Next Step, the practical business podcast that helps you run your business and make it stop running you, so you can enjoy your work and your life. I’m Tricia Sciortino, the CEO of BELAY.

Lisa Zeeveld:

And I’m Lisa Zeeveld, the COO of BELAY. Together we are T and LZ. We’ve known each other since 2005 and have worked together for a decade, growing a 100% remote business from startup to being recognized on the Inc5000 fastest growing companies list for six years running.

Tricia Sciortino:

LZ and I have learned a lot along the way, and we have made some great friends. For One Next Step, we’re inviting them on the podcast to bring you episodes filled with excellent content delivered by some talented people.

Lisa Zeeveld:

As leaders, we often spend a lot of time identifying a great candidate, yet we overlook our responsibility to equip them. Finding a great person is just half the battle. An unequipped employee will cost you more time, more money, and more stress.

Tricia Sciortino:

In this episode, we’ll be talking about how to successfully onboard and train new employees, and we’ll be joined again by Krisha Buehler, BELAY’s vice president of human resources. She is our culture cultivator on our team and has played a major role in helping us become an organization that has earned a spot in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Best Company Culture. She will help us set new team members up for success so they can quickly contribute to your organization.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Today, we’re going to discuss the issue and share a few tips on how you can successfully onboard employees so they can consistently and quickly add value to your organization.

Tricia Sciortino:

Now, enjoy part two of Krisha Buehler’s interview with us.

Tricia Sciortino:

We have Krisha Buehler back with us again. You may have, or should have, listened to our episode with her prior. She’s our vice president of human resources. We had a great, great conversation about interviewing and hiring remote employees.

Tricia Sciortino:

And it was such great information, we begged Krisha to come back with us because we have so much to talk about from there. So let’s pretend you all took all of her advice and maybe you hired yourself a brand new team member. Now what? The question becomes now what? How do I successfully onboard a new team member? So I’m excited to talk about that with you today, Krisha. Krisha, welcome again back to the podcast.

Krisha Buehler:

Hi. Thanks for having me back. So fun. So fun.

Tricia Sciortino:

I think people sometimes forget that finding the right person and hiring them and getting them to start is one thing, but then they’re here. They’re showing up to their first day, probably for us virtually, and it’s on us as the employer, the leaders, to set them up to succeed. It’s easy for employees to flounder and fail if we don’t set them up well. And so BELAY, we’ve kind of… And you and your team have really fine tune what it looks like to orientate remotely and train remotely so that people can go through a training program and feel like they’ve been successful.

Tricia Sciortino:

I’ve heard time and time again for new employees that work for our organization how impressed they were with the training that they received. I want to share that goodness with the world and with our listeners. I know there’s so many great nuggets on how to really onboard and train employees. I’m so excited to have you join us about that topic. Let’s just dive right into it.

Krisha Buehler:

Let’s do it.

Tricia Sciortino:

I’m just going to hand the floor over to you because there’s so much stuff. Tell us, where do you start?

Krisha Buehler:

Yeah, actually, it’s great to talk about this because it is one of the most common questions I get from candidates. They even want to know, “What’s my training going to look? How is this really going to work?” So to your point, we’ve had a lot of practice. We have made our mistakes. It’s given us a lot of opportunity to fine tune. One of the things that we do is… You probably will hear this time and time again on this podcast. We’re so intentional. Intentionality is something that we pride ourselves on, because we have to be.

Krisha Buehler:

First and foremost, a training plan is extremely detailed. We have a templated training plan for every position in this company. Probably something we can share, a template that you guys can see and it is…

Lisa Zeeveld:

Ooh, free resources.

Tricia Sciortino:

I see a download. I feel a download coming.

Krisha Buehler:

It is day by day, hour by hour. As a new employee, you know your first day at BELAY, you’re going to start out in orientation. If that can be in person, then we will do it in person. If you’re here in Atlanta and we can get together, then we will. Otherwise, even that orientation will be over the Zoom, remote. We will send you your care package, right? You’re welcome to BELAY, all your swag, your new hire books, your laptop, all the things. But otherwise, we’re going to get with you that first day, and we’re going to explain all the things.

Krisha Buehler:

We’re going to review your training plan that your leader has already put together. You open your inbox, you see that training plan, and you know, Monday, I’ve got X, Y, and Z to do. Tuesday, and that is typically a two and a half week long training plan. And then from there, it is even netted out further that you know when you’re out of that full on training what it’s going to look like day by day. We pull in your KPIs. We review what your job description is.

Krisha Buehler:

And so from there, we also make sure that you are meeting with a lot of different people throughout the organization, because you guys, we’re remote. How else do you kind of bring people into the team, let them know each other? Well, we do that by setting up Zoom calls. You’re going to introduce them to different people around the organization. Why don’t you guys share even what you do? As our officers in the company, you schedule time with them to get to know them, right?

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes. Yes. I do a meet and greet with every new employee that joins BELAY within their first 30 days. I try and get them on my calendar. I want to welcome them. I want them to feel connected to me, the organization, our mission. I want them to know that they’re cared about, they’re seen, and they’re welcome. And LZ, I know you do the same.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yeah. Well, I actually get to go feed them. I take them out to lunch. Depending upon the type of season we’re in, because it’s not really conducive to host a lunch for more than say six people, but right now it’s about quarterly. I just invite any new team member out to lunch. And we’ve gone through like, “Ah, does this really matter? Do people really love it?” And oh my gosh, I hear time and time again, “I can’t believe that the COO of this organization took time out to come and have lunch with me.”

Lisa Zeeveld:

They really, really value it, and it gives them an opportunity if they have not met a team member who started about the same time as them, it gives them an opportunity to meet and have that connection, because nobody wants to feel like they’re the only new kid on the block, right? Everybody wants to feel like they’ve got a partner. It’s really, really valuable time.

Krisha Buehler:

Yeah, it is.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think, Krisha, going back to what you said earlier about the training plan and literally spelling it out hour by hour, some listeners might hear you say that and think that’s ridiculous, hour by hour. But I’m here to tell you, and I know because I’ve implemented these myself in the past and I’ve been part of them, that as a new remote employee, it’s going to be challenging for somebody to figure out how to frame their day, if they’ve never worked like this before. We’re actually helping you figure out how to use your day.

Tricia Sciortino:

We’re telling you a 10 o’clock, you’re going to be in this meeting. At one o’clock, you’re going to be in the other meeting. At three o’clock, you’re going to read this book, and at five o’clock you’re going to wrap up and, and repeat. And it sounds very micromanagy, but it has so many different layers to it. First of all, they’re learning about the organization and their job.

Tricia Sciortino:

We’re also teaching them how to fill their day, put boundaries around their day, and how we’re really setting them up to sync their work environment with a remote work environment and doing so, to your point, with all different people throughout the organization. And we found it to be so successful.

Krisha Buehler:

Yeah, absolutely, and it’s so appreciated by your new employee. There’s nothing worse than starting a new job and then sitting there with, “What am I supposed to do? Do I have any work?” Really it keeps them on track.

Lisa Zeeveld:

BELAY provides staffing to help you grow your organization whether you need a Virtual Assistant, Bookkeeper, website specialist, or a Social Media Strategist, they have the right team member – for the hours you need – ready to help you excel without the added stress of having to do everything on your own. Stop juggling and start getting back to what only you can do: Growing your organization. Getting started is the easiest thing you’ll do today. To find out more, just go to https://belaysolutions.com/get-started

Krisha Buehler:

Along with the training plan where you’re going to have meetings and you’re going to learn the process and all the things, we also have an e-learning system. You’re going to go through all those new hire modules at your own pace where you are going to learn about the company and the culture and just kind of our guiding principles, right?

Krisha Buehler:

Like, how do we operate as a remote company, what can you expect, little compliance, right? From the HR plug, there’s always those compliance videos that we need to have you check off your list. Those are the things that happen kind of within the first 30 days. At that point in time, our training and internal communication person is then going to schedule a meeting, a Zoom meeting, and really, “How has your training gone? Do you have any questions? Are there any gaps? Where are you overwhelmed?” Right?

Krisha Buehler:

It is, I’m going to steal your line, Tricia, inspecting what we’re expecting, right? We are here is the plan, but we need to make sure that it’s being followed. There’s that accountability piece that our trainer really follows up not only with the new employee, but with the leader. Okay, leader, now here’s your 30, 60, 90 day plan that we have. Maybe another thing we can share.

Lisa Zeeveld:

So much goodness here.

Krisha Buehler:

I know, right? We’re feeling very generous today. No, but it really is that… Let’s be real, training is an ongoing effort. It’s not even like as a new employee, after day 30 you’re done. You’re always learning and always training and always developing. And it’s our job as leaders to make sure that we are creating an environment and the tools necessary to do so. I would say, make sure you’ve got your plan. It is detailed. You have somebody. Whether that’s you or somebody else. That is really responsible for the accountability piece of it.

Tricia Sciortino:

Right. The plan is only as good as its execution, right?

Krisha Buehler:

Absolutely.

Tricia Sciortino:

Did they go through all the modules? Did they get the training they were supposed to receive? Did they give the training the way they were supposed to give the training? Checklist. Part of what we have on our training plan are, I mean, it sounds silly, but there’s like a check box route.

Krisha Buehler:

It is. Completed.

Tricia Sciortino:

Done. Done. Done.

Krisha Buehler:

Completed.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Well, the thing too that I want to mention is a lot of times if you have remote employees, what we hear is that it is a lot harder to get acclimated and to get used to working remotely. And it can be a little bit more difficult to lead. So like what I always remind every time I get to talk with a new employee is that a traditional brick and mortar, they will tell you it takes about 90 days to get onboarded and to really feel like you know your job.

Lisa Zeeveld:

When you’re working remote, that can be up to six months because there is something that is lost a little bit in remote, and so you just want to add what we like to call grace. You want to give a little bit of extra grace during that time so they can really understand, like you said, Tricia, the why, the vision of the organization, the mission, and those guiding principles along with just the role itself.

Krisha Buehler:

Absolutely. Yeah. You can’t just walk around the corner to the next cube or office and say, “I have a question.” One of the other things I feel like we’ve done a really good job is creating a culture of just people being very supportive and available. One of the things that I get from new employees is, “I can’t believe how willing everybody is to help, how available everybody is.” So that would be another thing. If you have a team or if it’s just you yourself, it’s going to take a little bit more on your part and your team’s part to do this virtually.

Krisha Buehler:

Make yourself available. Don’t make it feel like a burden for somebody who’s new trying to figure it out. That has been I think a really definitive win for us is the supportive collaborative culture that we have embracing new employees. I think we always remember, right, when it was our first day and-

Tricia Sciortino:

And the same goes for our clients. People come to BELAY for us to place them with virtual assistants, bookkeepers, and web specialists. And I think because we’re helping support that hire for them, they think that training and their responsibility to train is somehow obsolete. Guys, I’m here to tell you you’re wrong.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Yep.

Tricia Sciortino:

We may find you great talent, but at the end of the day, the training of the people you work with, whether a contractor or an employee or through an agency like us, it’s on you as the leader. Your teammate will only be as good as the investment you put into them, and hiring people takes time on the front end and on the backend. It takes time to bring them on, find the right person.

Tricia Sciortino:

And there’s a whole lot of time and an investment really that goes into your new hire to make sure they are trained, they have resources, people are available to answer their questions, so they do feel supported, welcomed, and they can be super successful. And I feel like that is the big takeaway.

Krisha Buehler:

Real time feedback, right? If I can add one more thing, the real time feedback. Don’t be afraid if somebody is not getting it. Tell them they’re not getting it. I mean, the kind truth goes a long way.

Tricia Sciortino:

Girl, we’re going to have episode number three with Krisha. It’s going to be on performance management and feedback, because it’s another thing that… There are so many great nuggets that you have and so many things we practice at BELAY that really we’ve benefited from. We could put some information out there. We are definitely going to have you back again to talk about performance management.

Krisha Buehler:

Yeah, but that’s part of the training. I mean, truly, a part of the training. You’ve got to reward the good behavior and correct the behavior that you’re not seeing and be upfront. And people want that. They want that. That’s on us too.

Lisa Zeeveld:

One of the things that I have done, especially with my executive assistant, is agreements versus expectations. I think that goes along with that feedback, right? In the very beginning, you’re saying, “I expect you to do these things.” And as a leader, that sometimes means that that team member is going to have their own expectations and agreements for you. I’m agreeing that I’m going to give you feedback real time because you deserve that. I respect you enough to give you feedback in real time.

Tricia Sciortino:

Absolutely. So Krista, we’re bringing it back because this is the most practical business podcast in the world and we are talking about… What would be the one next step? What is the one thing somebody who’s listening right now can do to successfully onboard and train? What’s the nugget you want to leave our audience with today?

Krisha Buehler:

You need to create a training checklist. I mean, it sounds so easy, but be thoughtful. I mean, what does this person need to be able to succeed in your company, and really think through all the things. So many of the things, maybe they’re going to take over something that you’re doing that’s second nature. There’s a lot of assumptions that are made and we just kind of assume we know how to do things, and that’s not the case. Be as detailed as you possibly can. Do not assume anything. Take that person through the basics.

Tricia Sciortino:

Dumb it down. Dare I say it.

Krisha Buehler:

Absolutely. Through the basics. Basic checklists, build upon that. Use it. Tweak it. Get feedback. It is an ever living document. It’s never done. After every round of training, we always go back and say, “Do you have any feedback for us? Is there anything that we missed? What did you really like? How was the order?” Get the feedback, tweak, revise, do it again. But that training checklist is absolutely the biggest nugget takeaway.

Tricia Sciortino:

Love it.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Oh my goodness, what another great interview with Krisha Buehler. I loved having her back for a second time to give us tips and ideas on how to hire the right people for your team. I know I was jotting down a ton of good stuff, and no doubt our leaders were doing the same out there. Tricia, what is your one takeaway from the interview?

Tricia Sciortino:

I just loved the point she made about the detailed information that goes into a training plan. I know it could sound ridiculous to hour by hour plan for somebody’s first two weeks or month with an organization, but I really do believe that putting in that layer of detail and helping people really shape their full days in the first two weeks they work with your organization is so critical for their success. It might feel like it’s micro-managing, but we’ve done it for years, and I just know it’s so successful.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Absolutely.

Tricia Sciortino:

What about you, LZ? What’s your takeaway?

Lisa Zeeveld:

I love how she talked about it’s critical for new employees to meet the leaders of the organization, even down to department leaders. It’s so good for a new employee to really see the vision that’s being cast by the leaders and really understand the why. It’s just not a job. You’re there to make a difference. The more leaders that you can meet, the more you’ll understand truly the values of that organization and where they’re going.

Tricia Sciortino:

Yes. I love that. One of my most favorite things I get to do is meet our team members.

Lisa Zeeveld:

Me too. Me too. That’s my favorite part as well. Now it’s time for the one next step. As the most practical business podcast, we want to make sure taking action isn’t overwhelming to you. So in each episode, we’re going to offer you one next step to propel you and your business forward. And today’s next step is to create your standard training plan.

Tricia Sciortino:

How fun! To help you do it, we always provide what we call an activation or delegation guide, and this week’s guide is our training plan checklist. It’s a replica of the training plan we’ve been using at BELAY to hire hundreds of full-time employees over our last 10 years. It will give you the new hire information you need to help your team members succeed as they join your organization. To download it, text the phrase “training plan” to 31996 or visit onenextsteppodcast.com. That’s onenextsteppodcast.com.

Lisa Zeeveld:

And when you request today’s guide, you’ll also receive a summary of today’s episode, which includes key quotes and takeaways, links to resources mentioned in the episode, and questions to ask yourself or your team to further explore today’s topic. So again, text the phrase “training plan” to 31996 or visit onenextsteppodcast.com.

Tricia Sciortino:

And if you are not convinced already, we will even give you an opportunity to submit your business questions so one of us or a future guest can answer it during an upcoming episode.

Lisa Zeeveld:

So here’s our challenge to you, download the guide and then give yourself the next 10 to 15 minutes to work on your next step. And with that, thank you for listening to this episode of One Next Step. We hope you enjoyed this episode and that you’ll join us next time for more practical tips and actionable tools to advance your business one step at a time.

Tricia Sciortino:

Until next time, own your journey. It’s your life, your business. It’s up to you to create the life and organization you want.

Lisa Zeeveld:

So start by making today count.

Announcer:

Thanks for listening to One Next Step. Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or follow us on Spotify. Then, join us next time for more practical business tips and tools to help you get more done, grow your business, and lead your team with competence. For more episodes, show notes, and helpful resources, visit onenextsteppodcast.com.

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