Increase Retention with New Employees During Onboarding

Jason SayensmartPRENEUR Blog Series

How to increase retention with new employees during onboarding utilizing the 4 adult learning styles?

What does your onboarding process look like this?

  1. Sit in the conference room with HR and review documents 
  2. Sit with the manager to review their job description
  3. Job shadowing with a coworker in a similar role
  4. Complete an online tutorial

The above process utilizes the reading/writing and auditory learning styles.  If you only focus on one or two styles, your new employees are doomed from the start.  When you cannot connect with an employee’s learning style(s), it will take them longer to understand the concepts being presented to them and you risk them leaving the job within the first 6 months.  

So what are the four learning styles?

  1. Reading/Writing – Writing learners succeed through written information like presentations, handouts, or other text-heavy content.  To spot one out, you’ll often see them taking notes during a presentation.
  2. Auditory – These learners work well in group settings and prefer to hear information.  Typically they will participate in a presentation or ask lots of questions.
  3. Visual – If the information can be presented in a visual format such as graphics, charts, diagrams, symbols, or more, visual learners thrive in this environment.
  4. Kinesthetic – In a hands-on environment, kinesthetic learners thrive as they like to take things apart and learn by engaging all of their senses.

In order to help your employees retain the new information during onboarding, you have to engage all of the learning styles to have a higher retention rate.

65% of adult learners are visual learners!

If your training program is focused on a presentation with words and a sit-down discussion, the chances are that the message will be lost.  Now you will have to spend more time training the employee in order to get things to “stick” or worse, they will create their own bad habits that you have to undo months down the road.  Letting employees figure it out for themselves will cost you thousands.  

So what does a successful training program look like?  

One that incorporates all of the learning styles.  I had two recent experiences that I went through that incorporated every learning style and the experience was incredible.  Not only did I enjoy the training, I felt confident that I could go execute what I learned.

PADI Open Water Diver Certification 

Overview – This certification prepares you for Scuba diving into depths of 60 feet.  

The training had 3 main elements:

  1. Online coursework – 6-8 hours of reading, watching videos, and quizzes.  We had to pass a final test in order to qualify.

Learning Styles Used – Reading/Writing, Auditory and Visual

  1. Pool Dive – 8 hours in the pool utilizing all of the equipment that we learned about prior with an assortment of underwater tests led by an instructor.  All of the tests that we completed we had learned about during the online coursework.  

Learning Styles Used – Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Visual 

  1. Open Water Dive – 4 30-minute open water dives in the ocean in depths of 20 to 40 feet.  Below the surface, we had to complete all of the tests that we had done the day prior with an instructor at the various depths.

Learning Styles Used – Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Visual

Summary – By utilizing every learning style and using repetition, I felt confident to do an open water dive on my own which I did a few weeks later.  

Coastal Source Product Training

Overview – This course is a full product training on Coastal Source outdoor audio and lighting products. It covers sales and installation.  

The training had 4 main elements:

  1. Online coursework – 2-4 hours of reading, watching videos, and quizzes. We had to pass the tests in order to attend the in-person training.

Learning Styles Used – Reading/Writing, Auditory and Visual

  1. In-person Training – I arrived at an outdoor venue where two instructors used large posters to do a presentation on the products.  This was actually more engaging than a PowerPoint on a screen.  

Learning Styles Used – Reading/Writing, Auditory and Visual

  1. In-person Demo – After the training, they gave us demonstrations of the outdoor audio products that they spoke about to further point out the features that we discussed.

Learning Styles Used – Auditory, Kinesthetic, and Visual

  1. Lighting Workshop – This workshop put us into groups where we took a lighting design and did a mock installation at the site with the actual products.  We had a job scope to follow and a site plan.

Learning Styles Used – Auditory, Kinesthetic, Reading/Writing, and Visual

Summary – Once again we utilized multiple learning styles and repetition and by the end of the day, I felt that I could sell, design, and install their products.  

Put yourself in your employee’s shoes.  Would you rather “hear” how something works or “experience” how something works?

About the Author

Jason Sayen

Jason Sayen is the Founder of I am Sayen and brings over 25 years to the custom installation channel.  I am Sayen, helps business owners understand their process through workflow documentation which aligns teams and removes bottlenecks.