Manager Onboarding Guide: Sample Training Outline

Have you ever witnessed the following situation: an employee is promoted into a managerial position, but they aren’t provided the tools and training they need to be successful in the new position. Some organizations will take a competent individual contributor, promote them into a manager position, and expect them to just know how to manage a team. But smart organizations know that new managers need crucial, up-front training to be as productive as possible. A proper Manager Onboarding Program will set your leaders up for success by providing them with the key information they need to be successful from the get-go. 

While it’s important to provide managers the soft-skills training they need to be effective leaders (for example, communication and delegation skills), it’s just as important to train them on the practical skills they need to know in their first days, weeks, and months. By practical skills I refer to information that is company-specific; for example: company policies, programs, tools and processes. 

Below I’ve provided a sample Manager Onboarding Training Outline that focuses on practical, company-specific topics that managers typically need to know when they are onboarded. Use this training outline to guide the next manager onboarding content that you build. Having this type of training content in place will go a long way in arming your organization’s managers with the practical information they need to be productive from the get-go.

Welcome

  • Introduction
    • Welcome Message from Leadership
    • Our Company’s Management Philosophy
  • Important Contacts
    • Human Resources Team
    • Business Partners
    • Other Key Contacts

Company and Culture

  • Company Structure
    • Overview of the Organizational Structure
    • Overview of Global Entities, Teams and Departments 
    • Types of Employees (Full-time, Part-time, Contractor, etc.
    • Software Used to View Org Chart and Employee Information
  • Our Culture
    • Overview of Our Company Culture
    • Manager’s Role Within the Company Culture
    • Practical Tips to Promote and Build Our Culture
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
    • Overview of our DEI Program, Vision and Mission
    • Our DEI Goals and Milestones
    • How Managers Can Promote DEI Within Their Team(s)

New Hires

  • How to Recruit a New Hire
    • Manager’s Recruitment Roles and Responsibilities
    • Recruitment Concepts (Headcount, Salary Ranges, etc.)
    • Process for Recruiting a New Hire
    • Software Used for Recruitment
  • How to Conduct an Interview 
    • Overview of Interview Process
    • Interview Roles and Responsibilities
    • How to Prep Your Interview Team 
  • How to Onboard a New Hire
    • Overview of the New Hire Onboarding Experience
    • Software Used for Onboarding New Hires
    • How to Complete Manager Onboarding Activities
      • Choosing a Buddy
      • Scheduling Introductory Meetings
      • Verifying Equipment Needs

Performance Management

  • Performance Management
    • Overview of Performance Management Program and Philosophy
    • Overview of Annual Performance Cycle and Review Process
    • Software Used for Performance Management Activities
  • Create Career Development Plan with Employees
    • Manager’s Role and Responsibilities
    • How to Create Career Development Plans
    • What to Include in a Career Development Plan
    • Software Used for Creating Career Development Plans
  • Set Goals and Objectives With Employees 
    • Managers Roles and Responsibilities Related to Goal Setting
    • Types of Goals and Objectives 
    • When and How to Set Employee Goals
    • Software Used for Objective Setting and Tracking 
  • Have Effective 1:1 Meetings
    • Schedule and Cadence For Employee 1:1 Meetings
    • Topics to Discuss in 1:1 Meetings
    • Software Used for 1:1 Meetings
  • Complete Performance Reviews
    • Manager’s Role and Responsibilities  
    • What to Include in Performance Reviews
    • Software Used for Performance Reviews
  • Reward and Recognize Great Work
    • Overview of Rewards and Recognition Program 
    • Behaviors and Events Managers Should Recognize and Celebrate 
    • Software and Tools Used to Give Rewards

Training & Development 

  • Training & Development
    • Overview of Training and Development Policy
    • Manager’s Role and Responsibilities Related to Training and Development 
    • How to Identify an Employee’s Training Needs 
    • How to Approve Training Requests
    • Software Used for Training Requests and Training Tracking

Company Policies

  • Company Policies
    • Key Policies 
    • Where to Find Policies

Time Off

  • Company Leaves and Holidays
    • Statutory Holidays
    • Types of Leaves 
    • How to Approve Leaves
    • Leave Position Unstaffed vs. Request a Backfill
    • Manage an Employee’s Return from Leave
    • Software Used for Leaves and Holiday Tracking
  • Vacation and Sick Days
    • Vacation Policy
    • Approve Vacation Time
    • Considerations Before Approving Vacation Time
    • Sick Day Policy
    • Approve Sick Days

Finance & Purchasing

  • Approvals Process
    • Approval and Authorization Framework 
    • Manager Approvals & Dollar Amounts
    • Considerations Before Approving Expenses
    • Creating Purchase Orders
    • Approving Expenses
    • Software Used for Approvals and Expenses

Compensation

  • Compensation Basics 
    • Compensation Framework 
    • Annual Salary Planning Cycle 
    • Salary Adjustments
    • Software Used for Compensation and Salary Tasks

Departures

  • Departures
    • Offboarding Process
    • Terminations
    • Resignations

You may find that some of these topics do not apply to your organization, or, that there are additional topics not identified here that you need to include. I’d love to hear from you in the comments about any other topics, subjects or lessons that you think I missed that should be included in a manager’s onboarding training outline.

Storyline vs. Rise: When To Use Which?

If you build online training, you’re likely familiar with the Articulate 360 suite of e-learning tools. Articulate 360 tends to be the go-to for most training developers as it’s a robust suite that offers everything needed to create e-learning; this includes multiple authoring tools, video recording software, an image library, and a Review tool. As part of the Articulate 360 suite you get access to two authoring tools: Storyline 360 and Rise 360. One of the most common questions people ask is “When do I use Storyline vs. Rise?”. Each tool serves a unique set of needs, but when you’re new to them, it can be hard to know which to use when. Here are some best practices for when to use Storyline vs. Rise. 

Use Rise 360 for…

Super-rapid development. There’s no doubt about it: Rise is the quicker tool for e-learning development. Popping in the different types of blocks is very quick and easy to do. From there, you simply add your text, insert a few images, and you’re done. I also find development is made easier by the fact that you can have a lesson that scrolls endlessly, instead of being confined to a slide’s dimensions.

Text-based content. Rise works especially well for text-heavy content, such as job-aids, policy documents, employee handbooks, and standard operating procedures. Pretty much any business document can be converted into a Rise course, so, if you’re thinking of putting it into a PDF document, consider a Rise course instead. 

Collaborative course development. Between Storyline and Rise, Rise is the more collaborative tool of the two. It allows you to have multiple people working in a course at the same time. So, if you need to involve multiple course creators, or if you want your Subject Matter Expert or reviewers to be able to make edits directly to the content, you’ll probably want to use Rise.

Seamless mobile experience. Rise offers a better experience across devices, hands down. The main reason is that Rise is responsive and automatically adapts to different screen sizes, whereas Storyline content is restricted to it’s slide dimensions. If your content will be heavily used on mobile devices, Rise is definitely your top choice.

Use Storyline 360 for…

Customization capabilities. If you’re looking to really control the look-and-feel of every screen, the fonts, the colours, and everything about your content, then you will want to use Storyline. With Rise, you’re limited to the block types, so if you want to go beyond that in terms of on-screen activities and the look-and-feel of your course, you need to use Storyline. 

Extensive interactivity. Storyline is an extremely powerful tool for building rich interactions; it even allows you to easily add logic and conditions to your interactivity so you can really control the experience and make all kinds of cool things happen on-screen. You can add animations and do things like build custom games and activities. If you want something really feature-rich, unique, or game-like, you’ll want to go with Storyline. 

Software simulations. Software sims are an excellent way to get learners using a new application without the risk of being in the real system. If you’re looking to create software sims, you’re going to want to use the screen recording capability in Storyline. This allows you to record your process once and easily break it down into step-by-step slides that automatically include captions, hot-spots, and more.

Keep the above-mentioned tips in mind next time you’re getting ready to develop a course, and use them to consider what is the best tool for the project at hand. Remember: you can have the best of both worlds and include Storyline content within a Rise course, using the Storyline block. I have used this feature a lot myself, especially when doing product training and wanting to bring in a few software sims. Personally, I find Rise to be my go-to because of its ease-of-use and mobile responsiveness; I fall-back to Storyline when I need to do something more custom or special. 

How do you decide whether to use Rise or Storyline for a project? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Let me know in the comments, and follow me on Twitter for more e-learning and training content

Performance Factors: What Are They and Why Do They Matter in Training?

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If you work in training, you’ve likely witnessed the following situation before: management spots a performance problem so they immediately request training to fix it. Training requests can sometimes be a knee-jerk reaction to a performance issue, and the problem there is that training won’t fix any and all performance problems.

If a performance problem in a call center is caused by a slow or faulty computer system, will training employees fix the problem? No. Training can only fix performance problems that are caused by a lack of knowledge and skills, which is what training provides.

If a workplace problem is caused by a performance factor other than a lack of knowledge and skills, training is unlikely to resolve that problem. That’s why it’s critical for instructional designers to follow-up on training requests and gain a deeper understanding of the training needs, why the request is being made, and the specific performance problem at hand. As you gather this information, the goal is to identify which performance factor is causing the performance issue.

Key factors that affect how employees perform:

  • Knowledge and skills
  • Incentives and motivation
  • Mental and physical abilities
  • Tools and equipment
  • Standard and processes
  • Feedback and measurement

Every time you identify or suspect a performance problem, run through a list of the following questions while considering the problematic task and the employees who perform it. Any questions you answer “no” to might indicate that that performance factor is contributing to the problem.

Knowledge & Skills

  • Do employees have the knowledge to perform the task?
  • Do employees have the skills to perform the task?
  • Have the employees been trained on how to perform the task?
  • Do the employees perform the task regularly?

Incentives & Motivation

  • Are employees motivated to perform the task?
  • Are incentives in place for employees that perform the task?

Mental & Physical Capacity 

  • Do employees have the mental capacity to perform the task?
  • Do employees have the physical capacity to perform the task?

Tools & Equipment

  • Do employees have the necessary tools and equipment to perform the task?
  • Do employees have access to the appropriate technology to perform the task?

Processes & Standards

  • Do employees have a clear and defined process in place they can follow to complete the task?
  • Do employees know the standards to which the task needs to be completed?

Feedback & Recognition

  • Do employees receive feedback or recognition on how they are completing the task?

Remember: training can only resolve performance problems that are caused by a lack of knowledge and skills. Many unnecessary training programs are created that don’t fix the underlying business problem. As an instructional designer, it’s crucial that that you analyze a performance problem and understand its root issue before you start designing a training solution. This will help you, and your clients, ensure the training you’re creating is valuable and provides a positive Return on Investment.

Have you ever had to build training that was unnecessary? Have you ever identified the performance factors affecting a workplace problem? Let me know in the comments, and follow me on Twitter for more e-learning and training content.

Tips for Successful Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Training

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Imagine this scenario: a company decides they’ve had enough of using systems that are outdated, slow, and inefficient. They embark on a project to implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to replace their legacy tools. The company spends months, maybe even years, working with consultants and employees to define new processes and customize the systems. Come launch time, they don’t provide adequate training and the employees don’t know how to use the new systems effectively. This leads to costly mistakes, wasted time, lost revenue, and many stressed out employees.

ERP implementations are typically large-scale projects with many stakeholders and moving parts; creating training for these projects comes with their own set of unique challenges. Planning for these challenges up front can help ensure you have a successful training program that plays a crucial role in the smooth rollout of a new system. Here are some important things to consider before you embark on your next ERP implementation training project.

Plan and prioritize training

Implementing and customizing an ERP system tends to be a huge financial investment, and as such, detailed proposals and plans are created to cover all aspects of the project. However, training for the new system is often listed as a vague deliverable that provides no specifics about how training will be designed or delivered. Not planning for training from the get-go is a costly mistake because the investment in a new system is wasted if the employees can’t properly use it. Include the training team in the project planning phase and allocate the appropriate budget, resources, and timelines for end-user training.

Identify training methods

You’re going to want to think about training methods up-front, during the planning phase. One of the most effective way to give learners a real world experience without risking costly mistakes in a real ERP system is through software simulations. They give employees the power to explore and use all the features of the ERP software they’ll use in the workplace. You’re probably going to want to consider at least some software simulations for ERP systems training. You might mix this with some instructor led training and live Q&A sessions to create a blended learning program.

Create curriculum by role

You’re not going to dump all the lessons on every employee; the employees who work in Engineering don’t need to take Accounting lessons on how to process an invoice. Instead, you’re going to tailor the curriculum by user roles. While you may have some core basic lessons that apply to everyone (logging in and out of the system, setting up your user profile, etc.), there should also be user-specific lessons that are pertinent to each role.

Work with the business

Training teams working on ERP implementations often find they have to work alongside the implementation team. You might find it useful to work with the business process analysts, as they create and test the new system processes (these are often called Standard Operating Procedures, or SOPs). Consider using test scripts as a starting point for training development.  

Designate power users

For each role you identify, consider having one or two power users. These are (hopefully) helpful, quality employees who can help with the training and answer employee questions on-the-job. If there are employees who are already involved in the implementation, for example working as subject matter experts, these are great candidates for power users.

Incorporate real-life scenarios

Integrating real world examples and stories into your processes will make the training more practical and relevant. Instead of jumping into a step-by-step process without providing any context, introduce the process with a scenario that has realistic background information and details. Training that incorporates realistic scenarios helps learners know when and how to apply the tasks covered in the training in the real world.

Use change management techniques

  • Incorporating some basic change management techniques will go a long way to getting your learners on board. Be clear in explaining the benefits of the training, why it’s happening, and the impact of not completing it. Don’t assume end users will move seamlessly from one system to another, without detailing the specific reasons and benefits. Learn more about specific change management techniques for instructional designers here.
  • Following these tips will help ensure you have a successful ERP training program in place. Do you have any tips of your own for designing or developing training for ERP implementations? Let me know in the comments, and follow me on Twitter for more training tips and tricks.

     

    How to Organize, Analyze, and Prioritize Tasks for E-Learning

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    The One Thing You Need To Do To Organize Training Content: Task Analysis

    Are you dealing with a huge pile of raw materials that need to be converted into an e-learning course or training programme? If so, you’re likely wondering how best to organize the content and filter out the need-to-know from the nice-to-know. If this sounds familiar to you, you need to acquaint yourself with the process of task analysis. Discover how a proper task analysis can organize your content so it focuses on what learners need to know on-the-job.

    Read full article.

    How to do a Task Analysis Like a Pro

    As I explain in this article, task analysis is one of the cornerstones of instructional design. Why is task analysis so important? The purpose of training is to teach learners how TO DO something; they should walk away from the training with new knowledge and skills they can apply on-the-job. When you focus on tasks, you’re more likely to accomplish this goal, as you’re focusing on the actual processes the learners will do on the job.  A task analysis is the process of systematically breaking down a task into a documented step-by-step process. This article explains how to first identify tasks, then break them down into sub-tasks, and finally, parse them into steps. It also contains some helpful task analysis dos and don’ts.

    Read full article.

    Instructional Designers: Remember These Factors When Prioritizing Tasks

    Once you’ve completed your task analysis, you’re going to need to organize and prioritize all the tasks you’ve analyzed. How should you order your tasks? This depends on a variety of factors: task importance, task frequency, task difficulty, and learner experience. Learn about these four factors and what you need to know to ensure your content focuses on the right tasks.

    Read full article.

    Have you ever done a task analysis before? If so, how did it go? Do you have any tips or tricks to share with others? If so, please leave me a comment below, I love to hear feedback.

     

    Post-Course Evaluations and E-Learning Analysis

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    Post-Course Evaluations: What E-Learning Designers Need to Know

    If you’ve been in the training industry for awhile you may have heard that post-course evaluations are sometimes referred to as “smile sheets”. This is because as long as the evaluations receive mostly positive ratings, or “smiley faces”, we tend to classify the training as a success. However, the post-course evaluations are almost never a true reflection of how successful the training/e-learning actually really was and what it’s impact is on the bottom line. This article looks at some of the difficult questions you need to ask to help truly measure the success of your e-learning with your post-course evaluations.

    Full article: Post-Course Evaluations: What E-Learning Designers Need to Know

    Post-Course Evaluations for E-Learning: 60+ Questions to Include

    If you have developed a post-course evaluation before you know that it can sometimes be a challenge to come up with meaningful questions for your learners. To help you out with that, I’ve put together this comprehensive list of over 60 questions that can be included in a post-course evaluation. Of course it’s important to refer to the previous article, and keep in mind that these evaluations don’t mean the training had a successful impact on the business. You can select the questions that apply to your specific project from this detailed list.

    Full article: Post-Course Evaluations for E-Learning: 60+ Questions to Include

    The Top 3 Types of E-Learning Analysis

    Here is a look at three of the most common types of analysis carried out by e-learning developers and instructional designers. These are the needs analysis, audience analysis, and task analysis. The needs analysis is done up-front to determine is the training is actually necessary or not. An audience analysis is then developed to identify the learners, their demographics and their specific needs.  Finally, a task analysis breaks down the specific tasks that the learners need to apply in order to improve their knowledge and skills on the job. Having a solid grasp on these three types of e-learning analysis will go a long way in ensuring your projects are successful!

    Full article: The Top 3 Types of E-Learning Analysis

    Needs Analysis – When Is E-Learning The Solution?

    Have you ever been asked to complete a training needs analysis to identify if an e-learning or training project is really necessary? If so, you’ll know that doing this can be a tricky endeavour, and it can be hard to differentiate between the training that is wanted and the training that is really needed. If this is a task that you’ve been faced with before, you might be interested in reading about a simple process you can follow to identify if training is really needed. It is a straightforward approach that involves comparing your employees current and expected performance, to identify if there is a performance gap that can be solved with a training solution.

    Full article: Needs Analysis – When Is E-Learning The Solution?

    Infographic: The Presentation, Application, Feedback (PAF) Model

    This colourful infographic illustrates the Presentation, Application, and Feedback (PAF) Model for training and instructional design. It’s important to keep the PAF Model in mind when developing training to ensure we’re not overloading our learners with too much presentation of content. It’s crucial to include lots of opportunities for application of knowledge and to then provide the appropriate feedback.

    Instructional Design Infographic

    20+ Questions To Include in an Audience Analysis

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    An audience analysis is a task that instructional designers and training developers perform in the initial phases of planning a training project. Completing an audience analysis is critical because in order to communicate information effectively, you need to understand who your learners are. Depending on the project, you might have more than once audience.

    To complete your audience analysis, you will need to interview and observe the employees and management to gather information about your learners. Once you have identified your specific audiences, you can tailor your courses so they are pertinent to the different background, education levels, etc.

    Here’s an example of how audiences can vary widely, even within one organization:

    You are developing software training for a large organization with a manufacturing facility.

    Some of your learners are engineers who work in software development. They are technically savvy, work at a computer all day and are already familiar with the software you are training them on.

    Meanwhile, your second audience is the workers from manufacturing facility. They work with machinery all day and barely use the computer. This will be their first time ever seeing this software.

    You can already see that, even though these two audiences may need to be trained on the same software, very different approaches will be required for different audiences.

    Here’s a list of 20 audience analysis questions to get you started.

    General

    • Who is your primary audience?
    • Are there potential secondary audiences?

    Demographics

    • What is the average age of the learner?
    • Are the learners mostly men, women, or an equal mix?
    • What is the educational background (high school diploma, PhD)?
    • What is their cultural background, race, ethnicity?

    Knowledge & Experience

    • What is their level of work experience?
    • What is the reading level of the audience?
    • How much do they already know about the subject at hand?
    • What tone or attitude is appropriate for your audience?
    • How motivated are the learners?

     Technical

    • What hardware and software do the the learners have?
    • How technically savvy are the learners?
    • What resources do the learners have at their disposal?

    Expectations

    • What level of participation can you expect?
    • What kind of syntax or writing style are your learners comfortable with?
    • Why are the learners taking the training?
    • What will the audience expect to learn?
    • What amount of time do learners have available to devote to training?
    • Do any of the learners have special needs or accessibility requirements?

    If you know of any other audience analysis questions that I’ve missed, please leave a comment.

    Infographic: Kirkpatrick’s 4 Levels of Evaluation

    I have created a visual representation of Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation model, boiling it down to its’ most simple form.