Starting a new job is exciting. New role, new responsibilities, maybe a new industry to figure out. Most importantly, a new job signals a new opportunity to grow and develop. This is great not only for the employee, but the company as well. When a new employee joins, they have a level of enthusiasm and desire to impress that is hard to replicate.
Most companies take advantage of this with some form of onboarding program to get new hires up to speed. Many are very good, and serve as a great onramp to their new role. However, even the best onboarding programs only last a week or two. And as they should, no one wants to onboard forever!
But what happens after onboarding? The new hire's growth and development often immediately turns into sink-or-swim learning on the job. But why the sudden drop off, when there is still so much to learn? For better or worse, most companies treat the onboarding phase as the only formal investment in development and provide very little education thereafter.
This is a lost opportunity because the employee retains that enthusiasm well past the first few weeks. By not taking advantage of that, companies not only shortchange their employees but shortchange the company by not taking advantage of the *free* enthusiasm premium available to them to accelerate ramp up time and improve work quality more rapidly.
Instead, companies should extend the new hire development plan by providing a steady flow of organziational knowledge over a new hire's first 6 - 9 months on the job. This will drive significantly higher retention of key information and allow for instruction of more complex concepts and case studies after the easier topics have been covered. This will also engender much stronger employee loyalty as they see that their employer is laying the foundation for their long-term success in their new role.
Onboarding should not be some drawn out process. But companies should make sure to extend an employee's development plan with a second phase of learning to maximize their growth, to everybody's benefit.