Five Tips to Onboard Gen Y Employees

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Getting Newly Hired Recent College Grads Up to Speed Requires a Different Approach.

As we emerge from recession, companies will begin hiring from this year’s crop of new college graduates. But will you be ready to onboard “Generation Me”?

“Probably not,” says OnBoard Yourself President Todd Hudson. “These young people have been highly facilitated,” says Hudson. “They are used to being mentored, scheduled and told what to do at every step of the way.”

That’s bad timing for companies whose training resources have been gutted and whose leaned-out staffs have no time to mentor newbies.

“What we have is a clash between two trends,” Hudson says. “Newbies will be left to sink or swim. Most will sink, and many will leave after a few weeks and months, wasting time, resources and money.”

What’s an employer to do? Hudson says the key is to teach Gen Y how to get themselves onboard, and the way to do this is to tailor the onboarding experience to how this new generation naturally learns.

Here are five recommendations to help you onboard Gen Y from

  • Here’s Your Job -- As soon as they accept the position--and before they start--give your new hires a clearly written job description. Don’t assume they will understand it. Go over it verbally, line by line, with them, checking their understanding as you go.
  • Here Are Your Skills -- Give newbies a checklist of hard and soft skills they need to learn for their new jobs. Again, go over it verbally, item by item.
  • Here’s How You’ll Learn Them -- Provide a list of resources where your newbies can begin learning those skills. Use short articles, e-learning courses, podcasts and vidcasts clearly tied to the specific skills on their list. Do NOT stick them in a classroom.
  • Here Are Your Deadlines -- Don’t expect Gen Y to be self-motivated. Give them firm deadlines for each skill you want them to acquire.
  • Here is Your Feedback -- Gen Y lives for feedback, especially praise, so give them plenty. Earning certifications as they complete training modules provide motivation, a bit of peer competition and pride of accomplishment.

OnBoard Yourself is an e-learning site that helps companies successfully onboard Gen Y college graduates. Resources include:

  • OnBoard Yourself Certification: Helps newbies develop their own personal onboarding plan.
  • Rocket to the Top: A 12-month program that guides new hires through their first career year.
  • Learning Resources: Articles, podcasts, vidcasts, checklists and webinars.
  • E-learning Courses: Learn-at-your-own-pace success skills.

Hiring managers can receive a free 21-day trial. More info at:


Bend, Oregon-based OnBoard Yourself™ is an e-learning site that helps new college grads take charge of their onboarding and achieve success in their first career year. OnBoard Yourself is based on the Maverick Institute’s Lean Learning System, making corporate training & development efficient, productive and cost-effective.


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Tamara Greenleaf
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