InStride named a 2023 Most Innovative Company by Fast Company
June 7, 2022


3 min read

Entry-level employees often lack critical skills. Teaching them is a win-win.

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Fill critical roles with a strategic, accelerated onboarding program

By: Sean Flynn, Chief Customer Officer at InStride

Employers across the country, in nearly every geography and every sector, currently face a severe labor shortage. Talent managers face enormous pressure to fill an unprecedented volume of entry-level positions and quickly. While those managers scramble to meet the tremendous demand with supply, entry-level candidates often don’t have the requisite technical or functional skills to succeed or the soft skills required in a collaborative workplace.

These challenges leave employers with a crucial question: Can we teach our new hires the required skills during onboarding? 

It’s a question we are thinking about a lot at InStride. 

The best onboarding programs introduce employees to their new workplaces in a way that positively impacts retention, time to productivity and customer satisfaction. With many entry-level candidates willing to learn but lacking the necessary skills, there’s an opportunity to deliver education in the onboarding process that benefits employees and employers alike. For employees, it’s a welcome investment in their future.

For employers, it’s an improvement to the skills in their workforce and a valuable asset for recruitment.

To many entry-level employees, the skills most important to success in a new role are the often overlooked “soft skills.” Soft skills are behaviors and traits like communication, critical thinking, adaptability, resilience, teamwork and empathy, that impact the interactions between employees and their customers, coworkers, superiors and other individuals who factor into their day-to-day experience. According to a 2019 Global Talent Trends report from LinkedIn, 89% of recruiters say that when a hire doesn’t work out, it’s the result of a soft skill deficit.

New entrants into the job market often haven’t had the opportunity to develop the soft skills that are so vital to turn a job into a career. Education systems can be focused on optimizing for standardized test results, leaving little room to develop soft skills through collaborative exercises and team projects. Significantly, students entering the workforce today have also had two school years disrupted by the pandemic. And even prospective entry-level workers with stellar soft skills haven’t had the chance to deploy them in the workplace.

The vast majority of new hires want to succeed and put great value on employers who invest in their futures. Offering to build requisite skills early in a new employee’s career builds loyalty, fuels their success and helps attract talent. Education is among the most powerful and genuine ways to show commitment to an employee’s career. Delivering education programs that align with business objectives – like filling critical entry-level roles with top talent –  is at the heart of what InStride was founded to do.    

Just like InStride helps employers provide education aligned with mature career pathways, InStride will soon offer a Strategic Enterprise Education  solution for new hires.  

The new solution will consist of a 90-day online program covering the full range of skill sets needed for success in entry-level positions – including technical, functional and soft skills. For example, new hires might take a set of 5-7 courses covering areas such as professional work ethic, goal-setting, communication (e.g., how to write emails), critical thinking (e.g. problem-solving), digital tools (e.g., creating slides and spreadsheets) and collaboration in the workplace.

As the pressure to fill entry-level roles increases, employers will need new solutions to find and develop the right talent. InStride’s answer to this challenge focuses on the first 90 days because they’re among the most important of any work experience. Together, we can help your organization invest early, attract the right talent and help new hires turn their job into a career. 

Ready to learn more? Get in touch with one of our workforce education experts today