How to Use Market Research for Onboarding and Training Employees

Young man in office working on digital tabletIs your organization facing challenges onboarding new staff due to persistent turnover?

If so, you are not alone. According to a Gallup survey, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job of training new employees.

Problems with onboarding extend from frontline employees all the way up to senior-level executives.

The Harvard Business Review reported a global survey of publicly traded and privately owned companies, which found:

  • Less than a third of executives said they received any meaningful support during their transition at a new job.
  • Close to 60% of executives said it took them six months to be fully functioning members of the team, and nearly 20% said it took them more than 9 months.

At many companies, new employees are often left to fend for themselves after an initial burst of introductory meetings. All too often, training may include little more than administrative paperwork, an HR manual, and a brief tour of a disheveled supply closet.

Concerningly, employee engagement and training has only become more difficult due to high staff turnover, company reorganizations, and the rise of remote work.

“Companies are hiring, but they don’t have enough training capacity,” explains Teresa Hayes, Executive Vice President at The Freedonia Group, a division of “They can’t give new employees the level of nuance needed.”

Using Market Research to Educate New Employees

While new employees may have a solid grasp of their specific skillset—whether that’s product management, sales, or marketing—they may have limited knowledge about the industry itself if they shift from one vertical to another. 

Fortunately, helping new employees understand the market is not as difficult as it sounds. As part of onboarding and ongoing employee education, market research can be used as a foundational tool for building an effective knowledge base.

A published market research report or a research subscription (such as a Knowledge Center) can help employees get up to speed on:

  • The industry they work in
  • The products their company makes
  • Where those products are used
  • What those products compete against
  • Who their competitors are
  • What the newest hottest products are they should be looking at
  • What threats their industry is facing
  • New or growing markets for the company's products
  • What features are important to their customers

Using market research as a training tool “is a good investment to save the time of the busy managers doing the training and end up with more highly educated and successful new employees,” according to Hayes.

Democratizing Information

Providing market research as a resource to employees is also a powerful way to democratize information and help keep a company’s entire workforce informed and up to date on industry trends across different hierarchies and silos.

To help fill information gaps, research can be clipped to make customized slide decks or mini reports. Some employees may only need a concise industry overview. Others may benefit from a more in-depth understanding of specific product segments or regions, or they may want a deeper view of the overall competitive landscape.

Information can be reviewed during training, but short presentations to larger groups of staff members are worthwhile options for continuing education as well.

“From our experience working with clients, we’ve seen that lunch-and-learn presentations can be a great way to share valuable industry information and keep people engaged,” says Jennifer Mapes Christ, Research Manager at The Freedonia Group. “People who attend presentations such as these tell us they found market research data and analysis to be helpful in ways they couldn’t have anticipated.”

Fueling Employee Success from Day One

Market research can help employees gain a more complete and objective understanding of the business, the competitive environment, and avenues for growth. Rather than struggling with a steep learning curve, new employees can build momentum right away and make a meaningful impact in their role.

Market research not only supports the success of employees, but it also eases the burden on busy managers who are already stretched to the limit.

Need information about a specific industry? Search for individual reports, or explore our research subscriptions. If you already have a Knowledge Center, sign in to see the latest research.

About the blogger: Sarah Schmidt is a Managing Editor at, the parent company of The Freedonia Group, and a leading provider of market intelligence products and services.

Topics: Market Research Strategy How To's