Digital Employee Onboarding: Streamlining New Hire Training
The employee onboarding process is expensive and time-consuming. It often requires managers and other workers to step away from regular duties to manually oversee recently hired employees as they learn your organization’s policies, standard operating procedures within their roles, and about the product(s) or service(s) you provide. This traditional way of ensuring new hires transition well into the company can often be ineffective and inefficient. Because of this, many companies now rely on a Learning Management System (LMS) to assist with the onboarding process.
Not only does the LMS help free up time for managers and other workers, but it helps new hires transition at their own pace through a streamlined and convenient online solution. Managers can then track progress and schedule one-on-one meetings if anyone falls behind. Furthermore, the LMS provides L&D managers with the opportunity to diversify their training content and build custom learning programs for each employee, increasing engagement and encouraging knowledge retention.
Why Digital Employee Onboarding Works
Yes, there is an initial investment in employee onboarding software, and what technologies you choose to invest in will play a pivotal role in determining the success of your learning programs. To determine whether an LMS is worth the cost, you can first quantify the resources spent on manually onboarding employees: time that leadership and other employees spend away from their daily duties, classroom space, etc. Then compare the cost to a one-time software purchase or a subscription service where learning programs can be delivered, scaled and improved upon for years to come.
Most companies that actively invest in developing new hires for the job will see an immediate financial benefit with more confident, competent, and knowledgeable hires who acclimate within their roles more quickly and smoothly. Here are some additional factors companies need to consider beyond the bottom line.
1. Formal Process for Every New Hire.
Some employees hit the ground running and begin to thrive at a company from the start. Then, there are other employees that take a longer time to settle in. Managers often believe this comes down to individual skills or abilities. There is some truth to this, but the onboarding experience can also affect readiness for a role. With a standardized onboarding process for roles or departments, learners can more easily receive information relevant to their role in a practical way.
2. Quality Control.
It’s hard to determine how to improve your onboarding process if there is no formal process in place. When all employees go through one process and provide feedback, it is much easier to pinpoint what was successful and what you can improve upon. This further assists a company with the task of maintaining quality control when it comes to time and resources spent on employee onboarding.
3. Remote Capabilities.
More companies around the world are looking into the possibility of long-term or permanent work-from-home possibilities. One of the biggest challenges here is the onboarding process. A formal, web-hosted process is easier to deploy, no matter where the company hires a worker or where that individual later decides to move.
Some fields require mandatory compliance training, certifications or agreements to remain compliant. Formalizing this part of the onboarding process helps companies to better track who has completed this, who may need to recertify soon, or who struggled in a particular area and may need additional assistance. Additionally, as many compliance pieces will be similar for all new hires, this is the most logical place to start when it comes to streamlining training in an online format.
The Important Components of Digital Onboarding
Not all employee onboarding programs are created equal. A lot of planning must go into creating the program in order to ensure it provides engaging, valuable, and impactful learning for your employees. Once the work to set up and structure your programs is finished, however, it typically requires only general maintenance and tweaks to keep it up-to-date and effective for years to come. Here are some components to pay keen attention to.
1. LMS Technology Type.
Your LMS can be either closed source, open source, or a hybrid mix of both. Here at eThink, we are very big advocates of open-source products as they provide the flexibility to incorporate the best content and eLearning tools into your platform as your needs change and evolve.
Open-source Learning Management Systems (LMS) denote freely available code and software that encourage a best-of-breed content model and learning ecosystem. Closed source options are simply limiting in terms of design, functionality, and support. Conversely, open source allows you to constantly customize your LMS to meet your specific needs. When utilized to its best abilities, open-source technology also provides other advantages, including top security, ownership of data, cutting-edge technology, and high service standards. Learn more about open source in our whitepaper.
2. Learning Experience Design.
LX design involves determining how a trainee interacts with the system and optimizing your system’s design and functionality in order to make those interactions successful. Put simply, you need a design that engages learners. Factors include not just the look of the system but also how the learning takes place. For instance, will workers get to watch instructional videos and solve problems afterwards or will they engage in more immersive experiences such as gamified content, etc? You may need to do some experimenting to answer these and other key questions about the types of content that will included in your onboarding and how exactly employees will engage with training resources.
3. Effective Role-Based Learning Tactics.
There are some parts of the onboarding process that may be applicable to everyone who comes into the organization. However, all other onboarding and training material should be relevant to the specific job or even skill level for the employee entering the role in some cases. By considering the role and previous experience, managers may also better take advantage of the ways professionals in specific areas are more likely to learn. Learn more about role-based learning in our case study with Carbon Black.
4. Analytics and Reporting.
Even the best employee onboarding systems may ultimately fail if no one bothers to review the information and evaluate the success of previous or current courses. For instance, imagine if a company that uses eLearning for compliance reasons failed to check if all employees completed mandatory training. The immediate supervisor or manager should be tasked with reviewing the analytics and reporting available in the LMS learning record store to track progress, offer encouragement and address concerns. Additionally, analytics and reporting should be used to not only track learner progress but to look at the onboarding program as a whole to identify what is working as well as what improvements can be made to provide better outcomes.
Everyone involved in the hiring and onboarding process needs to clearly communicate what’s expected of employees as they join your team. It is possible to automate many of the information you need employees to review such as their job description, the employee handbook, and information regarding how their performance will reviewed, etc. Additionally, you can make it easy to provide timely feedback on training items by using built-in messaging features or creating forums within your LMS to encourage questions or other feedback.
6. Company Flexibility.
Digital employee onboarding can benefit any company, but it certainly benefits some more than others. When employees do not have desk jobs, companies need to exercise more flexibility. For instance, security officers who drive patrol cars may need to complete online training on a monthly or quarterly basis. Companies need to make allowances for this, which may include payment for completing modules in an hour or two of personal time. Whatever the training scenario may be, an LMS allows you to be more flexible in your training programs in order to meet the needs of virtually any type of learner.
Are you looking to incorporate an LMS to streamline employee onboarding and training options for your company? eThink provides web-based solutions for clients all around the world. Request your demo to explore how you can streamline your employee training programs today.