So, your company has recruited some top talent and you’ve got some new, highly-motivated employees ready to get started. That’s great, but what do you do now? Time for onboarding, of course: that crucial stage in which you get new hires up to speed with company policy, integrate them into the company’s culture and show them the ropes of their new position. But that’s easier said than done.
Has your company’s onboarding program been struggling with some (or maybe even all) of the six common challenges discussed below? If so, read on to learn how e-learning can turn your onboarding program into a success, and make your company an even better place to work at.
Challenge: Information overload
Starting a new job is a major transition. There’s so much new information to take in. It’s easy for new hires to become overwhelmed with the huge number of new processes and facts they need to learn. Just take a look at any employee handbook and you’ll see why. There’s simply so much to cover in a relatively short period.
One proven technique for avoiding information overload is “microlearning.” This method involves reducing information into small, bite-sized portions, usually covering only one very specific topic, like a specific step of a work process, or single company policy. By narrowing down the focus, microlearning makes the material easier to internalize. It’s very easy to combine with online learning, making the learning available in the employee’s own time, even on their mobile device.
Challenge: Onboarding isn’t “sticking”
It’s never easy to acquire new habits and routines, yet that’s exactly what companies expect of their new hires during onboarding training. New hires have to work through lots of new information and internalize it fairly quickly, so they’ll be able to work effectively on their own in their new positions.
Solution: Blended learning
Classroom training alone is not enough to enable new employees to acquire the skills they need. That’s because long-established scientific research has shown that learners quickly forget almost all of what they learn unless they have opportunities to repeat the knowledge. This makes blended learning a great choice.
Blended learning combines classroom training with interactive online components, like videos, educational games, microlearning nuggets and more. That way, learners engage with new knowledge repetitively, so it starts to stick much more quickly.
Challenge: Keeping employees engaged
For many of us, new hire training is not really the most enjoyable part of having a new job. Often, it can feel like we’re back in school, cramming for a big test. Sometimes, new hires may feel like the training process is out of touch and does not really address their specific needs. Other times, senior employees in the company may feel like the onboarding is missing important information, so it’s failing to get their future colleagues well-prepared for the job.
Solution: Employee-generated Learning
Employee-generated Learning (EGL) is the best way to boost engagement through training. It gives your company’s experienced employees their say in the onboarding process because they will be responsible for creating all or part of the training content themselves. After all, nobody knows the job better than the people who are already doing it.
For the new hires, EGL shows them immediately that the company takes its employees seriously. They also benefit from having extremely relevant, hands-on training material, written by people who have first-hand knowledge of the job. Another crucial advantage of EGL is that it keeps your onboarding courses much more up to date, so new-hires always have access to the latest, most relevant information, right from the business side of the company.
Challenge: Keeping track of certifications
Especially when it comes to topics like safety and compliance, you’ll need to ensure your new employees are certified to do the tasks their new job will require. That means keeping track of which courses each new hire has completed and issuing them the relevant certifications afterward. But what if you’re trying to train a large number of new hires or new employees spread out over multiple locations? Things can get tricky.
Solution: Automated certifications
Modern e-learning platforms have super-convenient built-in tracking features. These enable trainers to easily monitor the progress of the new hires as they work through onboarding modules and courses online. The e-learning platforms can even be programmed to automatically create and issue certificates to the new hires. Certification headaches, be gone!
Challenge: Too many training needs at once
Just because your company has hired some new employees does not mean the rest of the business comes to a standstill. New products get launched, market conditions change, new regulations take effect... your training team has to keep up with all these needs at once. Plus, you may need to devote extra attention to new hires to make sure the onboarding is covering all their needs without them falling behind schedule. How do you manage to fill all these training needs at once?
Solution: Digital training tools
Use your e-learning platform to create a library of ready-to-use e-learning resources. This is especially useful for onboarding because many onboarding topics (like absentee policies, employee benefits, paid days off, etc.) won’t change very often.
That means once you’ve written the training course or resource on these topics, you can always give new employees access to them without having to spend a lot of time hosting a training session. You can even create learning paths that are fully available online and simply point new hires to your e-learning platform to get them started. Whenever topics require a more face-to-face approach, you can always combine e-learning strategically with classroom training and mentoring as part of a blended learning strategy.
Challenge: What about company culture?
Many new hires feel that onboarding is all about making them better employees but sometimes lacks a crucial human touch. How can you make sure onboarding doesn’t just upskill new employees, but also help them identify with the company culture?
Solution: Knowledge-sharing culture
Again, Employee-generated Learning to the rescue. With an EGL approach to onboarding, your new employees will be learning straight from their peers. This creates a strong team spirit from day one and encourages new employees to contribute their own knowledge and ideas. That way, they can leave their mark on new generations of employees themselves one day.