In last week's blog, we looked at how L&D can use digital learning to refresh their organisations’ onboarding, starting with goal setting and personalisation.
Now, I want to explore in more depth some of the other ways you can take your onboarding to the next level, by creating an experience that will encourage the knowledge to stick.
Create an experience
To take engagement a step further, I’d encourage you to consider onboarding as an experience, rather than a one-off event or process.
In the latter scenario, employees are often taken away from their place of work to complete a face-to-face classroom course with little connection to day-to-day work.
The first scenario, by contrast, aims to embed onboarding within daily work, so much so that there’s no obvious end point for the new starter.
How is this achieved? One way is by bringing the learning to the user, right in the flow of work. Using digital learning tech like microlearning and mobile apps, relevant content is made accessible whenever and wherever it’s needed.
Once accessed, the content is well-designed, engaging and logically organised with straightforward navigation supported by signposting and search functionality.
The result is a seamless experience that sets the tone for learning at your organisation. The employee doesn’t even have to think about learning as a separate task in their daily work; it becomes second nature to find what they need on the job without being spoon-fed.
The first few weeks of a job are always going to be some of the most learning intensive, so we need to take a step back from blasting reams of information at employees during week one, leaving them overwhelmed, exhausted, and probably a little daunted.
Instead, we need to think about how we can help the newly-acquired knowledge to stick, ready to be applied on the job when it’s needed.
This is the final part of a well-rounded, continuous onboarding journey, where digital learning can come into its own, and I’d really urge you to put your creative hat on to come up with something a bit novel!
Let’s say, for example, you have a lot of dense compliance materials that form part of the mandatory induction process. You know the ones I mean: Fire Safety Awareness, GDPR, Health & Safety, Manual Handling.
To reinforce the key points from each module, you could put together a multiple-choice quiz that breaks each subject into more digestible chunks. This could be sent out via a series of daily emails sent over a few weeks, each one having one or two brief questions.
To motivate employees to take part (and inject a bit of healthy competition between colleagues), you could introduce badges and rewards for star performers and display results on a leader board.
This type of spaced learning has proven results, so it’s about far more than offering employees a fun ‘distraction’ from day-to-day work.
In short, there really is no need to stick to standard PDFs with a tick-box at the bottom to indicate that it’s been read (when it’s actually been scrolled through and instantly forgotten).
What might this look like in practice?
- Forms, profiles, general paperwork: save time by getting the essential paperwork completed in advance. The forms can be downloaded from your LMS or platform, completed, re-uploaded and sent off to HR.
- Background company information, teams, processes: make it fun! Use digital tools instead of just PDFs or slides, by, for example, turning company processes into an animated infographic.
- Meet the manager and team: time is precious. Getting the key people in the room at the right time can be challenging, so instead get everyone involved by filming them using your phone’s camera, or record a podcast. These can be shared using your internal social sharing platforms to integrate social learning and collaboration into everyday working life.
- Core values and brand: again, use videos of other employees, perhaps a series of 'talking heads' clips or ‘what it's like to work here’ video. This will help to make your culture more visible and open to new starters. Why not develop a spaced quiz based on the company values and how they translate into everyday practice? Make it interactive to encourage the learning to stick.
- Evaluation: have the new employees engaged and picked up everything – not just during the opening week, but in the following weeks and months? Are they applying this in their day-to-day work? Use analytics tools within your learning platform to track what employees are engaging with and assess retention with short follow-up surveys.
You can see how taking the time to refresh your onboarding with digital learning can kick-start your new starters’ careers with your organisation. Building positive early relationships and inspiring continuous learning will not only encourage them to be job-ready quickly, but more invested in staying loyal to your company for the long-term.
Kerry Pascall, Head of Digital Learning, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs you can expect some tips on implementing eLearning, what to consider when commissioning eLearning, design tips, software and authoring pros and cons, and general advice on everything eLearning!