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Teresa Lovell Reducing time to competency with digital learning

According to ATD’s State of the Industry report, onboarding accounts for nearly 10% of all of training carried out in organisations.

With pressure to get new starters job-ready as soon as possible, it’s no wonder organisations are seeking out alternative ways to smooth the process of onboarding - reducing induction and onboarding times.

Reducing Time To Competence With Digital Learning 13 11 19

Your onboarding programme will be a new starters’ first impression of your organisation. It’s important to sort out what the need-to-know information is, but then you need to consider the quickest and most effective method to convey it all to the new recruit.

We recommend that a good onboarding programme should incorporate a range of engaging learning content, tasks and activities to make the new employee feel welcomed and included. This is a great opportunity to promote your organisational culture and values at an early stage, and all this can be achieved with a carefully considered design.

Using a blended approach will help engage learners throughout the onboarding process and keep them hooked. However, the onboarding should still be structured so that new employees are given a clear pathway and don’t waste time wondering what they are supposed to look at or do first.

So, how can you create effective onboarding training that is easy to deploy and quick to learn? This is where digital learning comes into its own. Here are four of our recommendations:

1. Start the learning before they start

New recruits could be emailed some learning content before their first day in their new role. For example, this could be an infographic about the company and some more practical information such as orientation instructions – what to wear, where to park, who to ask for when they arrive etc.

2. Overhaul your mandatory training

Health and Safety, Data Protection, Fire Awareness – these pieces of mandatory learning content always form part of onboarding. If they haven’t been updated in a while don’t just add them in to your programme. Give them the once over. Are they up to date? How long do they take to complete? Are they just plain boring? Could you transform them into something different, such as an interactive eBook? Why not introduce a bit of fun with a quiz? Your new starters and your existing employees will thank you! 

3. Drip feed for better knowledge retention

Most people will have experienced a first day in a new job where you go home with brain-fog and feel overwhelmed – all because you have been bombarded with lots of information in a short space of time. Everything from people’s names to the IT Policy! Digital learning allows you to break your content into easy-to-digest chunks. As you design your programme, ask yourself: what does your new recruit need to learn on day one and what can wait until week two? This may appear to be the opposite of speeding things up, but by pacing it and using spaced digital learning you are giving learners the chance to properly retain the knowledge and preventing them from having to reread or relearn things.

4. Design for self-guided learners

This probably goes without saying but Millennials and Generation Z will learn better - and therefore quicker - with digital learning. They have grown up with easy access to unlimited information, are keen to learn and are naturally self-guided learners. They are experienced in using digital tools to find the information they need when they need it. So, rather than forcing them to read volumes of information that they don’t need at that moment, instead, provide them with a way to find relevant content in a variety of formats. Well-designed, engaging nuggets of information and a decent search function is a good baseline.

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Delivering your onboarding programme using digital methods will not only reduce the time spent face-to-face but will also give you really good insights into the new employee before they even start.

Building that early relationship will ensure your new employee will be enthused, will feel valued and will be job-ready quickly, and it could even sow the seeds of a learning culture.

To find out more about how digital learning can improve your onboarding and your wider learning and development offering, take a look at our eBook, ‘The Busy L&D Professional's Guide to Digital Learning’.

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Teresa Lovell

Teresa Lovell, Design Specialist, Bray Leino Learning

Teresa creates all our infographics for us and they cover a wide range of topics. In her blogs she not only gives tips on software and design, but she also discusses other topics that catch her eye and she hopes you find them interesting.

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