Induction, onboarding, orientation – whatever you like to call it, getting it right is important for both new employees and businesses.
Many organisations are turning to elearning induction training to provide a positive and consistent first experience for new starters.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) believes a ‘well-considered’ induction programme is essential:
“The impressions made when someone starts work for a new employer have a lasting impact on how they see the employer brand. It’s important that induction is not just treated as a ‘tick box’ exercise, but is seen as a vital opportunity to introduce new employees to the culture and ways of working of the business.”
So good induction training is worth its weight in gold, but there are a number of common barriers that can get in the way of delivering a successful programme. These include:
- Time pressure – With the best will in the world, managers may be too busy to spend adequate time with new staff members in their first few days. This can mean induction training is rushed, shortened or, in a worst case scenario, ignored.
- Information overload – New employees can become swamped with the sheer volume of information they’re exposed to in the first few days and weeks of starting a new job. If there is too much to take in, vital induction messages won’t be absorbed and retained.
- Mixed or inconsistent messages – Inevitably, messages may get lost or changed when delivered to new starters by different managers or trainers. Updates may also be overlooked, so it can be hard to guarantee that all new employees get the right information during their induction training.
- Delayed implementation – If the main induction training happens as a face-to-face course, there may be a delay while a place becomes available or enough new starters arrive to make up the numbers. In some cases, it’s not uncommon for new recruits to have their formal induction training several months after joining.
- Access to senior managers – In an ideal world, a new employee should meet at least one senior manager, if not the CEO, in the first few weeks. But time in the diary for company leaders to meet new staff can be difficult (to say the least) so in reality it may be several months before new employees get to meet the person at the top.
An increasing number of employers are overcoming these obstacles by moving all, or part of their induction programme online. Elearning induction or onboarding is a particularly effective solution for larger organisations or global corporations. It helps create a more effective and efficient induction experience in a number of ways:
- Saves Time – Elearning induction training is ready from the moment a new employee walks through the door – no need to wait for space in someone else’s diary or a place on a training course. Good elearning is also designed to be engaging and absorbing without being too long and cumbersome for the user. It creates the best possible impression for new starters without putting the rest of the team under time pressure.
- Provides Flexibility – One of the great things about an elearning induction programme is that it can be easily revisited if a new staff member wants to review the content or check back on any aspect of the training, at no extra costs. Using innovative platforms such as Adapt, it can be made available on smartphone, tablet or desktop without the need to create a separate version of the same induction. Some organisations even make their induction elearning available to new staff before they start so the onboarding process can begin weeks before Day One. Elearning induction is a flexible solution for international businesses because it can be easily accessed from anywhere is the world and translated and localised depending on the needs of staff around the globe.
- Maintains Consistency – You can guarantee all new recruits hear the same messages from the moment they walk in. With elearning induction, they can all ‘meet’ the CEO on their first day and start their new role feeling enthused and informed. Once an elearning induction course has been created, there’s no limit to how many staff can do the module, so it is cost-effective for temporary employees to do the training as well as permanent staff.
So elearning induction is great for breaking down the common barriers of normal induction training, but it also has further benefits:
- Helps with retention – Staff turnover in the UK is on the increase. According to research by HayGroup, turnover rates over the next five years are predicted to rise from 14.6 to 18%. So having found a great new employee, the last thing you want is for them to become disenchanted and leave prematurely. Research shows that timely and effective induction can help boost staff retention rates by up to 25%. Part of the problem can be a lack of clarity and ill-defined job roles or mission statements. Using elearning induction can help make everything clear from early one and cut down on the risk of disillusionment or confusion.
- Measurability – The online nature of elearning induction makes it easy to monitor and record when new staff have completed the training. By including actionable items it is also possible to measure the effectiveness of the onboarding against relevant targets. For example, how many new staff correctly book annual leave having been taken through the process as part of their induction elearning.
What works well
There are certain elearning techniques that lend themselves particularly well to induction training. Here are some of the most popular and most effective:
- Video – Video clips can play an important role in induction training as they are engaging and compelling. It’s a great way to introduce the head of an organisation to new employees or allow them to hear from people already doing the same job. Either way, there is nothing like ‘hearing it from the horse’s mouth.’
- Scenarios – Including scenarios in induction elearning can help introduce new workers to the types of issues they will face in their job. They also offer the chance to practice problem-solving in a safe environment and learn about the consequences of particular actions and responses.
- Games – Elearning games work well in induction training as they are highly engaging and interactive. Often, part of the training covers some basic health and safety information and this can work particularly well as a game or game element where new employees have to spot the potential hazards against the clock, for example.
Real life examples
Case studies can be really helpful in understanding the potential benefits of elearning induction for your business. Follow the links to read more about how some of our clients are using elearning to boost their approach to induction training:
Link: Find out how global snack manufacturer, United Biscuits is using video as part of its elearning induction (see Page 10).
Link: Find out about retailer, Sports Direct’s approach to induction elearning using multi-media content and engaging illustrations.
Finally, the most successful elearning induction programmes have one thing in common – they are customised. The type of induction training needed will vary depending on your organisation, goals, messages and brand - so one size does not fit all.
To reap the full benefits of elearning induction training, a tailored module is the best approach.