Still haven’t launched your digital Onboarding program yet?
No worries, you can still kick off 2020 strong with an effective Onboarding program, even if you haven’t started yet or worked with blended learning before. Here is our 7-step process to planning and launching your Onboarding in weeks - using a blended learning model.
While some companies are still struggling with setting up a structured onboarding process, and tend to use overwhelming first-week introductions, others have fortunately come much further. And with good reasons. According to FinancesOnline, 2019 and 2020 stats show:
- 77% of employees who had a formal onboarding hit performance goals
- 54% of companies with an onboarding program report higher employee engagement
- 25% increase in employee retention rate due to onboarding programs
- Onboarding sets the foundation for high job satisfaction, good experience and employee engagement. So, by investing in creating a strong onboarding practice you are helping business enhance new hire retention and productivity.
So, why and how is Blended Learning relevant for onboarding?
Because it allows you to take what you are already doing regarding onboarding and setting up the process to be even more successful, effective and convenient. With a blended learning solution you get to incorporate the perfect mix of different training types. In other words, you take the best of face-to-face training and mix it with digital training.
What is Blended Learning exactly?
Let’s revisit Wikipedia definition quickly:
“Blended learning is an approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with traditional place-based classroom methods. It requires the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some elements of student control over time, place, path, or pace.”
When it comes to digital learning, the “place-based classroom methods” is often replaced by webinars or virtual kick-offs, making the learning even more accessible and convenient. Blended learning, also referred to as hybrid learning, usually involves:
- Partly online learning where employees are able to manage the pace at which they learn
- Partly instructor-led learning, usually conducted through webinars, allowing remote learners to engage more easily
- Essentially - through blended learning - your onboarding program becomes an integrated learning experience that is convenient for the learner, and more time-efficient and cost-effective for you, the hiring manager and the organization overall.
Onboarding Process: Think ‘before, during, after‘
When deciding on your final blended version, here is a helpful approach:
- Divide your onboarding experience into different phases:
Before Day 1, First week, and First Month/First Quarter
- Decide on which parts of the learning experience that should be online and classroom-based
The Swedish Real Estate Group Svensk Fastighetsförmedling converted their traditional onboarding of 5 classroom training days in Stockholm into a Blended Onboarding. They successfully transformed this intense introduction period into a digital ‘Preboarding’ phase with a following 2-day classroom training. Result: More cost-effective onboarding that engages new hires early on.
“The moment new hires sign their contract that’s when they are most excited and eager to learn everything about their new workplace. That is why we decided to run the onboarding as a preboarding, giving them the opportunity to learn and talk to other colleagues in their network before their first day at the office. That way they become brand ambassadors early in the process”, says Dan Sjöholm, Svensk Fastighetsförmedling
Here are 7 steps to create and launch your digital onboarding
- Know your onboarding goal
Before you jump in and plan (or re-do) content, it’s important to know why you’re onboarding your employees – what is the goal? Yes, you want your new hires to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors in order to add value and do a great job. But what exactly do you want to achieve with the onboarding program: Expectations for the learner? Which skills should the learner gain? What brand experience should they have before day 1? Etc.
- Use what you already have
If you’re already offering a traditional onboarding program in your organization you’re off to a great start. Start with what you have and build from there. Here at Learnifier we usually recommend to work like most agile teams: Create and iterate continuously. You launch what you currently have in place, and from there you optimize based on feedback from new hires, employees, and hiring managers.
- Define what to digitize and not
Think blending. There is a great opportunity to increase engagement and convenience while saving time and money. What could you possibly take from your class-room training and convert into online training? Focus on the parts which are information-oriented rather than related to relationship building. Most new hires appreciate if you involve them already before day 1 via a digital ‘preboarding’. Valuable content being videos about the company culture, practical information, team, key tools training, etc.
- Decide on the right tools
Goals, content, meetings, timelines are all significant aspects to plan. But in order to execute smoothly and offer a successful onboarding experience you want to choose a modern tool. Assess if you current HR system can deliver a seamless onboarding experience for new hires (who still do not have a corporate email address). Ideally you would want a tool that empower you to easily create a learning journey, upload content and video, and create fun quizzes. Make sure the tool also allows you to work smarter by offering automated messaging and triggers to activate your new hires
- Design the onboarding flow
Having defined your blended learning setup, it is time to get into the nitty-gritty of the onboarding experience. If you love story boards and post-it notes this is where you map it out and get creative. Key questions to answer are: What would help the new hire stay excited, informed and connected - before, during, and after his/her first day? Who in HR and which performers in the organization could help contribute - in the process and delivering content? What kind of content needs to be in place in order to maximize the value of face-to-face meetings (in other words: The perfect blend)?
- Set up your learning content
Now that you have your onboarding flow in place, it is time to review and place your content. Keep in mind that new hires will be using both his/her mobile and laptop when onboarding. Create a mix of light ‘easy-to-watch-n-learn’ content like video and more substantial content like intros to key tools. A quick win is to break down learning content from your class-room training and hand-pick elements that are more informational. The company Great Leaders is doing a nice job in their leadership training when introducing the DISC model. Through Blended learning, all employees get to familiarize themselves with the DISC model digitally first. That way, the goal of the class-room training is to practice and deepen the understanding of how to use the DISC model. Finally, they’ve added great online ‘post-learning’ content to ensure that knowledge transforms into practice.
- Launch (and iterate)
Progress is the goal, not perfection. Even if your onboarding is not complete, we urge you to ship and launch. Internal reviews and evaluation rounds might get you to the next level. However, it will not get you direct feedback from your most important audience: Your new hires. From here, you get the opportunity to iterate, refine, and create more. If you can build your onboarding - using blended learning - in weeks, imagine what you can achieve optimizing and extending the program by the end of the year. We get it - it might seem scary to push the launch button after just weeks of work. But we are here to reassure you that your new hires will thank you for taking fast action.