Employee Onboarding: Maximize Success with Blended Learning
New hires are expensive. Businesses know it. The process goes through several steps – search, screen, interview, select and onboarding. Not only is recruitment expensive but is also time-consuming. Already it takes a lot to find the right candidates. On the top, if onboarding isn’t done smoothly, employee engagement and ultimately retention are doomed.
First impression counts. It’s as critical when onboarding as anywhere else. Lack of quality and clarity often leads to frustrating impression of your employer brand. New hires are confused about their roles and responsibilities. They aren’t confident in their position. Many employees report leaving or losing a job because of insufficient training.
According to the SHRM Foundation¹, strategic onboarding helps employees adjust into the new roles they take. The majority of employees say they stay with a company longer if onboarding and training are organized and comprehensive. Moreover, how they facilitate their own transition upon joining the organization matters equally.
However, often it’s not possible to pull employees off from work to provide them with the training. In such a scenario, combining offline and online learning can prove to be beneficial for both employer and employees. Blended learning, in other words, can successfully accommodate their learning needs at the time of onboarding as well as in future during their tenure with the company.
Onboarding Using Blended Learning
1. Balance Learning Needs with Time and Resources
Blended learning is a way of delivering instruction through physical, face-to-face classroom methods combined with computer-mediated activities. In other words, it’s a combination of offline and online learning delivery methods. Online onboarding can solve many of training issues.
Blended learning can be of great help in pushing learning while significantly saving the time and other resources. In fact, if handled the right way, it balances the learning needs of new hires and resources of the company. Your LMS plays a crucial role here. The right technology helps organization, sorting and structuring of the content, freeing up a lot of time, allowing employees to check in anytime and learn from anywhere from any device at their convenience.
Training new hires is important, but piling a lot of information in the beginning can be overwhelming. New employees also need to spend time with existing staff to integrate into an organization, but at the same time existing staff members have their own work, too. A balance can be hard to achieve.
How do you provide all the information a new employee needs? How do you keep your existing staff from having to do too much extra work?
A blended solution answers all these questions.
- New hires are present for some physical learning and meet-and-greet sessions.
- Basic and function-specific information can be handled via online courses.
- In-person sessions can focus more on engagement activities or complex questions
2. Online Onboarding: Provide for Different Learning Styles
Online learning is a great way to provide for different learning styles. You LMS lets your trainers deliver materials that engage all types of learners. Auditory learners hear knowledge in videos and in-person training. Text learners read online content. Visual learners see images and charts online and on-site. The night owls consume learning from the comfort of their beds and early birds right in the morning. Those who are travel freaks have the option to learn on-the-go.
Address the needs of active and reflective learners
Blended solutions also help enterprises reach both active and reflective learners. Active learners need action-based activities. Action-based activities include hands-on application or an opportunity to discuss and explain information to someone else. These activities let active learners fully digest and retain knowledge. Reflective learners tend to consider information on their own better. Reflective learners understand and retain knowledge best when they can consider it quietly. Reflective learners don’t usually want to jump right into hands-on activities. Online training can offer choices. Choices let new employees work at their own pace, helping them better learn and retain new information.
Enterprises can even offer more than one option for measuring progress:
- Some employees perform well when given written tests.
- Other employers perform best with scenario analysis or verbal discussion.
By incorporating multiple assessment tools, management gets a better idea of the capabilities of new hires. This makes it less likely someone will be left alone to accomplish a task they are simply not ready for.
- Fosters a higher level of trust across staff.
- Minimizes the chance of early burnout or confusion.
- Reduces the stress new employees feel to perform.
- Increases employee ability to incorporate and use knowledge.
3. Standardize Processes
Onboarding training online helps organizations standardize what can be a complex and confusing process. Since online training can be used time and again, companies need to standardize processes. One example is publishing a training manual. You can publish the manual once online and not have to work with it again. Any updates are made across the board for all employees in real time. This is true no matter how many people are hired or trained at a time. Using the same training manual for each hire means everyone gets the same information, and there is less confusion.
The concept is the same as a fast food restaurant. McDonald’s, for example, uses a standard process. All hamburgers are made the same way at all locations. That means a customer always gets a hamburger that tastes the same. They always know what to expect. Similarly, when employees are delivered the same info in the same manner, there persists less confusion.
4. Create Efficiency
Integrating on-site and online learning creates efficiency. Traditionally, organizations begin onboarding procedures at a certain time. They might start each week. Some organizations launch onboarding monthly. This lets human resource and training staff work with groups of new hires in an organized fashion.
In-person, scheduled training can delay the learning of new hires, though. This means positions are open and departments are short-handed, reducing productivity.
Online options let enterprises begin training new hires immediately. As soon as a new hire is confirmed, they can receive access to online training materials. Even sending a welcome email with introductory pictures of other staff can help create engagement.
Online options can be used to:
- Inform new hires about the company.
- Provide detailed information about the position.
- Introduce a new person to the team.
Providing this information online makes it easier for staff to fit in quickly. Photos of fellow workers mean new employees feel like they already know people. They also know who to go to with questions. The new employee is more likely to ask questions and feel like part of the team sooner.
According to CareerBuilder, about 60 percent of employees understand skills are learned while doing the work. That doesn’t mean employers are off the hook for training. Around half of workers say training is a responsibility for both employees and employers.
As an employer, taking your responsibility seriously and using all possible resources to meet the needs of your employees strengthens your retention rate and bottom line.