New employee onboarding used to be a one-size-fits-all affair. In the past few years, organizations have begun to realize the importance of a holistic approach wielding cutting-edge, technology-based eLearning materials to ease the orientation process and set up new team members for later success.
The result of this collective epiphany is an evolution away from listless introductions and dry reading materials and toward personalized learning paths based on new hires’ knowledge gaps and individual goals.
Today’s onboarding process is all about imparting information in small doses through microlearning rather than barraging new hires with procedural manuals and hoping some of the info sticks. Tools such as video-based learning and gamification improve knowledge retention and employee engagement. This digital learning translates directly to higher competence and confidence in the office starting on day 1.
Optimize Onboarding with eLearning
Learning technologies are the new training tool of choice for onboarding new employees, with the global eLearning market expected to reach $325 billion by 2025. Virtual training software delivers material to all new hires regardless of physical location or other constraints, such as supervisor availability.
New employee turnover is a tough pill for management and HR to swallow, but strengthening your onboarding process could help increase your retention rates. A Bamboo HR study found that nearly one-third of new hires leave a job within 6 months, and of those, 21% blamed ineffective training. Tools such as learning management systems (LMSs) can help you build out a structured, nuanced onboarding process that will benefit both you and your new employee. An LMS adds a layer of personalization to the training process that allows recent hires to absorb information on their own terms and even interact with peers as they go. This kind of front-end support gives new employees a foundation for productivity, connection, and confidence in the office that will encourage them to stick around for the long haul.
LMS tools help streamline the new hire onboarding process for employers, too. Built-in reporting lets you monitor individuals’ progress and ensure that trainees are on track. You can offer supplemental training resources or adjust your online training strategy to fill in the knowledge gaps. Employee onboarding software provides bigger and better data so you can create concrete changes to improve onboarding return on investment (ROI) and employee satisfaction.
Find the Right Software Features
Reaping such benefits hinges on having an effective LMS and a solid implementation strategy. A training-needs analysis can help determine how learning technologies fit into the grand scheme of things. Once you’ve accomplished such steps as setting your budget and determining who will be responsible for setting up the LMS software, start the search for the best LMS tool for your training process. Keep the following six key features in mind during your selection process.
- User-friendly interface
First, the software has to be easy to access and navigate, even for new hires who aren’t tech-savvy. HR personnel and hiring directors should look for LMSs that offer a great user experience. Staff members should be able to quickly utilize the LMS platform to get the information they need. In addition, a responsive design that allows for multiplatform accessibility can unlock the full potential of your online training resources.
Personalized training paths allow new hires to choose online training resources, activities, and support tools that are relevant to them instead of being forced to participate in a generic program that might not effectively engage them. Many employee onboarding software solutions feature customizable training paths that automatically adjust based on the employee’s performance. For example, say a new hire isn’t performing as well as expected during a task simulation. The system will add some helpful online training modules and activities to bring him or her up to speed before moving on.
- Certification system
Certification support features help you track employee performance and verify that everyone meets certain standards throughout the training process. For instance, you can require all new team members to earn a company policy certificate to demonstrate that they are familiar with organizational protocols. In addition, safety certifications might reduce the risk of work-related accidents. You can even set up automatic renewals for employees to refresh and reinforce the knowledge on a timely basis.
- Assessment tools
A built-in assessment engine is an essential LMS feature for employee onboarding software. You can use diverse assessment and question templates to evaluate new hires’ knowledge and skills, then adjust your strategy to meet their individual needs. Systems can grade the assessments and offer personalized feedback so employees can seek out resources on their own to address any gaps.
Even when they offer little real-world value, badges, points, and leaderboards bring a level of fun and excitement to what can be an otherwise tedious process. But these game mechanics do more than add a boost to morale; they also enable new hires to gauge their progress. Harness this energy, and look for an LMS that offers gamification features and customizable rewards—preferably one that offers templates and themes you can use to develop eye-catching incentives that align with your brand image.
- Advanced reporting and analytics
When onboarding new employees, employers must be able to assess individual performance and pinpoint skill deficits quickly. LMSs with built-in reporting and analytics features allow you to monitor your onboarding program and each new hire’s development.
Once you’ve drafted an LMS must-have list that hits these targets and will work with your company’s training process, vet the vendors and look up online reviews to find the best candidates. Sign up for free demos to determine how the systems translate to the real world. Assess whether the features align with your objectives and the interface suits the skills and talents of your team. Make sure the software works for you.
One of the worst things an onboarding process can do is take new hires who are excited about a job at your company and dampen their spirits. With the right LMS, that danger will become as obsolete as your old manual in the three-ring binder.
Christopher Pappas is the founder of eLearning Industry, the largest online community of eLearning professionals in the world. Pappas established the company as a safe online community for eLearning professionals and instructional designers to connect and share their knowledge. Pappas holds an MBA and a Master of Education from Bowling Green State University. Connect with him on Twitter.