How Modern Learning Can Optimize Employee Onboarding
Modern learning tools like bite-sized learning can help organizations close the communication gap when onboarding.
Just how important is the employee onboarding process for a business, you ask? In a word, “very.” According to a number of recent studies, it may be one of the best chances you have to improve retention, reduce turnover, and give a much-needed boost to both the performance and productivity of those employees, essentially all at the same time.
Consider, for example, the fact that employees are 58% more likely to stay with a company for three or more years if they experience a great onboarding process. In an era where the average cost to replace an employee is a minimum 30% of that person’s salary and could span to 150% depending on the type of position, this is a very important element to focus on. But it’s equally important to understand that organizations with a standard onboarding process tend to experience up to 50% greater retention over the long-term than those without.
These are just a few of the statistics that point to this process’ importance. Rest assured that there are many, many more.
But it’s equally important to remember that when it comes to onboarding, there isn’t necessarily a “one size fits all” approach that you should use. This isn’t a process about criticism. It’s about empowerment. Everything must be tailored not only to the people you’re working with but also towards the type of employees you need them to one day become. Creating a more specific, customized and forward-thinking approach won’t just help the process go as smoothly as possible, it will also help the process go as quickly as possible. Modern learning can help by allowing organizations to enable stronger communication.
Here are some essential ways that modern learning can help close the communication gap during the employee onboarding process.
The Power of Modern Learning for Onboarding
One of the most essential ways that modern learning tools and solutions can help enable stronger communication and create a faster onboarding process for new employees is by helping organizations to quickly and easily address the “soft skills gap” that exists with many new applicants.
According to the Association for Talent Development, the following soft skills gaps are ones that many business leaders say aren’t just modern day workforce challenges, but also represent a major threat to their entire organization if left unchecked:
- Process and project management skills, especially as they relate to managing multiple projects at once.
- Communication and interpersonal skills.
- Managerial skills.
- Critical thinking skills (also related to problem-solving skills).
- Leadership and/or executive-level skills.
An effective modern learning approach that can be used to address these types of challenges head-on is bite-sized learning, which is a term that describes a self-directed learning experience through which learners can access critical information in “short, focused and on-demand” content segments. In a lot of ways, it’s a “best of both worlds” situation: bite-sized learning can be incorporated into your existing onboarding procedures, but it can also be tailored to the specific applicant in a way that will help them close the unique gaps they may have when it comes to those aforementioned soft skills.
Bite-sized learning can produce significant results—giving organizations the ability to develop new hires who are better prepared to deal with fast-paced industry changes by enabling them to satisfy their specific learning needs on demand. Essentially, modern learning techniques like bite-sized learning help organizations address the fact that not all new hires are created equal. Yes, there are certain portions of the employee training and onboarding experience that will be applicable to everyone. After all, you need to make sure that the expectations of the position are properly communicated, that people understand the culture and environment that they’re coming into, etc.
But, “one-size-fits-all” onboarding workshops aren’t always effective because people learn at varying rates; one person’s strong suits might differ from another’s, as well as their weaknesses. You’re talking about a situation where multiple important concepts are all being taught to the same people in the exact same way all at once, which can be overwhelming for even the brightest candidates. Bite-sized learning, on the other hand, allows HR professionals to narrow their focus down to core issues to help bring a candidate up to speed on skills like managing multiple projects, how to best handle difficult conversations, how to manage their time in an effective way within the context of the specific business, and more.
It’s Not Just About Addressing the Gap. It’s About Understanding It
Another way organizations can use modern learning to close the communication gap during employee onboarding is by empowering functional leaders to onboard their employees based on the unique role they occupy within their respective teams. Organizations will always have to deal with certain skills gaps when it comes to any new hires to an organization, regardless of whether they are making a lateral move within the same industry. Your business is probably very different from your new hire’s previous employer, even if that employer happened to be one of your core competitors.
Modern learning allows functional leaders to partner directly with their HR business partners to understand A) what specific skills or communications gaps exist within particular candidates, which B) puts them in a better position to address those issues in an organic way. Modern learning techniques and tools can create a more personalized level of learning, allowing HR departments to break free from the “one size fits all” box to which they’ve traditionally confined candidates. Instead of all candidates being assessed equally, more care can be given to the individual and their particular strengths, skill gaps, and weaknesses.
Easy-to-use web-based content creation and curation tools, for example, can allow organizations to offer up custom learning content that’s not only tailored to a new hire’s particular role within the organization, but that’s also based on specific skills gaps that need to be “plugged.” Other modern learning tools like social-inspired activity feeds, discussion boards, mobile enablement and video learning tools can be brought together to create a holistic experience, making sure that a new employee’s education doesn’t exist in a silo. Instead of learning in a vacuum, candidates can be put in a better position to share and exchange ideas with one another, helping them to help each other as they acclimatize to life in a new role at a new organization.
In the end, modern learning is more than just a collection of tools to be wielded during the employee onboarding process; it represents a much more holistic approach to onboarding than ever before. Remember: new employees of companies who went through a very specific, structured and education-focused onboarding program were 58% more likely to still be with that organization three years later. This stat alone illustrates why modern learning is so important when it comes to employee onboarding.
Onboarding is about more than just conveying expectations and making sure that a candidate is the right fit for your culture, although it’s certainly true that these things are critical. Rather, it’s about putting your own HR teams in a better position to mold the type of employees you need as quickly as possible, giving everyone involved the absolute best chance at “hitting the ground running.” By leveraging modern learning tools and strategies to facilitate collaborative and personalized self-led learning opportunities, and ultimately create a culture where “always on” learning is a core component of your organization’s DNA, your HR teams can act more as guides and sources of information for new employees, empowering and inspiring them to shape themselves into the type of employee you and they wish to be.
Reuben Yonatan is the founder and CEO of GetVoIP, VoIP comparison resource that helps companies understand and choose a business communication solution for their specific needs. Reuben helps SMBs align business strategy with culture and improve overall corporate infrastructure. Follow him on Twitter @ReubenYonatan