In a pandemic period, eLearning’s importance as an onboarding solution has been proven again and again. In this article, we examine three ways in which eLearning can strengthen and replace a blended approach to onboarding new hires—whatever the next decade will bring.

The benefits of a good onboarding program are obvious: you can create an exciting and welcoming first impression while reinforcing your brand values and introducing your learner to your business goals.

But what does a good onboarding experience actually look like, and what role does eLearning have to play in delivering it? A poll conducted in Gomo’s ‘easy onboarding’ webinar suggested that 79% have had to adapt their onboarding programs as a result of staff working from home, with eLearning the preferred go-to option.

Returning to look at what constitutes a good onboarding experience, we believe it:

  • Starts before the first day (pre-boarding).
  • Persists throughout probation—and ideally beyond.
  • Isn’t overwhelming: new information is carefully managed and follows microlearning best practices.
  • Involves plenty of two-way communication and regular check-ins.
  • Isn’t just about paperwork and compliance: the sooner you start covering parts of the actual job, the sooner you will engage your employee.
  • Requires subject matter expertise: the HR team alone will struggle to cover job specifics.
  • Has a social element: establishing friendships and spending time with colleagues is an important factor for many employees.
  • Is transparent: new hires should have an idea of what is coming up and how they are progressing, preferably via a structured plan or checklist.
  • Has a self-service element: new hires should be able to go somewhere to remind themselves about processes, people, and how to do certain tasks.

As we’ll see, eLearning provides a fast, easy, effective, and scalable route to many of these tasks.

Looking instead for a discussion of how to introduce your team to a new authoring tool? Try this blog: ‘How to Introduce a New eLearning Authoring Tool: Your First 3 Steps’.

Example of a brand template implementation - Rentokil, within Gomo

Step 1: Play to eLearning’s natural onboarding strengths

eLearning naturally fits into your delivery of onboarding material.

It’s a perfect fit for the large volume of compliance content employees must work through in their first weeks—health and safety, anti-corruption, cyber-security and data protection, and beyond. This type of content is easy to replicate and scale across every new hire, and your authoring tool will make it simple to create, maintain, and monitor.

eLearning has a much bigger role to play than this, however.

It can be an effective and easy way of training your employees in processes and typical tasks, providing supporting information, FAQs, and product knowledge. Your new employees are more likely to hit the ground running if they can access this kind of information in their moment of need. eLearning courses are the most effective way of helping employees pick up your way of working and their responsibilities (especially compared to referring to a job description or a disorganized Word document).

Design elements such as themes, images, and video can let you help new hires quickly pick up on your culture as they learn. Though a specific “meet the team” segment would be helpful, you could also use media featuring your workplace and their colleagues regardless of your topic.

See it in action!

For more information on how Gomo-authored eLearning can be used as a springboard for a media-rich conversation about organizational culture, read our Fidelity UK case study.

It’s always worth keeping track of these materials and maintaining an easy-to-find library of them on your LMS, LXP, or intranet. This is not only because of the self-service opportunities for new hires, but because individuals in other areas of the business could benefit professionally from having other programs of work available.

Also on the blog: ‘Remote Working Challenges: A Shareable Resource On How to Work From Home

Step 2: How eLearning could help with pre-boarding

Before a new employee’s first day, you should be seizing the opportunity to engage and integrate them. This activity should naturally be quite light—you’re not yet paying them for their time, after all!

But pre-boarding can help you provide a steady flow of new information without overwhelming new hires.

Did you know…

It’s been suggested that companies who take advantage of pre-boarding retain four-fifths of first-year hires.

Typical pre-boarding activities include sending HR paperwork and employee handbooks—the kind of thing employees may browse at their leisure before arriving but would feel unnecessarily rushed through on the morning of their first day.

Though important, HR paperwork and handbooks aren’t necessarily the most exciting materials to receive. eLearning tools could be used to create presentation materials that help raise anticipation a little more. For example, you could create a version of the employee handbook. This course could present an opportunity to “meet the team” and be welcomed through pre-recorded video (by at least the CEO or MD). Your new hire could find out about their office and other relevant locations, and be reassured and informed about what they can expect in the next few weeks.

The emphasis for pre-boarding is on informing rather than testing. This is a technology and security consideration as much as it is a content one. For example, Gomo allows you to share an eLearning course link with anyone. You can easily build a quiz for entertainment purposes, even if it may be difficult to trace as-yet-unregistered users.

Speaking of quizzes, why not read our blog: ‘6 Practical Tips for Applying Assessment and Quiz Data to Your eLearning Content

A screenshot showing a man in a call center as part of a Domestic and General as part of a gomo learning eLearning history eLearning course

Step 3: How eLearning can help in other areas

Some ideas in our list may seem less relevant to eLearning—particularly regular check-ins, and a “social element”. However, it’s worth noting that at the time of writing, many businesses are still dealing with workforces under COVID-19 restrictions, and a new future of more flexible work seems increasingly likely once those restrictions are lifted.

Try this:

eLearning still has a role in promoting a sense of belonging for new hires: try using colleagues in video and image-based content.

Other tech will allow us to keep checking in and socializing with our new hires as part of a blended learning approach. Nonetheless, the fact that these once relatively effortless methods of inclusion are that much more complicated just makes it more important to get all other aspects of onboarding right.

Discover More About eLearning Authoring’s Role In Efficient and Effective Onboarding

This article is an extract from our guide ‘How an Authoring Tool Can Improve Your Onboarding ROI’. Continuing reading to discover the small design choices that give big results, and how to assess the success of your onboarding:

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