Onboarding is one of the most critical steps in the entire employee life cycle.
According to the Brandon Hall Group, companies with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. And yet, in many companies, it is still not treated seriously – and that’s a mistake. Onboarding should be seen as an opportunity to bring new hires up to speed fast, arm them with exactly what they need to know on day one, and give them a roadmap of what to expect in the first few months of their employee trajectory. To get the most out of onboarding, you also need to treat it formally. As statistics show, 77% of new hires who hit their first performance milestone had a formal onboarding training.
More and more businesses now use a learning management system (LMS) to implement employee onboarding. An LMS facilitates the creation and storage of courses and learning pathways and makes enrollment simple. The key benefits of using an LMS for onboarding are the great opportunity to automate the process and the potential savings in time, effort, and cost.
Here’s how you can put employee onboarding on autopilot with an LMS
1. Plan Your Onboarding Training
Begin by identifying the point where you consider your employees to be fully onboarded and then plan backward to work out what needs to happen to get them across that line.
Many businesses consider employees onboarded when they have been made aware of key company policies and procedures regarding IT Systems, Code of Conduct, HR processes, and the key responsibilities of their role.
Of course, each business is different, and It’s up to you to decide when you consider your employees onboarded. Consider designing your onboarding as part of a wider roadmap that breaks down roles and responsibilities over different time periods.
2. Create Your Onboarding Training in the LMS
Next, it's time to create the content for your onboarding program. Depending on the LMS you choose, you may wish to create the courseware either by using an inbuilt authoring tool, importing existing content, or building custom eLearning using a standalone authoring tool.
Whichever method you choose, it's a great idea to use a mix of materials to keep your new employees interested and engaged. Upload all your learning materials to the LMS - in this way you will have a central repository of content with built-in security and version control.
Once the content is created, it’s a good idea to organize it into learning paths that allow you to offer tailored onboarding experiences to different types of employees. This will also provide the learners with a clear visualization of their progress and what they still need to do to reach the goal.
3. Schedule Your Training
How you schedule your onboarding will depend on what kind of program you designed in Step 1 and what kind of LMS content you created in Step 2.
It may be that you have a blended solution where some parts are delivered online via e-learning and some parts are live training, so you will need to take this into account when setting up your LMS scheduling and set up any necessary live sessions in the calendar.
Regardless, a good LMS for onboarding will make scheduling easy by allowing you to set up recurring instances of your program, for example, on the first Monday of every month, and to add additional sessions on the fly as required. At this point, you can also offer any different learning paths and set up due dates for the different stages of the path.
Once you have your basic scheduling set up, it’s time to enroll your new starters.
4. Add and Enroll Your New Employees
The ideal onboarding LMS should provide a number of different ways to easily enroll your employees, and this will likely be done using one of three main methods:
- Automatic enrollment: Set up a trigger in the LMS so that when a new employee record is added, they are automatically enrolled in the next available session of the onboarding course.
- Manual enrolment: The new employee is manually enrolled on a scheduled onboarding session by an LMS administrator / HR person or another designated team member.
- Self-enrollment: When the new employee is added/enabled directly on the LMS or via a trigger from HR or other systems, they will receive a notification to enroll for an onboarding session. This method is particularly useful for organizations with high staff turnover having multiple onboarding sessions on a monthly set schedule.
5. Check Results & Metrics
An LMS typically has a robust analytics and reporting engine, and helps to automate tracking of completions and results of your programs, so you can keep a close eye on learners' progress and the results of any tests or assessments.
6. Review and Revise
Another advantage of the reporting and analytics is that you can see the quality of the results that your onboarding programs are delivering. It’s a good idea to review your program bi-annually and adjust the content, scheduling, number of sessions offered, and the assessment and completion metrics, so you can continuously improve your onboarding.
To Sum Up
With an LMS and good learning materials, it's easy to turn onboarding into an exciting process for new hires and help them acquire needed knowledge, skills, and behaviors much faster.
David Brandt, author of the LMSchef blog, is an independent LMS consultant with 10 years of experience in the selection and implementation of learning management solutions in a business environment. David helps companies develop and implement learning technology strategies that meet their learning needs.
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