What is employee onboarding, and what does it have to do with your learning management system?

The process of onboarding exists to help new hires join the workforce as smoothly and confidently as possible. At the same time, onboarding programs give employers insight into new recruits and their potential, tracking individual performance and detecting skill gaps. Here are some key knowledge points that new employees need to receive during onboarding:

  • Company mission and values
  • Company history
  • Introduction to products and services
  • Organization-wide hierarchy and processes
  • On-the-job responsibilities
  • Workplace safety regulations, etc.

The key challenges of enterprise onboarding

An effective onboarding strategy works to improve employee engagement by addressing individual pain points, as well as fostering a collaborative learning environment. However, in deploying such a strategy companies have to face a number of serious challenges.

First off, in large-scale businesses with numerous new hires, onboarding can create significant costs for the employer. In that same vein, mass onboarding requires significant resources, such as experienced members of staff taking on mentoring duties and balancing those with their regular responsibilities.

Training on the same topics or for the same position needs to be standardized and consistent to yield good results. And to yield good results at scale, the onboarding strategy needs to be scalable.

Lastly, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown its own wrench in the works for HR departments everywhere. The companies that previously made do with in-person training of new recruits are finding it increasingly difficult in the times of social distancing and work from home.

It’s plain to see that every challenge mentioned above is also an argument in favor of online onboarding. Let’s look at why companies can benefit from moving their onboarding programs to an enterprise learning platform.

Why it’s easier to engage and retain new hires with your LMS

If you already have an enterprise LMS or are in the process of developing one, you should consider the advantages of implementing online onboarding functionality.

Time and cost efficiency. As opposed to live orientation meetings, online training can save the employer a considerable amount of time and money. There’s no need for mentors to be distracted every time a new hire requires a basic introduction course; it can be shared via the LMS account and become the foundation stone of future professional development.

Streamlined tracking and assessment. Tracking tools within the LMS help to track individual performance and KPIs with precision; encouraging accountability among your new staff. An LMS can also generate reports about an employee’s onboarding progress, allowing the employer to adjust training plans on personal and organizational levels.

Easier content management. In an LMS, all training content is at your fingertips, ready to be updated and edited at any time to accommodate new policies and ensure compliance across the organization. This way, the issue of standardization can be tackled head-on: all new hires will be using the same materials no matter when they start training.

Scaling and personalization. A unified online source of training materials makes it much easier both to scale the onboarding process and personalize it. By leveraging tailored learning paths, employers can create onboarding courses that target the recruit’s role and seniority. At the same time, reusing modular content helps to cover whole batches of new employees simultaneously.

LMS features to focus on for effective onboarding

So what are the features of enterprise learning management systems that can contribute to onboarding? A lot depends on your business needs and restrictions such as the experience of your recruits, their number, how tech-savvy your HR employees are, what kind of onboarding budget you can afford, and so on. For example, if you routinely deal with hundreds of new hires across several offices, a smooth integration between your enterprise LMS and your HR system would save you a lot of hassle.

We will look at a handful of LMS features that HR experts typically find useful for implementing onboarding workflows.

1. As mentioned above, an LMS that allows combining separate courses and modules into learning paths for separate business units and job roles is a great foundation for onboarding.

2. An engaging onboarding program makes use of diverse types of content, including, for example, pre-recorded videos, explanatory text and images, virtual classrooms, VR lessons, chatbots, and more.

3. To give your new employees the best tools to succeed, it’s important to track and address gaps in performance in a timely manner. Strong reporting functionality with automated report generation and data visualization can help employers in that regard.

4. Learning management platforms that make content available on mobile have a wider outreach and can be especially valuable for so-called pre-onboarding programs that new hires can join even before they start working.

5. Just as mentors and learners benefit from a simple and clear-cut interface, new recruits need their onboarding course to be simple and easy to navigate when the new environment still seems intimidatingly confusing.

6. Built-in course creation tools in an LMS will allow onboarding managers to leverage learning materials on their own without additional training, including interactive tasks, quizzes, video tutorials, PowerPoint slides, FAQs, etc.

7. An LMS with a social component that provides each user with a personal profile simplifies the task of introducing a new person to their new team via messages, discussion forums, Q&As with subject matter experts, and similar communication opportunities.

Last thoughts

It’s in the interest of every employer to make new workers comfortable and motivated starting on Day One. Personal contact is important, but there’s no reason to ignore the potential of digital tools and online learning.

If you’re looking to scale and improve your onboarding approach, consider using an LMS as a springboard and you will find that such platforms are well-suited to support an entire range of activities around educating and motivating the workforce.

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