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8 Tips on How to Create an Effective Onboarding eLearning Program in 2020

Rachel Maltese
Updated October 8 2020
L&D specialist running onboard e-learning
Rachel Maltese
Updated October 8 2020

The purpose of onboarding is to welcome new employees and make sure they have the tools they need to succeed at their jobs. But onboarding isn’t just about providing a corporate handbook and a to-do list. Rather, it’s the first impression a company makes on its most valuable resource – its employees.

 

Onboard training can and should include not just a list of rules, but an introduction to your company’s strategy and culture. Onboarding should also give your new employee everything they need to know about the performance review process and available career development tracks.

 

This sets up onboard learning as more than a set of expectations. Instead, it gives the employee a roadmap to success. This can improve performance and retention, which is especially critical when as many as 1 in 3 employees leave an organization within a year of joining. And if you think that’s bad, remember that it can cost as much as $18,000 to replace an employee who quits.

 

Making the onboarding process engaging – and making sure employees retain the information in it – can be a challenge. Even the most diligent employee may be inclined to throw onboard learning materials in a drawer in an attempt to hit the ground running. But onboarding provides a critical foundation to performance and skipping over it won’t yield anyone the best results.

 

So how can you create an onboard training program that will reduce those turnover risks? Look to eLearning!

virtual classroom for onboarding e-learning

What is eLearning?

eLearning is exactly what it sounds like: Education provided through digital resources such as websites and video. While some people may associate eLearning only with academic contexts, online learning tools are extremely valuable in the corporate environment and are especially well-suited to onboarding. eLearning is also growing in popularity, and Kaltura Meeting, a video conferencing and collaboration platform, can help simplify onboarding.

What are the specific advantages of eLearning onboarding?

There are several key advantages to using online training for onboarding. These include an engaging format that provides a lean forward experience, the ability for the employee to go through the onboarding material at their own pace, and evaluation tools that allow you to see the progress the employee is making through analytics and/or quizzing.

 

Using eLearning onboarding also allows you to standardize the employee orientation process across your organization, making sure everyone is able to get off to a great – and equal – start.

 

Finally, an onboarding plan that is centered around eLearning means that employee onboarding can happen as soon as your new hire starts and doesn’t have to wait until you have the right staff available.

How can you create an effective onboarding eLearning program?

When creating an effective onboard learning program, you’ll want to make sure you welcome your new employee, introduce them to your company’s culture and values, address expectations, give them the information they’ll need to do their job, and let them know about corporate supports available to them. You’ll also want to use onboarding as a way to deal with administrative issues and paperwork like signing up for benefits plans and making sure you have emergency contact information on file.

 

Thankfully, eLearning provides lots of different ways to make this type of onboard training content interesting.

 

Here are 8 tips to help you develop an effective onboarding eLearning program in 2020:

1. Break up your onboard training into bite-size pieces

One of the biggest challenges to onboarding is how overwhelming it can be to new employees. By breaking up onboarding eLearning content into smaller, bite-size units, new hires have time to digest material. They also will be more readily able to see their progress through the onboarding course.

2. Create an onboard learning program with a flexible schedule

Developing an onboarding eLearning course that doesn’t have to be taken all at once allows an employee to be more effectively integrated into your organization. While the first day on onboard training can include essential policies and paperwork, mixing in ongoing onboarding activities as they begin to take on their regular responsibilities can help provide support and highlight that the company is there to support them throughout their career, not just on their first days of work.

 

Ultimately, while onboarding is concentrated in the first days of an employee starting, regular check-ins and onboarding activities should be part of a new hire’s responsibilities across their first 90 days of employment.

3. Use video to help your new employees feel more connected

Video is far more engaging than just asking employees to read onboarding manuals. In fact, a recent survey found that employees strongly favor video as a way to learn. Not only that, video is a great way to for employees to be introduced to corporate executives in a way that feels personal and direct, but not intimidating.

infographic showing how employees prefer video for learning and development

While these benefits of onboarding eLearning programs are always great, they are particularly essentially in 2020, when many of us are working from home more due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those of us in companies with offices in many locations, reduced travel has also underscored the need for video to make up for a reduction in in-person face-to-face communication.

4. Personalized communication can help build a sense of inclusion and value

While your eLearning onboarding materials should be standardized across your organization, they can also be personalized to employee roles and even individual employees. By creating your onboard training program in a modular way, you can make sure each new employee only needs to cover the materials that are relevant to them.

video emails for meetings and onboarding

Additionally, video email can also be used to encourage employees through the onboarding eLearning process and allow them to reach out to Human Resources and new colleagues in a way that’s less formal and more connected.

5. Don’t forget to provide corporate background information

Onboarding isn’t just about job training and setting expectations for employee behavior. It’s also about making sure the employee understands their new employee. After all, regardless of their role, every staff member is a representative for your organization and should be able to give an elevator pitch on the company, its mission, and its successes.

6. Online quizzes can help evaluate training success

Including quizzes in your onboard training materials has several valuable benefits.

 

Most obviously, quizzes help verify that new employees have absorbed and retained information. This can be helpful in making sure new hires understand the policies they have agreed to and may also have compliance applications.

 

Virtual learning quizzes are also effective at creating a sense of success and achievement as new employees go through the onboarding process. They can help an employee measure their progress and also serve as clear demarcations between one topic and the next.

Quizzes are also a key part of creating a lean-forward experience that requires new hires to directly engage with the eLearning onboarding program, versus just letting it run in the background and tuning out.

 

When creating online quizzes for your onboarding eLearning program, remember that quizzes can be creative. Don’t just use quizzes to ask your new employees to regurgitate facts, but create questions that allow them to roleplay challenging scenarios and engage in problem-solving around their responsibilities.

7. Analytics offer insights into what may need more review

Quizzes, however, aren’t the only way to evaluate how an employee is moving through the onboard training. Analytics provide insight. In fact, Kaltura’s analytics allow your company to look at which materials have been viewed, how frequently, and by who can help provide important data that goes way beyond employee performance.

 

If analytics show that staff have watched a particular part of the onboard learning video trainings multiple times, this may indicate an area of confusion or concern. This may need to be addressed with employees or could suggest that additional materials or clarification is needed.

8. Don’t view onboarding as “one and done.”

Many employees may not be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the onboarding eLearning program your company offers them until they begin their regular duties. For this reason, you may want to ask for employee feedback on the onboard training experience not just at the end of the program, but after they have been on the job for thirty days, ninety days, and beyond. This can give you additional insight into retention and provide ways to further expand the program in the future.

Conclusion

Onboarding through eLearning allows for more in-depth training of new employees while also taking the unique challenges of 2020 into account. Video and interactivity create a personalized and connected experience – something we could all use more of these days! — helping to foster loyalty to your organization and improve job performance.

The Quick Guide to Corporate Training

Want to look deeper into improving your onboarding and e-learning?

Read the whitepaper "The Quick Guide to Corporate Training."