How can a Learning Management System (LMS) and other digital learning technologies help organisations to deliver engaging and memorable induction programmes?
We need to make every new starter’s induction informative, memorable, engaging and inspiring enough for them to feel that they have landed a fulfilling job with a great employer.
The induction experience for new starters can vary enormously depending on who is delivering it and how they feel on the day. It can be labour intensive on both sides and cause real problems.
By delivering a digital induction programme you can reduce the strain on those involved and ensure that the right messages are communicated accurately, consistently and effectively – you can even make it fun!
Communicating culture, enthusiasm and vision is key to a successful induction. Some of this can be done by the choice of content given to new starters, some by the way it is delivered and some by good old fashioned face-to-face contact with positive and enthusiastic work colleagues.
Before day 1
First of all, I’d like to highlight the value of what I call ‘pre-start’ training. New starters are likely to be enthusiastic and eager to learn about their new employer. Subject to any security and confidentiality concerns, there may be some good opportunities to meet their natural desire to get started with well prepared and presented background and preparatory learning.
The topics will, of course, vary from company to company and role to role, but the main aim here is to tap into a new starter’s enthusiasm for the new role and their desire to learn, and to meet them where they are. The relatively high cost of creating eLearning might encourage a focus on a generic set of company introduction materials for them to do at home, or when travelling. But it is important to provide good quality, engaging materials that new starters will actually enjoy working through. This approach can save time and encourage the right motivational approaches from the outset.
A new starter joins and is presented with the standard induction pack. Traditionally such packs have tended to veer towards two extremes – the ‘sheep-dip’ method and the ‘gently-gently’ approach.
The sheep-dip sits you in a corner with a mound of papers and manuals to read. The experience is inevitably both boring and unhelpful. The information may be accurate, but all too often, the quantity is overwhelming and the format is tedious. The content is difficult to absorb and remember.
The gently-gently approach tries to persuade new starters that they are in a wonderful place. They wander around with little to do, are taken for a nice lunch, meet lots of people (whose names they immediately forget) and drink lots of coffee. Everyone carefully avoids telling them that at some stage they will be given real work to do.
Good inductions on the other hand takes time and planning to get right.
6 tips for powerful induction programmes
- Budget helps a lot. It may be obvious, but the larger the organisation, the more people need to be inducted and the more budget can be allocated.
- Planning and design are important, whatever the scale. Even if you’re only inducting a couple of new employees, you will naturally want to make their experience a positive and informative one.
- Smaller organisations can apply gamification ideas by deploying them in face-to-face training sessions and injecting some of their principles to strengthen the experience.
- If you are using technology (such as a learning management system or mobile learning Apps) to deliver some or all of your induction training it has to be slick and easy to use. It has to look good and be convenient to use.
- The delivery mechanism is important, but don’t lose sight of the content. It needs to be accurate, up to date, helpful, timely and engaging. A slick delivery system won’t disguise poor induction content. Resist the temptation to pile on too much information. This is an area where quality trumps quantity.
- It's relevant to more than just employees. These tips apply to other training programmes such as onboarding new distributors, customer and volunteer staff, and perhaps training suppliers in how to work with your organisation.
By thinking outside the confines of traditional staff induction sessions, you can harness technology to deliver a wide variety of learning and induction programmes, which your staff will remember. You will better equip them to succeed in your business.
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