Breaking Down the Onboarding Challenge: How Personalized Learning is the Answer

Organizations are facing a tight talent market and retaining employees is becoming a huge business priority. One of the most critical periods for companies is the new-hire phase when the chances of losing an employee are higher than if they stay with the company for a while. This is one of the main reasons the onboarding process is so critical. Talent can be hard to find and expensive to replace. New hire retention is the number one metric that companies use for their onboarding programs.

Unfortunately, new-hire training is fraught with challenges. Often the onboarding process involves a disjointed and fragmented learning experience with one-size-fits-all training and too much information presented all at once. Managers are kept out of the loop, waiting for people to be fully onboarded and not engaging when it means the most. This can leave new hires discouraged rather than energized.

Business leaders need new hires to be up and running ASAP, but the process is often siloed and difficult to measure, leaving leaders with little insight. While leaders want their new hires to be ready to work ASAP, they lack insights into the onboarding process so it can be difficult to know what is working and what isn’t.

Brandon Hall Group Smartchoice® Preferred Provider Realizeit works with clients to completely transform how they approach onboarding and new hire training. They see it as a critical piece of a much larger, ongoing learning experience. Without that continuity, organizations risk low engagement among employees or even loss through attrition. Rather than a steady stream of forms and documents with some training sprinkled in, Realizeit has four key principles it applies to onboarding:

  1. Provide a great personalized experience
  2. Engage and motivate
  3. Provide support and oversight
  4. Evaluate and assess

Brandon Hall Group’s Impact of Onboarding Study finds that personalization is the number one feature companies want from their onboarding technology. Providing this kind of experience helps plug the employee into the organization and its culture, providing the “what’s in it for me” right out of the gate. This builds learner engagement early and sets the tone for the learning experience moving forward. 

New hires also need adequate support during this critical time. Most are not ready to “do it alone.” They need support from learning designers, trainers, and especially managers and supervisors. Building in this support provides coaching opportunities and gives learners a chance to provide feedback as well. I recently spent some time discussing this approach to onboarding with Realizeit CEO Manoj Kulkarni on a webinar. We talked about these four key new hire training elements and what goes into making them happen. We also talked about the critical need to transition from onboarding to ongoing learning to drive better retention and performance among new hires.

David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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David Wentworth