Onboarding and Beyond: Making Learning Continuous

In the wake of the Great Resignation, organizations are beginning to gear up for a Great Onboarding. The tide will shift as companies bring in new talent to fill gaps that emerged over the past year or so. 

To make the most of this shift, organizations must rethink their approach to onboarding. Far too often, it is seen as a transactional HR process that starts on Day One and ends as soon as possible. Employees are shuffled through an assembly line of silos from new-hire training, to compliance, to skill-building. It is a huge, missed opportunity.

A culture of learning begins during onboarding — if not before. Companies must build seamless learning experiences that are uniquely focused on exactly what the learner needs in that moment — whether it’s their first day or they are 10-year veterans developing leadership skills. 

An employee’s first experience with their learning journey cannot happen weeks or months after they’ve been hired. Employees have their first learning interactions during onboarding. These interactions must be engaging, relevant, and meaningful. Otherwise, the organization will be fighting an uphill battle for learner engagement from then on. New hires will assume all learning experiences are dry, redundant, or irrelevant and will need to be cajoled into engaging in learning further down the road.

Another reason it is critical that the continuous learning experience starts immediately is so L&D has as much knowledge and information about learners as possible. When creating personalization and relevance, a black hole where all the onboarding training occurred is a huge detriment. Incorporating onboarding training as part of the overall journey paints a much more complete picture and ensures the trajectory is more on-target over time.

At a time when companies seek to remove as much friction as possible from the ways people engage with learning, onboarding is a key place where friction abounds. Disjointed processes, functions, and systems keep new hires bouncing around until they are assimilated and set on their paths. The paths should be clearer from the beginning.

I recently hosted a webinar with the CEO of adaptive learning platform provider Realizeit, Manoj Kulkarni where we discussed just how companies can modernize their learning strategy to create a more continuous, personalized learning experience that starts on Day One. Watch the “Personalized Learning for Performance: From Onboarding to Ongoing” webinar recording

David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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David Wentworth



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