Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Onboarding - Business Building Strategy?

E-Learning - the Future of Onboarding
New hires, staff turnover, lateral moves, promotions and existing employees all need one thing…a consistent vision and understanding of an organization’s values and mission. We espouse these business mantras to our customers through a variety of online tools, yet we omit delivering these important principles to our most valued asset, our employees.

Using your orientation or onboarding program as a means of motivating, creating skills and creating a common vision can be a powerful tool for growth when used effectively. History, mission statements, product evolution & growth, core values, roles & responsibilities, acquisitions, commitment to opportunity, customer service and more, are all important components in the narrative behind an organization’s success. This process helps bond a prospective employee to an organization and prepares them to be successful.   

Many organizations use outdated & inconsistent information, legacy technology and redundant means of communication to integrate a new hire into the organization and as a result they are not exposed to customer expectations, core values and branding narratives and much more.  Additionally, the existing process offers organizations no understanding of the comprehension and commitment of the new hire with few ways of tracking or evaluating their participation.

While we have leveraged almost every possible channel to market to our customers, we have missed a significant opportunity to allow our employees, (what I would describe as a key stakeholder)  to contribute to the growth of an organization through a deeper and more consistent understanding of an organization’s vision.

Today we see fewer employees entering at the bottom of the employment ladder and working their way up. We no longer “start employees in the mail room” and expect them to work their way to the top.  What we do see, is well educated, entitled employees coming into the workforce with no experience and being placed in increasingly important roles, with little or no guidance. When they fail we have been able to quickly replace these prospective employees – with someone from the over-abundant ranks of the unemployed. That strategy is beginning to dry up and those companies who have strong recruitment and retention programs in place are skimming off the cream of the crop.

So far we have been able to withstand the costs associated with “churn” and the resulting turmoil because of a stagnant economy which has created low expectations, and the continued availability of skilled baby boomers to take up the slack.  This has left the ranks of many organizations and companies thin, with insufficient customer service, product or organizational knowledge, resulting in middle managers who are poorly equipped to take on “next level” job responsibilities and remain loyal to an organization.

Onboarding as it’s called today is the process of forging employees and introducing them to the vision and mission of an organization. It helps define company loyalty by ensuring that they understand organizational goals and carry the collective memory of an organization’s successes and failures forward in decision making.  This is valuable information for “would be” middle managers within any organization seeking to manage change and growth in the trenches. It also speaks to a new hire’s recognition that an organizations is willing and committed to invest in growing its employee’s skills.

Onboarding today is often an outdated "mish-mash" of videos, workshops, documents, lectures - that are not effectively organized. This is surprising given that the E-Learning technology offers Human Resource departments a tool set uniquely equipped to be cost effective, easily updated, self-paced, and contain a variety of visual mediums that can easily integrate legacy organizational knowledge as well as espouse an organization’s vision - and its plan for the future.

 E-Learning is an ideal solution for Onboarding yet few organizations truly understand its value and impact on success. A simple 30 - 45 minute self-paced E-Learning module can offer new hires a history of the organization, its customer service strategies, its service delivery model & partners; and an understanding of its customers, products and plans for the future. Such a module can replace repeated, one-off workshops or training sessions that can drain several day of manpower for each new hire. The best part about E-Learning is that each employee can be tested to track comprehension -  and additional important information about a prospective new hire can be gained from a closer examination of each employee’s interaction with the content.

The most difficult part of this process is often the need to create onboarding subject matter and the time and commitment needed by the organization to develop the information and its objectives properly. The great news here is that most organizations already have the basic information in place…it’s the delivery mechanism and performance tracking that can make this a more productive method of onboarding.  The content is easy to update and can be accessed 24/7.

Onboarding needs to step into the future by leveraging new technologies to  grow its skill base from the inside out and create a skilled, and loyal workforce.

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