Creating a consistent onboarding experience is a challenge, no matter the size of your company.
Whether it’s the first or the thousandth new employee, they need to get up to speed on how your company works, and quickly.
Depending on the position, it can take several months for a new team member to be fully productive, and it’s the role of L&D to give new employees the best chance to not only be productive, but to excel.
Moreover, this is a challenge that every organization addresses differently, which shows that there is no magic formula for success.
New approaches and tools can be used to continuously support onboarding interactions, but to take advantage of them, we must first and foremost stop seeing them as one-off events and instead see them as continuous processes.
From onboarding to offboarding🤔
The onboarding process plays a key role in the performance of the new employee.
Although everyone recognizes its importance, it is often seen as a one-time event.
On the one hand, it can be decisive in terms of employee experience and contribute to improving employee retention and commitment as well as developing the employer brand.
On the other hand, good onboarding improves business performance by aligning the needs of employees and teams with the company’s strategy.
Here are some statistics (as an indication):
- Up to 82% improvement in collaboration retention with good onboarding (Brandon Hall and HCI)
- After a new employee’s onboarding experience, 1/5 new employees are unlikely to recommend their employer to a friend or family member (Digitate)
- Only 37% of companies extend their onboarding process beyond one month (Aberdeen)
- Managers are responsable for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores (Gallup)
Often, when an employee leaves the company, even though he leaves behind his work, he still leaves with a lot of knowledge that his successor may take a long time to acquire.
Whether it is his knowledge of the team and how to manage the different individuals, knowledge of the product or services, customers, reports, project summaries, ideas…if he can leave a trace of all this behind, it will benefit the organization.
Recurring problems with onboarding🤩
Overly administrative process
Learners are too often bombarded with facts, information, procedures, names, flowcharts, company maps…in short, not information that is easy to memorize, when they do not yet have the necessary contextual elements to fully grasp all this information.
Too short and too dense
If we know that it generally takes several months for a newcomer to become efficient, the duration of onboarding periods is often much shorter than the time needed to acculturate the employee. Furthermore, the overload of information to be “digested” in a short period of time hinders the employee’s appropriation of his or her new role and his or her socialization in a new team.
Lack of diversity in training activities
All too often, the digitization of an onboarding process in the form of a training course is limited to digitizing a certain amount of theoretical knowledge or even public information. Indeed, many companies have modules on “values”, “missions” and “objectives”, even though this information is usually available on the company’s website.
The role of the LXP🦾
Relative to its ancestor the LMS, the Learning Experience Platform has a different approach to onboarding and offers many additional possibilities.
Moreover, in the context of an LXP, if we ask ourselves the question of onboarding and especially offboarding at the base, it is because there is a problem. The knowledge has not been digitized over time.
From the outset, if onboarding is presented as a one-time event, a checkbox, the onboarding process will lack relevance and be abandoned as soon as it is completed.
So what role can an LXP play in onboarding?
A personalized and consistent experience
Each learner is unique and comes with his or her own set of experiences and knowledge, so even if the recruiting process has been rigorous, you can’t always assume what they know and what they don’t know beyond recognized certifications and training completed in the company’s systems.
In addition to the standard onboarding paths provided, the LXP can add meaning to the various training actions by recommending content specific to the skills expected for the current position, the next position, content specific to the position, content deemed relevant by other team members or content in which the learner has an interest.
On the other hand, the LXP has no limits not only in terms of integrating different activities from different sources but also in terms of their traceability.
Indeed, the data architecture built on the xAPI standard allows to structure the data to easily ensure the consistency of the onboarding experience across the modality variety.
Verbs such as “crawl”, “jump” or “pull” are even part of the xAPI verb list showing both the level of granularity achievable through the use of the standard but also that it is ideal to capture all this informal part of learning.
A human dimension essential to learning
Beyond its ability to personalize and contextualize training, the LXP also captures the human dimension of learning.
An LXP will therefore have functionalities for user profiles, content sharing (articles, videos, podcasts…), content or course creation, follow-up of experts, animation of learner communities, synchronous events, mentoring, coaching sessions, challenges, feedback, QR code scanning, treasure hunts, buddy…
The importance of managers
LXP’s attach particular importance to the role of the manager because the manager plays a key role in the engagement of a newcomer. However, many managers report that they do not have as much time to dedicate to this as they would like. In fact, even if the pedagogical architecture is good, if the manager lacks time, involvement or resources, he or she may have difficulty deploying a quality onboarding.
These platforms try to help the L&D/Manager tandem by aligning the needs of the different stakeholders and giving them the tools to get involved easily.
Managers can, for example, organize coaching sessions captured by the system, work around and develop competencies and recommend content, clone and customize paths for a newcomer or create one from scratch…
The continuous digitalization of knowledge leads to a learning culture
Whether it’s through content creation or curation, employees must be able to easily digitize and share their knowledge on an ongoing basis.
Some can contribute more than others, such as business experts, and it is important to identify them in order to set up an incentive structure for sharing.
Whatever the exact modalities, a knowledge management strategy based on UGC is an essential component of a learning culture.
If culture – in the broadest sense – is a set of unconscious behaviors common to a group of individuals, the learning culture can be seen as the sum of the employees of a company who have made training a reflex, a non-event.
It can be very hard and often quite long to change and a powerful vector of change is renewal. It is particularly at the time when an employee arrives in the company that we can have a great impact.
Onboarding is therefore a privileged moment to impact the company’s culture.
A continuous process 🚀
An LXP can transform the onboarding process into a continuous process throughout the employment period.
Throughout his or her time with the company, an employee will be able to add and share content relevant to a learning ecosystem and leave a record of the knowledge and insights developed at a position.
Alternatively, a new hire will have access to business information, specific to his or her position, department or company, which he or she can use to develop knowledge over time beyond what would otherwise be the case.
In a continuous learning approach, in which an employee knows the competencies expected for his current position or the one he would like to move to, and has the tools to support all the pedagogical and engagement activities, the notions of onboarding (and offboarding) become extremely blurred.
After all, from the moment they have the knowledge they need to be productive until they change positions, they are theoretically both continuously onboarding their next position and offboarding their current position.
It is because onboarding must first and foremost be an experience for a newcomer that an LXP – as a platform that supports all the pedagogical activities involved in an onboarding process in a personalized path for the employee and relevant to the expected competencies – can be of great use.