Onboarding is critical for acclimating new hires to their new role and work environment while also connecting them with their peers and manager. Whether good or bad, the onboarding experience sets the tone for new employees in any organization. However, many employers still struggle to effectively onboard new hires. In fact, 88% of employees believe that their company doesn’t do a great job onboarding new hires.
Effective onboarding is essential to ensuring that new employees understand their role and remain in it, especially with a recent change in the workforce: the rise of hybrid work. Hybrid onboarding has become increasingly popular as more jobs move toward a hybrid modality. However, engaging and training employees in a hybrid environment isn’t easy.
With skills development and training being critical factors in attracting and retaining talent, effective hybrid onboarding has become a necessity.
Starting a new job can be anxiety-inducing, as workers are inundated with tons of information while simultaneously learning the culture and dynamics of an unfamiliar workplace. Good onboarding can make a huge difference in alleviating this anxiety by providing employees with the tools and information they need to succeed in their new roles. Failure to properly onboard new hires can lead to low employee engagement and high turnover rates.
According to Accenture’s Future of Work Study 2021, 83% of workers prefer a hybrid model that allows them to work partially onsite and remote. This research shows that this is the new way employees want to work, and they’re not compromising on what they value. As a result, companies with a hybrid work model are seen as more attractive to job seekers than companies without one, thus having more success with hiring and increasing the need for good onboarding.
Onboarding must adapt to the worker influx and the needs of a changing workforce. With the rapid uptake of hybrid work, learning leaders must find new approaches to make onboarding effective. Here are three best practices to implementing effective hybrid onboarding in your organization:
Leverage Asynchronous Video
The shift to a hybrid work model resulted in the growing adoption of video conferencing platforms to help facilitate meetings for dispersed teams. Though convenient, conducting all training via video conferencing can cause learners to disengage, and scheduling training can disrupt an employee’s work day. Asynchronous video offers an alternative solution by making learning accessible and online. New hires can watch valuable content when they have the time. This is essential for dispersed work teams, where employees work in different locations, and in many cases, time zones.
Because asynchronous video is prerecorded, it opens the door for a wide range of helpful content for new hires to experience. For example, company executives can record a video introducing themselves, explaining the company’s mission and sharing where the company is headed, allowing new hires to familiarize themselves with the executive team and put faces to names. Busy subject matter experts (SMEs) and executives also benefit from the convenience factor. They can record short videos on their own schedule and share them with employees without worrying about blocking time for another meeting. Best of all, asynchronous video grants remote employees the same access to SMEs like new hires onboarding from the corporate office.
Turn Just-in-Case Learning into Just-in-Time Learning
During onboarding, new hires receive a lot of key information about competitors, value propositions and processes to get them up-to-speed quickly. While all of this is essential, it can be ineffective if employees cannot see the relevance to the information or how it connects to their role. This type of learning is “just-in-case” knowledge that new hires have but may never apply on the job.
Just-in-case learning needs to become actionable in order to be valuable. That’s why just-in-case learning needs to transition to “just-in-time” learning. With just-in-time learning, new hires are given upfront information to equip them for specific scenarios that are relevant to their role. If a new sales rep faces a particular competitor, just-in-time learning allows them to focus on the exact information they need and how to easily access it, saving them time and effort. This streamlines the onboarding process and makes it more purposeful.
Implement a Learning Library
It can be overwhelming to keep up with the volume of introductory information given during onboarding. As a result, new hires can have difficulty recalling what they learned or finding it when needed. The — a theory developed by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus — notes that knowledge retention steadily declines in the absence of continued exposure. Without reinforcement, the knowledge new hires gain will be lost as quickly as it’s learned. To help, implementing a learning library can keep track of key content and be an ongoing resource that new hires can reference.
Learning libraries should contain the information new hires receive during onboarding as well as other supplemental content that’ll ease their transition and aid their continued learning as their knowledge increases. For example, the asynchronous videos that new hires receive can be stored here and available to rewatch as needed. Other content in learning libraries can include case studies, whitepapers and use cases. Because it’s a resource that new hires will regularly reference, it needs to be easily accessible, which means it should be mobile-friendly and have an easy-to-use search function.
Today’s world is fast paced, and with the average attention span is 8.25 seconds, it is no wonder why people want content that is bite-sized and memorable. Also, video content should be at least three minutes or less — short and to the point. Keeping content under three minutes can increase employee views. Learning libraries must take this into consideration to make the most impact with their new hires.
Effective hybrid onboarding can be the difference between retaining employees and watching them leave. Hybrid work has made onboarding even more critical as well as challenging for organizations. But by leveraging asynchronous videos, transitioning to just-in-time learning and implementing a learning library, organizations can create a modern onboarding experience that resonates with — and retains — new hires.