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Six ways to take the bored out of onboarding

August 8, 2017
Borderless Leadership

Starting a new job is a major life change. It’s like the first day of school and a new relationship rolled into one. Weeks or months of applications and interviews have culminated in that exciting first day. Don’t let long hours of paperwork, company jargon and slide shows suck the spark out of your new employees.

A 2014 BambooHR survey ( found 31% of respondents had quit a new job within six months of starting it. About 15% of them said that lack of an effective onboarding process contributed to their decision to quit.

Effective onboarding helps build excitement in your new hires, not deflate it. Employees need to find it engaging, memorable and relatable to the job they’ve been hired to do.

Here are six ways to take the tedium out of employee training.

Microlearning modules

There’s a reason flash cards have been the gold standard for student study habits for so long; they allow the learner to absorb small bits of information at a time making it easier for the brain to process. Breaking your employee training into easy to consume 10 – 15 minute learning chunks has the same effect.

Take advantage of today’s elearning platforms to engage new employees with graphics and videos that make your training principles easy to consume and to remember — and are completed before boredom sets in.

Successful practice boosts confidence when it comes time for real performance which leads to greater job satisfaction.
Employees can consume only the modules that are relevant to their jobs and avoid those that don’t apply. Microlearning modules can also be easily updated to reflect changes and are available for your employees to reference and review at any time.

Mobile options

From the latest news to our favourite tunes, to step-by-step directions, we’re used to having it all delivered to the palm of our hand at lightning speed whenever we want it. New employees crave the same from their training.

Many will be happier watching a module on a tablet while eating, in bed or on the train than sitting in an employee onboarding meeting. Making your training modules mobile friendly empowers new hires to choose when and where to complete their training.

Provide a deadline in which to complete all the small modules and embed a quiz to ensure they’re completed and understood.


While a thick packet and dull PowerPoint presentation may send people to sleep, games and quizzes help maintain interest. Making learning fun also helps with retention. Games can help make information stick.

Bringing a competitive element to the onboarding process can not only increase motivation, but create a more collaborative environment as employees compare and share tips for successful gaming.

Task simulation

One of the best ways to learn is by doing. Whether through video, audio or gamification, task simulation walks employees through the steps they need to know to do their job, which is what they came for in the first place

Simulation-based training aims to anticipate problems, reduce errors and address knowledge and skill gaps. Successful practice boosts confidence when it comes time for real performance which leads to greater job satisfaction.

An Alelo Inc study found that trainees who used task simulation performed as well as seasoned professionals on a test of skill. This is because simulation-based exercises allow learners to explore several outcomes and thus get a better understanding of the process, its pitfalls and solutions.

Social learning

Some say we learn best when we observe another person and imitate their behaviours and actions. Social learning not only facilitates training, but provides welcoming social interaction for new employees that breeds energy and excitement for the position. Studies show nearly 80% of the knowledge employees learn about a job role is achieved through informal social learning.

Social learning supports the continuous learning process by giving new hires a forum for asking questions, seeking advice and connecting with people who are involved in the same processes. It can have a big impact on not only an employee’s knowledge acquisition, but their acclimation to the company culture.

Interactive focus

Teachers have known for a long time that active learning trumps lecture. Effective onboarding gets learners to be drawn in, not tuned out.

A Harvard professor found that adding something as simple as a polling tool to learning activities can double learning gains and retention. Using elearning tools like quizzes, simulation, video and gamification will keep new hires excited and engaged in the onboarding process.

New employees want to hit the ground running. Don’t let humdrum onboarding stop them in their tracks. By adding these six things to your employee training program, you can harness the energy new hires bring to the workplace improving job satisfaction and reducing early departure rates.

By Michael Roche

Source: Training Journal

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