When it comes to onboarding, companies need to stop living in the past. Just because onboarding was done a certain way for years doesn’t mean it should be done the same way forever.
In a December 2015 ADP study, 91 percent of managers, 81 percent of HR administrators and 75 percent of employers surveyed said they believed that their organizations did not do onboarding well. So, seeing how a significant amount of people know their companies are terrible at onboarding, why not address this “elephant in the office”?
Surely, companies are aware of the problem: In the ADP survey, 79 percent of employees also said they saw room for improvement in their organizations’ onboarding process. Yet companies still don’t have onboarding at the top of their priority lists, or apparently realize just how much the onboarding process impacts their business — which they would do if they took a closer look.
Luckily, it is not too late to make onboarding the more interactive and enjoyable experience it should be, for employees on both ends of the spectrum. Here are five ways to make onboarding something everyone wants to do:
1. Make your employees feel like a priority.
Onboarding is often something that gets rushed and overlooked in too many companies. Employees feel this, too: In a 2015 North American workforce report by Learnkit, 89 percent said it was important that their employers support their learning and development.
The real question is, why would employees be excited about onboarding when employers themselves are blatantly not? If companies respected their employees’ time and took their learning seriously, employees would undoubtedly be happier. In the Learnkit study, 53 percent of people surveyed admitted they would like their jobs more if they had better training.
It’s a full circle, then: Better training creates better employees, which inevitably creates a better company.
2. Make it a true learning experience.
Believe it or not, money isn’t everything to employees — experience is. According to the same Learnkit survey, 66 percent of people surveyed valued learning over monetary compensation.
When employees are rushed through onboarding or forced to learn things they don’t necessarily care about, they feel that they are wasting their time. They’re frustrated because they want to learn useful material and acquire skills that further their careers.
According to the Learnkit survey results, “Opportunities for future career development are invaluable in the eyes of the employees. Employees are seeking learning and development, to grow in their careers; and this matters more than their pay.”
When it comes to employees, no one can put value on learning something meaningful — it’s priceless.
3. Be flexible.
Think about it: Employees have different interests, different experiences and different skills — they are different people, after all. So, why are businesses training them all in the same way? The onboarding process doesn’t have to be so black-and-white.
According to a 2015 survey by InterCall, 48 percent of employees surveyed said they would like the ability to customize training for their job function. If an individual cares about the subject he or she is learning, not only does the information stick but the employee thrives when it comes to applying those learned skills in the future.
To take flexibility a step further, employees should choose not only what to learn but when they learn. In fact, some 47 percent in the survey wanted the freedom and flexibility to go through training at their own pace.
For example, all employees have tasks thrown at them when they have precious little time. Despite the interest they may have in the subject, they are forced to rush through the task, and barely comprehend what they have just learned.
So, the onboarding process should not merely be a task assigned to employees. Instead, employees should gain control of what they learn and when they learn it, making onboarding much more effective and meaningful for the employees and the business alike.
4. Online is key.
When it comes to worklife, people do not usually work alone — so why should they go through the onboarding process alone? According to the InterCall survey, 45 percent of people listed the ability to interact with other learners as important.
An efficient way to get people involved together is to intertwine online with onboarding. Referring back to the ADP study, fewer than 12 percent of employees surveyed said they could access any type of onboarding paperwork from a mobile device — a scenario that employees find disappointing.
Online onboarding should be a priority, especially as the younger, tech-savvy generations enter the workforce. Moving beyond the traditional onboarding process will keep content fresh and give employees perks that in-person onboarding cannot.
Tools are becoming available to do this. Employee-onboarding software like CovertHR not only makes onboarding more accessible, but also creates great team bonding.
5. Engagement is everything.
When it comes to the onboarding process, engagement is crucial. The Learnkit survey stated that 63 percent of employees surveyed said they would be more engaged if they had better training and learning opportunities.
As Learnkit specified, “Learning and employee engagement go hand in hand.” If employees are not engaged, they do not care. And when employees do not care, the business suffers. However, this can all change if the onboarding changes into a more engaging and rewarding experience.
The question is: How can employers become more engaged with their employees? The answer is simple. Employers shouldn’t be on the sidelines during the onboarding process.
Onboarding should be an ongoing process in which all employees and employers participate. This will ultimately create a company culture focused on learning and growth.
By Heather Huhman
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