Here’s why taking a blended approach to onboarding is the way forward

Before we get into the main part of this article, we’re assuming that you’re sold on the idea of putting a proper onboarding process in place. Onboarding new starters consistently is the best way to keep engagement levels high between acceptance and start date, ease people into your organisation and lower the requirement for busy managers to onboard people when they’ve already got too much to do.

It’s important that you commit to onboarding properly because it isn’t something you can do half-heartedly. You can’t throw a PowerPoint deck online and send new starters a link. You shouldn’t onboard by email only, people don’t read them, that’s if they get them at all, what with spam filters and junk folders to contend with.

Once they’ve accepted the role, giving new starters a login to your bespoke, company branded onboarding platform with all your own content is the only way to control the onboarding process and the quality of content that new starters will see.

At Lawford Knight, we build onboarding platforms under our Onbrd brand. Lawford Knight is a training company with experience in delivering large change and transformation programmes for some of the world’s top companies. When you put this experience together with our deep understanding of the recruitment process, the result is a powerful approach to bringing new starters into your organisation whilst carrying on the good work you’ve done throughout the recruitment process. But what does this have to do with blended learning? Let’s cover that now.

Blended learning is more effective than either eLearning or classroom

Several studies have shown that taking a blended approach to learning and development is more effective than using either eLearning or classroom in isolation. But why is this? Part of the reason is that there are more learning ‘touchpoints’ for learners to engage with. Taking one eLearning course is great, but what happens after? Following up an eLearning course with an online virtual session to reinforce learning is more powerful and effective because it allows you to go over the key points again and answer any questions the learners may have. They’ve been exposed to the learning twice now and they’ve been able to clarify any points they might have misunderstood. You can see already how this can be more effective.

Blended learning in the onboarding process

Traditional onboarding, if done at all, usually takes the form of a company induction where lots of new starters are stuck in a room and subjected to ‘death by PowerPoint’ for a whole day. This is definitely not useful, partly because it’s information overload and also because most of that knowledge will be gone within two weeks. It’s all very well telling people in a presentation that you’re a forward-thinking company with strong values, but after the third presentation of the day, your new starters will be looking out of the window and wishing for the fire alarm to go off.

Using an onboarding platform and taking a blended approach spreads the learning out over a longer period, makes it more engaging and interesting, and reinforces the learning for longer retention. It’s a no brainer when you actually take a step back and think of the sort of experience that you could be offering your new starters.

How can blended learning be applied to onboarding?

In basic terms, blended learning is a mix of online and offline methods. In reality it’s far more than that, but it’s a good starting point to think of it in those terms. Using Onbrd, your new starters are given a login to their onboarding journey when they accept the role. Depending on their notice period and the time before their start date, they’ll be on a specific structured pathway to their first day. Rather than just throwing slide decks at them in a portal, we design and develop deliberate modules in a logical sequence that meet your onboarding objectives and keep new starters highly engaged. Because we’re also a training company, we’re also very at home designing, developing and if needed, delivering offline or virtual blended elements as well.

Offline elements can be face to face meet ups or events to bring new starters together during their onboarding period. The more likely scenario, especially if the notice period is short, is a virtual ‘meet up’ where new starters join an online live event at which they can interact, ask questions and meet some of their future co-workers. This is an opportunity for people to learn more about the company culture and for you to top-up their engagement levels by sharing some company news or important updates. Making people feel a part of the organisation before they’ve started is powerful and hugely beneficial. If for any reason they are wavering in their decision to join, these events will bring them right back to where they were when they accepted the role, highly engaged and enthusiastic.

Tailor the experience for the onboarding period

The onboarding journey should keep engagement levels up and provide enough information to new starters without becoming onerous. The Onbrd platform can cater for many different types of new starter, all with their own onboarding journey. People on three months’ notice can be onboarded as well as temporary people who are joining the next day. Make sure that the journey is relevant, sets the right tone and will make the onboarding experience a pleasant and straightforward one. We work closely with clients to build both the platform and the content to ensure a smooth transition from new hire to first day and beyond. Contact us to discuss how we can supercharge your onboarding.

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