Five benefits of using eLearning for onboarding

Written by Millie van der Westhuizen
Mar 27, 2020

Onboarding or induction programmes are standard practice for ensuring that new hires can perform their jobs effectively. Even when a new hire has years of experience within a field, they still need to engage in an induction process to learn the particularities of their new role, as well as those of the company.

Traditionally, this process has required many resources. As such, many companies have started to investigate the possibility of conducting these programmes online.

In this article, we’ll explore some benefits of using eLearning for onboarding processes.

1. Increased flexibility

Resource-planning can be a challenge for any business. New projects and sudden resignations mean that even those businesses that plan ahead may find themselves scrambling to make quick hires. The ideal is often to have new starters begin on a set day of each month – but the reality is that new hires may start sporadically.

Consequently, those who are responsible for induction training may have to put other work aside, which can be both inconvenient and inefficient. Having a set online induction programme helps to minimise disruption for existing staff, and allows the business to run as usual. As such, businesses can hire as needed, without having to alter their operational plans.

2. Improved retention rates

It is well known that a high employee turnover is never a good thing. However, many may still underestimate the financial impact thereof. In fact, employee turnover can cost between 30–150% of an employee’s annual salary. Unfortunately, some predict that average turnover rates will continue to increase worldwide – and, with the younger workforce expecting more than just a pay cheque from their employer, this prediction seems far from unrealistic.

Induction plays a significant role in retention. In fact, research indicates that effective induction can boost staff retention rates by up to 25%. Additionally, 90% of employees decide whether to stay with an organisation within their first few months of starting. Here, online induction courses can provide a greater sense of structure, which can boost a new hire’s sense of confidence and support.

3. Reflection on training needs

When designing an induction course, it is important to consider the curriculum, or structure, that the course will follow. This process is often based on the ADDIE model, which stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. This model encourages course developers to truly analyse the business’s needs. As a result, this process often brings topics, which would otherwise have remained neglected, to the surface.

Moreover, many of the tools included in a standard learning management system (LMS) allow users to provide feedback with minimal effort. This means that participants can flag any additional needs or areas not covered in the programme, thereby allowing for continuous improvement.

4. Consistency

Training employees in an ad hoc manner can often lead to inconsistency. For instance, if different staff members conduct the training, this can cause significant variation in the focus, thoroughness or general quality of the training.

Online courses can counter these inconsistencies, as all new hires will receive the same information, via the same medium, and with the same degree of quality. This provides a greater degree of clarity for the new hire, and also protects the organisation against later claims that something wasn’t communicated clearly (e.g. information regarding probation periods or company policies). In this way, induction training can be truly standardised and universalised throughout the organisation.

5. More efficient training

In addition to the benefits outlined thus far, eLearning also allows for self-paced learning. Research indicates that this can result in better absorption and retention of information. It allows people not only to work according to their natural energy patterns, but also to distribute their focus according to which sections require more (or less) focus.

Because online induction programmes are less disruptive to business operations, this also means that more time can be spent on the induction process overall. This is valuable since new hires who participate in longer induction programmes tend to reach the required competency levels 34% faster than those who do not.

Businesses can further benefit by having their online courses developed by dedicated eLearning practitioners. As such, the educational value of their training materials can be improved through important principles like scaffolding, chunking, weeding and more. eLearning practitioners would also draw on aspects like visual appeal, multimedia and interactive elements, which increase overall engagement.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many tangible benefits to using online induction programmes. This includes the impact on business operations, staff retention and even job satisfaction. As such, although there may be an initial financial investment required, this should be considered in light of the overall benefits that can be reaped – for both the organisation and the employee.

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