The Covid-19 pandemic drastically changed the working pattern all over the globe. With social distancing and lockdowns in place, a large number of organisations transitioned to telecommuting with some even increasing their hiring to meet the expanding business demands. This greatly affected their onboarding process, making the training and induction modalities rather complicated.
Integrating new employees into the company isn’t easy. And when one is largely functioning on remote working, it makes it even more challenging.
Let us look at the 5 major challenges with the onboarding process during the pandemic-
1) Inability to personalise the process-
Induction helps in integrating a new employee into the company’s culture while instructing them about their own roles and responsibilities within the organisation’s structure and functioning. It facilitates in establishing personal connections and a great working relationship among colleagues.
However, in the absence of a face-to-face interaction, it becomes difficult to personalise the onboarding process. Instead of meeting the team and getting to know them in an informal and relaxed setting, the new employees would have to contend with a video call or even in some cases, an email message. This proves challenging in building a strong lasting working relationship among peers.
2) Ineffective Communication-
Effective onboarding is crucial for employee engagement, retention and for boosting the overall productivity of the organisation. With telecommuting, it may not be possible at times to know everyone in the team and the new employees may get confused about whom to approach for clarifying or obtaining certain information. They may also be unaware about the hierarchy within the organisation or may feel reluctant to ask questions.
On-site Induction allows the new members to get to know their colleagues and establish a cordial relation with them, which allows them to approach their peers for help or clarification regarding a particular situation. In the absence of this relationship, the employees may hesitate to reach out to others which leads to communication gaps.
Also, without facial expression, gestures or tone of a person’s voice as a guide, it is often easy to misinterpret a message as critical or curt when it comes through the email. This, further hampers effective communication, which in turn greatly affects the overall productivity of the organisation.
3) Ineffective employee engagement-
Onboarding is crucial as it introduces the new employee to the company’s business culture and value systems. They also understand the code of conduct essential to every member and learn to build a good working rapport with their colleagues, other senior managers and the organisation’s leaders.
This may be very difficult to communicate through a virtual induction program and may result in many employees feeling unwelcome or unable to identify and integrate themselves with the company’s culture. This greatly affects their participation and engagement with the organisation and leads to lower employee retention.
4) Inability to monitor employee performance-
Monitoring the employee’s performance and progress is an important step in integrating them into the company’s work ethics and culture. Feedback is important as it clarifies assumptions and expectations, helps people improve and learn from their mistakes and builds confidence. Constructive feedback also helps in reinforcing positive behaviour and generating a strong work culture. It is therefore essential that the new employee’s progress be monitored and reviewed.
This however, becomes challenging in a remote working scenario. Not only is there a disadvantage of physical distance, but even the process for documenting and monitoring the employees’ performance may be unclear or not adequately defined. As a result, they may underperform or fail to achieve the targeted milestone. This would not only affect the individual’s growth but also the company’s progress at large.
5) Unavailability of essential equipment-
Digitization of modern business has made it impossible to function well without appropriate technology. Most new employees are provided with their own laptop and other essential software, tools and programs that are necessary for their work. This particularly becomes challenging during the pandemic, especially if the employee has to be trained to use a particular software or program. Some organisations may also find it difficult to reevaluate their employment benefit schemes to make it relevant to the current situation.
These are the 5 major challenges with onboarding during the pandemic. They can however, be overcome by making the necessary changes to the Induction program and leveraging mobile technology to make the process more engaging, interactive and effective.
The changing trends in technology have generated a new and innovative way of learning through digital platforms. Mobile Learning or mLearning, is quickly becoming a popular way to access a variety of content and information through the use of multiple devices.
Mobile Learning also provides an opportunity to engage the learner while boosting their overall productivity. Corporate organizations are recognizing the value of mLearning, especially as it enhances the learning environment, increases participation and creativity and improves the company’s revenues.
There are 6 reasons to opt for mobile learning in corporate training-
Mobile learning is flexible in the sense that it allows the learners the freedom to complete their training when they choose. It also gives them more control over their learning sessions and they have a choice over which modules to complete first and which ones later. Also, in the current fast-paced lifestyle, mLearning is ideal in corporate training, as the training time can be outside busy work hours and learners can opt for it during their regular commute or in the comfort of their home.
2. Higher Retention Rate
Mobile Learning is highly learner-centric, delivering the content in parts and is very different from the traditional way of giving information through books and lectures. The content that is presented is also simplified and made concise. It also offers the option of going back and engaging with it again, if the learner has any queries. Furthermore, each module is created in such a way that it doesn’t take long for the learners to go through them. As a result, the learner can quickly complete a course before moving on to the next one.
3. Collaborative Learning
One of the important aspects of mLearning is that it facilitates learning in groups by establishing online communities where the learners can interact with one another. It can also easily integrate with apps and social media platforms to generate conversations about training and sharing experience and ideas, thereby creating a rich collaborative learning experience.
4. Higher engagement
Effective use of content design in mLearning ensures greater engagement of the learners. Puzzles, quizzes, interactive sessions and games make sure that the learner is able to not just learn, but enjoy the process of acquiring knowledge. This leads to greater retention of knowledge and the learner is able to recollect the modules easily. This is ideal for a corporate set-up, as most people are busy with their work, travel often and would be unable to go through pages of mere content. Also, the multi-device support available makes it easier for a person to access the courses through a variety of digital platforms such as PC, laptop, smartphone and tablet.
5. Tracking Progress
It is very easy to track a learner’s progress using mLearning platforms. They can also be assessed on the knowledge they have acquired and can access the course whenever it is needed. It thus becomes easier to provide feedback and compare a learner’s progress through the course as mobile learning allows the progress to be tracked.
6. Ideal for Telecommuting
In the current pandemic situation, more people are preferring to work remotely and hence without a consolidated platform to provide training, it becomes difficult for an organization to function. Hence, it becomes essential to digitalize the training modules, so that people can easily access them from their homes and the company can continue to run smoothly.
In conclusion, opting for mobile learning, especially in corporate training, not only removes formality from the learning process by making it more interactive, but also motivates and empowers individuals to develop the skills needed to increase their productivity, thereby contributing to the overall progress and development of the company.
A new job comes with all new experience, roles, challenges, and environment. A new employee is full of excitement, and nervousness, while joining even if the employee has worked at other places. It is essential for the employee to get acquainted with the new workplace.
The first impression has a long term effect on the employee. Therefore, the first few days are very important for the employee, as well as the employer. The employee needs to be felt as a part of the organization, and should not feel left out. A good Induction program bridges this gap by working two-way, and is essential for the employee as well as the employer.
Induction is a process which aims to familiarise new employees with the organisation and their job. A well planned induction program will include information about the organisation, safety rules, general conditions of employment and the duties in the section or department in which they are employed. The induction program also introduces the new employees to the culture and values of the organization for which they are working. The process helps to welcome new employees to the company as well as give refresher training to employees within the organisation so that they are aware of all the policies, regulations, dresscode of the organization.
Many things need to be considered while making a good Induction Program, as it is necessary that the induction process is successful and brings expected result.
The program should cover basic information such as orientation in the building, health and safety information and employment terms and conditions.
The details regarding the period of the process should be clear. This includes the tasks to be given in the first week, third week, then the next month and so on.
As soon as an employee accepts an offer with the organization, the employer should connect over a phone call, involve the employee in social activities and ensure that all relevant administrative and IT arrangements are in place.
The employer can link the induction program to the organisation’s objectives and strategy. This may include social meetings wherein the employee is helped or assisted by other employees.
Planning a mini induction during the first 3 days with an immediate supervisor is also an alternative. A more comprehensive induction training session may follow during the first 3 weeks and then a review meeting after 3 months to check everything is going according to what is planned.
The employer must ensure that all the details are stated clearly. This includes the aims and objectives of the organization, the roles and responsibilities. The employee must not feel that he is given a work which is out of his knowledge or is different.
With all the rules and regulations, the employer must take care that the employee feels as a part of the organization. This improves retention.
To build a successful induction program the employers must take feedback from the employees after a certain period. This helps to keep a check if things are on track and employees too feel valued.
Effective inductions are timely, organized and engaging, and give a good first impression of a company. The induction process doesn’t end after a certain period. It’s the responsibility as an employer to make sure that the employees grow into their roles. Successful employee induction is a continuous process!