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.
Onboarding new employees is not just briefing about the office; but integrating them into the business. The onboarding process should start from day one. Starting a new job is baffling for any employee, so it is the employer who makes the employee feel comfortable from the day they arrive and ensure that their worries are eased. The onboarding process should start as soon as the employees are offered a new role. Employees tend to stay for a longer period if more attention is given to the onboarding process.
Any reasonable employer will understand that employees are the backbone of the organization. Without good employees, the organization may rise financially but it doesn’t lead to growth and development if employers don’t consider their employees enough and this includes the way they are treated when they first sign the contract.
A strong onboarding process can ease anxiety and stress, by making the new employee feel welcome from day one. Employees feel valued if they are treated with respect and a good onboarding process can help to achieve this. If low retention is seen, it is time for employers to look carefully at their onboarding processes and make necessary changes. Here are some reasons why you should pay more attention to this process.
1. It’s cost-effective
Hiring an employee is a long process which comprises of putting up the ad, interviewing the candidates, shortlisting, negotiating salary, providing the setup. Onboarding process ensures that all the hard work doesn’t go waste. Paperless onboarding is also a way of minimizing cost. Instead of overwhelming an employee with a lot of information on the very first day, sending documents to go through becomes easier.
2. Improves retention
Onboarding a new employee is creating a good impression even though it is not just a day process. An employee gets the idea about the organization on the website but briefing personally has a different and positive impact on the employees. It’s a crucial phase where expectations are set, concerns are clarified, directions are given, and culture is instilled. If you are unable to create a comfortable environment, the risk of losing an employee increases before one can significantly contribute to your goals. A strong onboarding process improves retention as the employee feels a part of the organization.
3. It boosts productivity
Newly joined employees get overwhelmed when they try to absorb all the information in one go. This results in lower productivity. A good onboarding process includes a clear structure that helps new hires ease into the role and responsibilities. Details can be provided in stages instead of explaining all in one day. This helps in faster learning and the employee remembers the information systematically. Instead of providing theoretical knowledge of a task, if the employee is trained while performing the task, it would lead to better results.
4. Builds good reputation
An employee’s experience during onboarding, whether good or bad, can easily creep its way to review websites and social media networks, and this can affect how job seekers and clients perceive your organization. Making a successful onboarding program motivates the employee and fosters a feeling of pride in working for the organization. This further results in employer branding and creating a good reputation.
5. Creates brand champions
When onboarding an employee, you must clearly state what you stand for as an organization and explain how the new hire can contribute to that. Also provide an experience to make your employees, firm believers of the organization. This creates motivation which goes beyond the paycheck they receive. The onboarding process makes employees feel that they are an essential part of the organization and encourage them to work with dedication.
Employee onboarding is more than just communicating company policies, setting up workstations, and office introductions. It is the process which would lead to further outcome of the employee, be it positive or negative. And thus, a lot of attention needs to be paid on the process.
Learning and instructing can be done by various strategies. The goal is to make learner understand the topic and have a positive approach towards learning. The learner must attempt to learn what is taught and how to apply it in everyday life.
In passive learning methods, a learner typically reads content and tries to absorb as much as possible. Scenario-based learning is an effective strategy where learners are given realistic tasks and scenes. Unlike passive learning methods, scenario-based learning is characterized by a lot of interactivity.
Scenario- based learning is especially effective in corporate training. It provides the learners with situations which require analysis and problem-solving skills. Dealing with a challenge helps a learner to accelerate their thinking processes and hone their decision-making skills.
Other key benefits of scenario-based learning are:
Higher Retention: Passive learning may or may not sustain the attention of an employee, and they can miss out on certain elements which may be essential for growth. In scenario-based learning, a learner devotes their full attention throughout as they solve issues and challenges.
Involvement: Since the learner is role-playing, he gets involved in the training and experiences it in-depth, staying engaged and taking part actively throughout the training program.
Enhancement of Skills: Scenarios need a learner to put on their problem-solving hat and apply their skills. This leads to enhancement of decision-making process and other skills like time management, analytical skills, resource management, etc.
Knowledge Application: More the practicality of learning, more its application in genuine life. Since a learner gets engaged as a part of the scenario, along with better retention, it also enables the application of the learnt content in a much better way to real-world situations.
Try Again Option: Being a problem solver in a simulated environment gives you the opportunity to fail and try again without real-life consequences. A learner can take the program multiple times safely with short feedback loops. They can try unique approaches to the same situation, gaining various perspectives and enhancing their skills.
Scenario–based learning should be built only after having a detailed knowledge of the subject and understanding the audience for the training program. The scenario can be a narrative with a single character or a situation with multiple characters. The success of the training program will depend on the learners’ perspective and understanding of the thought process of the character and the situation being simulated.
The idea, ultimately, is to motivate a learner to go further into detail and trigger interest and thought. If done well, the combined use of practice and problem-solving in scenario-based learning can go and long way in building and strengthening the learner’s knowledge, skills and confidence.