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An Onboarding Wishlist for a Not so Perfect World

In a perfect world, we would have all of the time and resources to build world-class employee onboarding programs with all of the strategic bells and high-tech whistles. For most of us, that’s a far fetched dream. But, what would that dream look like?

Though it’s not an exhaustive list, here are a few key features from our dream employee onboarding program.

Virtual Preboarding

Preboarding includes any interaction with the new hire from the time they accept the position to the time they start working. Traditionally, the preboarding process consists of filling out paperwork. While paperwork is necessary, you’re missing out on an opportunity to excite and engage your new hires if that’s all you do.

AR/VR Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies are becoming increasingly accessible and affordable. When used for preboarding, VR can transport learners to remote locations or give them access to important equipment before their first day on site. This process — cite indoctrination — traditionally happens during orientation. But, why wait when virtual learning environments can simulate the experience.

Conducting a virtual workplace walkthrough is a great way to inspire excitement and introduce your employee to:

  • Important areas within their workspace
  • On-site equipment
  • Processes and procedures

360° interactive video is a less expensive (though less interactive) way to accomplish a similar effect. Either way, it enables new hires to hit the ground running as they begin their employee onboarding process.


gamification makes employees feel more productive (87%), more engaged (84%) and happier (82%) at work.

Mobile: At this point, digital natives make up the majority of the workforce. Our learners are used to having easily accessible information at their fingertips via seamless user interface design. So, having training on their mobile devices may soon become an expectation.

Offline resource: It’s easy for employees to work remotely, but it’s not always easy for employees to train remotely. Creating a training program for remote employees that accounts for instructor-led activities and social learning has always been a challenge. Moreover, traveling salespeople or technicians don’t always have access to their internal servers or training platform. So, the ideal employee onboarding program would enable access to offline resources libraries — allow employees to save training assets to their devices or within an offline-enabled learning portal.

Gamification: Employees who undergo game-based learning are typically more engaged with the training material and apply knowledge realistically. Moreover, TalentLMS reports gamification makes employees feel more productive (87%), more engaged (84%) and happier (82%) at work.


The sooner new hires feel a connection to the organization, the more agile, flexible, and stable your organization becomes. Utilizing your top performers as mentors can get new hires up-to-speed quickly and help promote company culture.

When new hires are assigned mentors, they start to build strong relationships. However, when designing your mentoring program you also have to consider the time requirement and strain on mentors. Allow mentors ample time and support to perform their mentoring duties in addition to their daily responsibilities. You can utilize technology like video conferencing and live chats to ensure mentoring is more efficient, cost-effective, and flexible.

Ongoing Support

The 10% of formal learning described by the 70-20-10 training and development model often isn’t enough to create significant behavior change. So, an effective onboarding program should go well beyond course completion. By adding structure to the 70% of on-the-job learning, your employee onboarding program can do more to maintain knowledge, skills, and motivations around key behaviors.

Do more to maintain knowledge, skills, and motivations.

The key to effective on-the-job training is effortless access. If training material is difficult to find because it’s buried in your learning portal, then it’s no use to employees that need a quick answer. However, recent innovations in learning portal technology have enabled voice and visual search capabilities. By asking your mobile device a question or scanning an object, platforms like Siteline can immediately access related training documents.


Though we’re bound by time and resources, we can still strive to create the perfect employee onboarding program. At the very least, take a few tips from our ideal learning strategies to and see what you can do with the resources you have. Utilize preboarding, accessibility, mentorship, and ongoing support to help your new hires excel in their onboarding journey.