5 Self-Paced Online Training Activities to Include in Your Onboarding Program
Top 5 Online Training Activities For Employee Onboarding
The average adult doesn’t enjoy being ordered around. Something deep in our psyche riles against being told what to do, and we respond to that inner rebel in varying degrees. Some of us are led by it, while others successfully resist it. Either way, self-paced online training lets us study how we want, when we want, empowering us to take charge of our own development. But sometimes, we feel psychologically rushed (e.g., onboarding). There’s an implicit drive to get with a program as fast as possible, becoming a seamless part of a new team. How can self-paced onboarding online training activities help?
Some organizations like throwing their new hires into the deep end. These are largely flat corporations with “no structured hierarchy.” The downside is newbies (and vets as well) float around with no distinct direction. And even if they’re brave enough to ask for help, it’s not clear where to go. Since you can’t overturn your entire corporate system, give your new (and not-so-new) employees a digital helping hand. Create a collection of step-by-step tutorials on typical office tasks. It can be as simple as “which lights to switch off when you’re the last one in the office,” or as nuanced as “how to write a peer review report about your desk-mate or boss.” Then, anytime a new hire is assigned a task, they can quickly log in for 2-minute guidance.
We make hundreds of choices, big and small. We don’t always know the method behind our specific brand of madness, at least not consciously. We may not be aware of the why and how that drives our own actions. But when you hire someone new, this information is essential to your boss. Managers and supervisors need to understand how newbies think so they know where to best place them. Branching scenarios are helpful because assessors can see what move you made at each stage of an exercise. You can even have them explain the reason for each path. Another great application for branching scenarios in onboarding online training is to track progress. Create a series of scenarios that gradually increase in difficulty and allow new employees to move through them at their own pace. They can even revisit scenarios where they fell short to see how they’ve improved and disclose additional gaps.
In our everyday lives, we frequently bend the rules to get around them. Finding loopholes seems to be a favorite human pastime. Incorporate scenarios that can present themselves as cutting corners to maintain compliance. It isn’t ideal, but sometimes, compliance is so complex. It can’t fit into a neatly packaged bow. So instead of having your trainees’ cram clause after sub-clause, turn it into a progressive game. Think of it as digital snakes and ladders with interconnecting stages. Allow trainees to navigate back and forth. They can get to level 5, then come back to level 1 before skipping back to level 3. This lets them repeat and review sections at will.
One of the reasons Amazon (and similar sites) do so well is remarketing. You buy something, pre-order it, or just look at its listings. They notice. They send you messages with similar or connected items. “We notice you viewed item X. You may also be interested in…” “People who bought this also bought…” This principle can be applied to orientation training. Your new hires may not know what skills or courses they need. So, offer them a few “start here” lists from the microlearning JIT library. Their curated batch of recommendations can be based on their job titles, departments, interests, or prior searches. You can even let them navigate laterally via internal links, Wikipedia-style.
These days, if someone is walking around with headphones, earbuds (or AirPods), they’re probably listening to podcasts, not music. So, consider developing one as an onboarding program support tool. It should be short, 5 minutes at the most, and serial. The structure depends on your resources. It can be a rich recording with ambient beds and dramatic sound effects, or it could be simple crowd-sourced audio recorded on a smartphone. (Staff members can take turns making episodes.) Because lessons are so short, they can be prepared quickly, so ask your new hires to mention topics of interest. Then, you can record new webisodes and respond to them directly. It’s a good retention technique because these shiny new employees will feel valued and heard.
Onboarding is a tricky time in anyone’s career. You want to quickly become part of a team, and you don’t want to look incompetent. You’re worried that if you ask too many questions, you’ll appear unqualified. Then again, you might be scared that if you ask too few, you’ll make costly mistakes. As a corporate L&D head or HR manager, what self-paced activities can you incorporate to help your newbies out? Build a growing library of how-to’s covering mundane office tasks. Add to it every week; there’s always something new to learn. Use branching scenarios to understand the thought process of your new hires. Teach compliance in the form of a multi-level game. Create study paths in the JIT library so that every trainee gets a personalized learning list that’s relevant to their needs. Finally, start a corporate podcast populated by employees. Encourage new hires to upload too.