In today’s highly competitive corporate environment, getting new employees ‘up to speed’ in an organization is more important than ever before. Besides ensuring that they are fully trained in their requisite job roles, it is also essential that they have a thorough understanding of the company’s image and expectations. Right from day 1!
Naturally then, employee onboarding programs need to be a careful mix of motivation, engagement, and information. Effective onboarding is not only a prerequisite for long-term career advancement for the new recruit but it is also highly valuable for his/her sense of personal fulfillment.
An effective LMS can be of a great help to provide the support needed to develop and manage a comprehensive onboarding program that welcomes new hires and accelerates their integration within the organization. The right LMS can form the foundation of a formal onboarding strategy, and companies can use it to import, create, assign, deliver, and track end-to-end onboarding-related training.
But to get the onboarding process right, an LMS needs to have certain features and functionalities. It is only with the right LMS-based training that cost of onboarding new employees may be reduced significantly, and the flexibility of online learning can strengthen learning quality as well as comprehension levels amongst new staff.
Here’s a look at the top 9 LMS must-haves that can make or break the onboarding program:
1. Flexibility (Mobile, Responsive, Offline)
How effective can training be when it’s inconsistent, or portions of it are inaccessible in certain cases, or when the training content itself needs to be adjusted (pinch-zoom, long scroll, etc.) as per the device used? ‘Flexibility’ is the name of the game here and it matters a lot in an LMS especially with respect to employee onboarding as it sets the tone for the entire corporate experience for the new incumbent. There are numerous benefits to flexibility in training but the most prominent is increased training effectiveness.
In today’s increasingly mobile world with a dominant mobile workforce, a Mobile LMS with its myriad benefits is the go-to option (Here are some Research Insights on the Growth of the Mobile LMS). For organizations looking to train their field sales on-the-go workforce (or otherwise too) , an app-based mLearning platform like this with support for Offline (no Internet) Learning can save valuable time while providing anytime, anywhere learning to meet their L&D goals and impart critical organizational, product and process knowledge to its employees.
Image 1: UpsideLMS Mobile – An app-based mLearning platform
As we talk of a Mobile LMS, it’s important to mention a Responsive LMS in the same breath (Here are the Top 4 Ways in which a Responsive LMS Improves the Learning Experience). The growing popularity of mobile-friendly eLearning calls for a Responsive design that opens the doors for a single online course to be viewed on any device and platform (Operating System too), without compromising the navigability or the aesthetic appeal. This, however, comes with a pre-condition that the LMS is connected to the Internet at all times for a seamless learning experience.
Image 2: UpsideLMS – A Cloud-based, Responsive LMS
2. Easy to use
The ability of the new employees to use the product is critical to the success of the training program. Simply because, the organization cannot afford to invest additional time in acquainting and training the recruits on using the learning platform. An LMS with a user-friendly UI and high usability across devices and platforms ensures that the employees can hit the ground running from day 1 (Here’s how you can Select an LMS from the UI Perspective). Also, for the new employees, the LMS is oftentimes their first interaction with the organization, its processes, its solutions, and the people. So it’s critical that they be given a peek into the company’s future as well as their own place in it in the most positive way possible.
3. Multiple Training Formats and Multimedia
Videos, interactive eLearning, documents, presentations – the whole nine yards of multimedia are vital ingredients of an immersive online training , and an onboarding program more so. Along with this, different learning/ teaching methods catering to different objectives – Classroom Training (also called as ILT), Virtual Classroom-based Training, and Self-Paced Online Learning (or eLearning) – and the mix of those in a Blended Learning format ensures that the learner is engaged (There are plenty more Advantages of Leveraging an LMS for Blended Learning for both the Learner and the Admin).
4. Social/ Informal learning
While formal training is critical for the success of an onboarding program, the importance of Informal Learning through Social Media and Knowledge Collaboration tools cannot be underrated. Social Learning creates the much needed informal learning setting where learners can network, share, collaborate, and exchange ideas and knowledge, and solve problems by going beyond the boundaries of designations, roles, and structured training programs. This aspect of an LMS assumes significant importance in the onboarding process because it helps new learners to to interact with their peers and learn from them. And progressive organizations understand well the need to keep their new employees engaged in training beyond the training hours!
Image 3: UpsideLMS Knowledge Collaboration through Discussion Forum
5. Ready Integration with Online Content Marketplace
An LMS should be able to easily integrate with online libraries/ course marketplaces. From a learner and an organization perspective, an LMS with support for Online Course Marketplace gives a massive advantage as it opens the door to a wide learning/training repository, sometimes beyond what is available in-house/ proprietary with the company.
6. Support for Third-party/ Off-the-Shelf Content
Closely tying in with the above point is an LMS that supports all the major OTS or Off-the-Shelf eLearning libraries. These extensive suites of eLearning/ and mLearning content covering a diverse range of topics and areas are available as a ready-to-use, budget- and time-friendly solution that can easily sit on the LMS. Organizations can easily add (a choice of these) to their training mix so as to extend their training content repository, in line with their onboarding program, for the learners to choose from. Here’s The Business Case for Off-the-shelf Courses.
A big chunk of the onboarding process is introducing new employees to the company’s culture. And what better way to initiate the right introduction than with an LMS that reflects the company’s corporate identity and gives an insight into the company’s image. To this extent, an LMS should allow uploading of the company’s logo and banner images, while also choosing the color theme and font typepace in tandem with the company’s branding. In short, the new learners should be able to experience the LMS as an extension of the company’s brand.
8. Curriculums/ Learning Paths
The Curriculum feature is a great way to define the learner’s learning path. In the context of onboarding, an LMS with an ability to sequence the training contents (within a curriculum) as per the order of priority/ information flow and manage the visibility of the curriculum itself (based on the pre-set start date).
Setting such rules for completing a Learning Path allows learners to master materials in small steps, and eventually makes the training more personalized and effective.
9. MIS and Reporting
An LMS that comes with features like MIS and Reporting work the best especially when measuring the ROI because they offer deep insights into how effective the training program is proving to be for the learners, and how well the strategy meets the designated learning goals and objectives. Reporting data also provides better learner management capabilities, as it allows to see who is excelling in which areas and what field needs more focus. Tracking the triumphs of an LMS is possible through the MIS & Reporting facet that provides data on desired performance parameters.
Image 4: Detailed Reports through UpsideLMS’ MIS & Reporting
In conclusion, companies need to remember that their employee onboarding program sets the tone for the new hires’ work experience at the organization and is the all-important first impression. An LMS contributes a great deal in making this experience truly engaging and learning-centric for new employees.