There’s a new paradigm for hybrid onboarding, and it supports continual workforce learning.
By Amy Cohn
Almost three years since the pandemic forced companies to shift to remote or hybrid work, many are still playing catch up when it comes to onboarding processes for dispersed employees. In fact, most (56%) companies are still in the early stages or have no formal process while less than 10% have a fully integrated set of onboarding resources. As it exists today, the onboarding process is broken.
But retiring outdated approaches in favor of a new model of continual onboarding called “everboarding” may be the solution.
Holding On to Traditional Onboarding
Record turnover and massive workforce movements such as The Great Resignation and quiet quitting have placed new pressures on companies to ramp employees efficiently and effectively and provide continuous learning opportunities. In addition, many companies still rely on a traditional approach to onboarding that involves 90% experiential, on-the-job learning and 73% peer-to-peer learning, both of which are difficult to deliver without technology built for today’s hybrid workplaces.
Job satisfaction and employee retention begin with a positive onboarding experience. In fact, a majority (80%) of employees rank continuous learning as a high priority when job hunting, so employers need to win over and properly enable employees from day one.
But without a modern onboarding process, organizations fall prey to a multitude of challenges, especially for remote and hybrid employees, including:
- designing personalized training that meets a new hire’s unique needs versus a one-size-fits-all approach;
- engaging employees who work in different time zones and introducing them to the organization’s culture;
- delivering a high volume of information in a compressed time period;
- ensuring that new hires retain learning;
- ramping up employees quickly while allotting adequate training time; and
- supporting hybrid environments without the proper technology.
“Everboarding” Delivers Continuous Learning, not a Timeline.
Traditional onboarding is a formal process with a defined beginning and end. It is typically a one-size-fits-all approach that does not take an employee’s unique experience or tenure into consideration. “Everboarding,” on the other hand, is a holistic approach to onboarding that solves the challenges of hybrid workplaces. Unlike traditional methods, it doesn’t stop after 90 days; it’s an ongoing, enriching experience that is tailored to each employee.
Companies with a culture of learning use this approach to deliver targeted training at the employee’s moment of need, facilitate peer connection, improve the employee experience, and ultimately train and retain the best employees possible.
It also promotes engagement early in the employee experience and throughout their tenure with the company. Reason being, it creates an environment of trust and teamwork, both of which are essential components of employee engagement. “Everboarding” facilitates peer-to-peer relationships, mentorship and coaching early to enable collaboration and show employees they are trusted and valued. These connections not only increase employee engagement, but also create a sense of belonging.
How to Implement “Everboarding”
This approach may be the future of onboarding and virtual training, and there are three primary ways to introduce it.
1. Shift the mindset.
“Everboarding” reflects an organizational mindset that views onboarding as the beginning of the employee journey. To be effective, this mindset must be introduced and reinforced across the organization, starting with leadership roles and trickling down to the rest of the company.
It’s possible that experienced employees might balk at training and resist a continuous learning mindset. However, to combat this perception, managers should actively participate in the new process themselves and encourage engagement from every employee, regardless of title.
2. Collaborate with company influencers for content libraries.
To support continual learning, create a central repository of content (including courses, videos, guides, articles, presentations, and more) that can be easily accessed by employees at their moment of need. Doing so allows organizations to deliver knowledge, content, and coaching to employees in their flow of work.
Since a digital-first environment requires speed and agility, the content available to employees should be bite-sized, easy to consume, and sourced from subject-matter experts and peers. This way, employees can access critical information when they need it most.
For instance, asynchronous video is a powerful tool for introducing learning in the flow of work. Learners can absorb material at their own pace and managers can save face-to-face training sessions—either in person or on web conference—for collaboration.
3. Have the right systems in place.
Hybrid onboarding requires technology to deliver training, reinforcement, and supportive peer-to-peer learning. So, organizations need the right systems in place to track and measure learning effectiveness.
Currently, a little more than half of companies can connect their learning management system (LMS), human resources information system (HRIS), and applicant tracking system (ATS) to their onboarding solution and only two-thirds have any form of systems integration.
Evaluating how “everboarding” impacts employee retention, talent mobility, and leadership development requires integrated systems and analytics. With modern onboarding platforms, organizations can track things like course attendance and completion, competency levels, knowledge mastery, and content effectiveness to determine employee development.
Gain a Competitive Edge
Organizations can gain a significant competitive advantage and thrive in the midst of workforce movements by implementing an “everboarding” mindset while leveraging technology to deliver hybrid-friendly training. Forward-looking companies will integrate onboarding resources, update virtual training methodologies for hybrid and remote work environments, and ensure the right systems are in place to train and retain the best employees possible.
Amy Cohn is chief people officer of Allego.