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hybrid onboarding best practices
April 6, 2022

3 Best Practices You Need for Hybrid Work Onboarding

hybrid onboarding best practices

This article originally appeared in Training Industry.

Onboarding is critical for getting recent hires acclimated to their new position and work environment and connected with peers and managers. This experience sets the tone for employees at a new job, whether good or bad. However, many organizations still struggle to effectively onboard new hires. In fact, 88% of employees believe that their company doesn’t do a great job onboarding new hires.

Why Effective Onboarding Is More Important Than Ever

Starting a new job can be anxiety-inducing as workers are inundated with tons of information while simultaneously learning the culture and dynamics of an unfamiliar workplace. Good onboarding can make a huge difference in alleviating this anxiety by providing employees with the tools and information they need to succeed in their new roles. So much so that failure to properly onboard new hires can lead to low employee engagement and high turnover rates.

Effective onboarding is essential to ensuring new employees understand their role and remain in it, especially with a recent change in the workforce: the rise of hybrid work.

According to Accenture’s Future of Work Study 2021, 83% of workers prefer a hybrid model, where they’re partially onsite and partially remote. This research shows that this is the new way employees want to work, and they’re not compromising on what they value. As a result, companies with a hybrid model are seen as more attractive to job seekers than companies without one, thus having more success with hiring (and increasing the need for good onboarding.)

Onboarding must adapt to the worker influx and the needs of a changing workforce. Here are three best practices for effective onboarding in the hybrid era:

Leverage Asynchronous Video

The move to a hybrid work model resulted in the explosive growth of video conferencing platforms, like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype, which helped facilitate meetings despite teams being dispersed. However, conducting all training via video conferencing can quickly get tiring and often comes with challenges associated with scheduling. Asynchronous video offers an alternative solution by adding a convenience element to onboarding. New hires can watch valuable content when they have the time, which is essential for hybrid working environments where employees are often on different schedules and in different time zones.

Because asynchronous video is pre-recorded, it also opens the door to varied content for new hires to experience. For example, company executives can record a video introducing themselves, explaining the company’s mission and sharing where the company is headed, allowing new hires to familiarize themselves with the executive team and put faces to names. Busy SMEs and executives also benefit from the convenience factor. They can record short videos on their own schedule and share them with employees without worrying about booking yet another meeting. Best of all, asynchronous video gives remote employees the same access to SMEs as new hires onboarding from corporate headquarters.

Turn Just-in-Case Learning into Just-in-Time Learning

During onboarding, new hires receive numerous key learnings about competitors, value propositions, and processes to get them up-to-speed quickly. While all this information is essential, it can be ineffective because employees don’t see it in relevant situations to truly understand its meaning. This type of learning is “just-in-case” — knowledge that new hires have but may never use.

Just-in-case learning needs to become actionable in order to be valuable during onboarding. That’s why just-in-case learning needs to transition into just-in-time learning. With just-in-time learning, new hires are given timely information for specific scenarios, equipping them with what to do in that scenario. If a new sales rep faces a particular competitor, just-in-time learning allows them to focus on the exact information they need and how to easily access it, saving them time and effort. This streamlines the onboarding process and makes it more purposeful.

Implement a Learning Library

It can be overwhelming to keep up with the volume of introductory information given during onboarding. As a result, new hires can have difficulty recalling what they learned or finding it when needed. The forgetting curve — a theory developed by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus — notes that knowledge retention steadily declines in the absence of continued exposure. Without reinforcement, the knowledge new hires gain will be lost as quickly as it’s learned. To help, implementing a learning library can keep track of key content and be an ongoing resource that new hires can reference.

Learning libraries should contain the information new hires receive during onboarding as well as other supplemental content that’ll ease their transition and aid their continued learning as their knowledge increases. For example, the asynchronous videos that new hires receive can be stored here and available to rewatch as needed. Other content in learning libraries can include case studies, whitepapers and use cases. Because it’s a resource that new hires will regularly reference, it needs to be easily accessible, which means it should be mobile-friendly and have an easy-to-use search function.

Additionally, the world is fast-paced, and people want things faster and shorter, as evidenced by today’s attention spans that last around eight seconds. Learning libraries need to account for this to be impactful to new hires. Their content should be bite-sized and easily consumable (about three minutes or less). Keeping content short increases the chances of new hires revisiting it.

Effective onboarding is the difference between keeping employees and losing them. Hybrid work has made onboarding even more crucial for organizations. But by leveraging asynchronous videos, transitioning to just-in-time learning and implementing a learning library, organizations can create a modern onboarding experience that resonates with and retains new hires.

Learn More

Watch The Great Onboarding Revolution – An Enabler’s Guide for Capitalizing on The Great Resignation and learn about onboarding best practices being deployed at some of the world’s most innovative and successful companies.

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