Despite the fact that we are well into the 21st century, many organisations still have a largely paper-based approach to employee induction. New employees often still complete a myriad of forms during their initial onboarding, before attending a series of 1:1 meetings to learn their initial organisational knowledge. They may even end up with a folder full of paper workbooks and handouts.
Turning those workbooks from paper into PDFs is a good start, but it just means employees are looking at passive, non-interactive words on a screen instead of on paper. It’s very disengaging for new starters. The digital transformation of employee induction presents us with the opportunity to do more than just replicate a paper-experience with digital paper!
The fact is that there are numerous reasons for organisations to turn to technology to improve employee induction – and its easier to do so now more than ever before. In this article, let’s examine eight key reasons to use technology in your employee induction experience.
1 – Timeliness
First and foremost – technology can allow employee induction to begin 24/7/365. A new employee can access employee induction through a digital learning platform as soon as they start – even in the week before they begin. Digital platforms can provide individual employee induction experiences without requiring any advanced notice and for as few as a single new employee.
Compare this to employee induction programs which rely on 1:1 meetings or group workshops. New employees are at the mercy of the availability of key people to find the time for a 1:1 meeting, or they need to wait for the next employee induction workshop ‘once a few more people join’.
Yet timeliness is critical for employee induction. If an employee has to wait days or weeks for training, they will not only be disappointed and disengaged, but will have often started to find other solutions – solutions which may be inconsistent or unreliable compared to optimal training.
2 – Availability
Technology can make employee induction processes available anywhere.
- New employees can start some employee induction from home in the days or weeks before they kick off their new role, helping reduce any anxiety and removing some of the form-filling ahead of their first day.
- New employees in locations outside your headquarters can obtain the same induction experience as any other employee, ensuring that standards are consistent across locations.
- Technology can also allow new employees to access employee induction while there are on the go and on a device of their choice, boosting engagement and accelerating their access to knowledge.
3 – Consistency
While paper-based induction materials can offer some consistency of information, there is always a risk with ‘version control’. Different offices may have different versions of the same workbook – tracking versions of files and who has accessed them is almost impossible. A digital learning platform can overcome this issue by providing a ‘single source of truth’ – every new employee, in any location, can access the same (sole) set of materials and experiences.
Consistency is also dramatically improved compared to 1:1 training, which can be notoriously inconsistency even when delivered by the same person! Humans can forget, be distracted, not feel well or simply fail to engage with the personality of a new employee. As a result, 1:1 training can be extremely inconsistent for new employees unless your induction training staff are highly skilled and provided with consistent, high-quality materials.
4 – Efficiency
If your employee induction remains driven by 1:1 or workshop training, it is likey to be extremely inefficient. Consider the cost of an experience staff member completing 20 sets of 1:1 training over the course of a year compared to a digital learning platform providing that same training 20 times.
Certainly, your staff member will need to spend some time setting up their online content, but that may be just a few hours if they are using a modern learning platform like Tribal Habits. If they can invest 3-4 hours setting up their induction learning module, they can alone save 10-20 hours each year. And that’s just a single experienced staff member dealing with 20 new employees. The efficiency gains will be greater as more individuals are involved. Not to mention the improvements in timeliness, availability and consistency.
5 – Expectation
New employees often have an expectation of technology-led employee induction processes too. Why wouldn’t they – they read about amazing employee induction programs at top organisations around the world all the time! Why shouldn’t they expect the same at their new employer!
They may not expect all the bells and whistles of the employee induction experience at, say, Google or Apple, yet if they arrive at your organisation to find that their employee induction is solely a matter of PDF documents, photocopied workbooks and patiently waiting for a group induction workshop, they may start to wonder about their new employer.
Meanwhile, providing employees with some level of digital induction is not particularly difficult. Platforms like Tribal Habits allow organisations to plug-and-play many aspects of employee induction and have a modern, automated and useful induction program established in less than a week.
6 – Feedback
Using technology to drive your employee induction also benefits your organisation. Technology can readily capture feedback from your new employees as they move through the induction program. Are they happy with their first few days? What information did they find useful, or do they feel was missing? Do they have questions about the organisation or it’s culture?
It is easy to capture this feedback with a digital induction solution. The information captured can be used to both justify your induction program and its costs, as well as further improving the induction process.
7 – Improvement
Which leads to the next benefit – digital employee induction programs are FAR easier to improve. Not only is it easier to capture feedback from new employees about the induction process, it is also easier to update processes, training, programs and timetables. Adjusting digital content is simple with new materials instantly available to the next new employee without the need to reprint documents or update trainers.
8 – Cost
Finally, a digital induction process is cost-effective. As a starting point, any non-digital employee induction program has significant costs to consider.
- Costs of printed materials
- Transport costs for any employees or training staff
- Room hire, workbook printing and food costs
- Lost time from experienced staff asked to present (repeatedly)
- Lost productivity from new employees who have to wait for induction
- Costs from any new employees who feel disengaged by poor induction and leave the organisation
- Costs from new employees who receive no or inconsistent training and make mistakes
These are all real costs. While they may not all be visible as line items in financial statements, they are very real costs which are carried by your organisation. A digital induction program can eliminate many of these costs, with often a very low investment which is typically linked to the number of new employees – so your investment and return are closely aligned.
Ultimately, any organisations which are not turning to a digital employee induction program, despite all the massive benefits and lower costs, will increasingly feel out of date to new employees. If the concern is the time or cost in setting up technology for employee induction, then perhaps the key benefits outlined in this article -along with advances in online platforms – might make this subject worth revisiting for even the most paper-loving organisation.