Onboarding can permanently shape a new employee’s view of their workplace. Is there a way to do it virtually while maintaining a personal touch? In this article, we discuss 4 ways to humanize new hire online training.
How to create a warm, new hire online training program
New employees have a lot to get used to. A different office space (whether physical or virtual), fresh faces and new company policies. It might be their first time in a business environment after school. Even if they’ve worked before, they have to adjust to your company culture. They need to take on unfamiliar tasks and use new skill sets.
Some companies like to throw people in at the deep end. It’s more effective, though, to let newbies test the waters at their own pace. Virtual onboarding could help in this case. Because new hire online training releases first-days-at-work stress. Employees will have all the information they need on their screen and gradually start to engage with their new colleagues and tasks.
As employees are looking forward to meeting their new colleagues, digital onboarding could seem cold or impersonal. Here are 4 ways to humanize your new hire online training.
1. Assign a buddy
You want your new hire’s digital introduction to be warm and friendly. You don’t want them to feel isolated or abandoned with a huge to-do list. A mentor can guide them through basic tasks. These include often overlooked things such as where to take a break or how to sign up for company-sponsored programs and benefits.
Ask your existing employees to be volunteer mentors and guide new hires through their first days at work. If you’re using an LMS, you can create a dedicated space where mentors can post their profiles, job titles and hobbies. The new hire can pick someone that suits them.
Or, create a cyclical buddy system. Employees can pick a new mentor every week and get to know them. Soon, they’ll be familiar with everyone. This rotating system boosts interdisciplinary training. New employees will be able to learn about all the departments in the company. It can also smoothen relationships between teams because new hires learn the importance of everyone’s role firsthand.
2. Clarify organizational structure
Make sure your new hires have access to their colleagues’ professional backgrounds. For example, your LMS could include employees’ resumes, job descriptions and even their areas of expertise. New hires can see what their colleagues studied, their previous work experience and when they joined the company.
Meeting 50 new people and learning all their names can be daunting. But, new hires won’t have to memorize everything. They can refer back to these profiles when they have a question about a task or a tool. They’ll feel less lost because they’ll know exactly where to go for help.
This is also useful in new hire online training because it shows the different career paths. New employees can get an idea of how they could grow inside the company, too. They can see what kind of training they will need if they decide to pursue a particular position or promotion in the future.
3. Give them the lay of the land
Your new hire will likely receive an office tour on their first day. Still, in the flurry of new spaces and new faces, they’re unlikely to remember much. Share a simple but comprehensive office map. Include entrances, exits, fire escapes, departments and people’s desks. New hires will feel more comfortable if they can walk straight to someone’s desk when they have a meeting or a question, instead of wandering around the office trying to find them.
Your seating map could have a bit more information, beyond names. For example, you could mention employees’ interests or some fun facts about them. These can serve as talking points and help new hires break the ice as they meet their new colleagues.
If your workforce is geographically dispersed or you like to offer your in-house staff a more interactive experience, use simulated tours. These simulations will also allow employees to familiarize themselves with work-related tools and processes without any risk.
4. Host live online training events
Schedule regular live training sessions, such as presentations and webinars, as part of your new hire online training. Employees can introduce themselves, meet their coworkers and ask any questions they may have. For example, host a kick-off meeting with the entire team. Next, follow up with a weekly or monthly meeting to keep in touch.
You can also create private groups, for example on Slack, Skype, or any other communication tool you’re using. New hires can share their thoughts or ask questions during or after a webinar in this “safe” environment, instead of having to speak up in front of a larger group.
Live training sessions are a good way to boost interaction between new and existing employees. But don’t overwhelm your new hires with tons of meetings. Pair live online training with your LMS, where employees can review all training materials and even take some quizzes to test their knowledge.
Time to welcome your new hires
New hire online training gives employees all the tools and resources they need to hit the ground running. You also show them you’re organized as you’ve built a carefully thought onboarding plan. Make sure, though, that your learning platform isn’t the only place your new hires can look for answers. Be around for questions or issues that may arise. After all, we’ve all been a new hire at some point.
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