Add Online Courses to Your Employee Onboarding Process

Why should you build an online course for onboarding?

What’s the benefit of building an online course for your onboarding? Confident teammates work better than confused ones. But confidence is impossible to build without enough time and guidance to settle into a new role.

There is a way to take new hires from ‘confused’ to ‘confident’ without putting a strain on the current team. It’s not a 3-month shadowing programme. Nor is it a 60-page employee handbook. And it’s definitely not a 10-minute Powerpoint presentation on Day One.

It all starts with an online course. Interested? Let’s dive right into it.

Many companies are already innovating in the online onboarding space. They’re conveying their company values early, building learning communities, using authentic assessments to track progress, saving time with automation, and finding ways to put theory into practice.

You can do it, too. But it’s definitely not a one-person job.


Getting team buy-in

Evaluate what you currently have and scope out what you want to achieve with online onboarding. This helps you find your “why”, which is your best ammo for getting your colleagues involved.

A few tips:

  • Revisit your current training practices and try to pinpoint the problems you may be facing, such as low team morale or lack of clarity. 
  • Decide on what you’d actually like to achieve with your workplace training. Is it an improvement in phone skills, project management or ‘soft’ skills such as communicating effectively? 
  • Identify groups that require onboarding. Knowing your target audience helps you decide on the learning outcomes (LOs)—these are the unofficial blueprint that every effective online course is built upon. 
  • Tailor specific LOs for each group and be sure to keep Bloom’s taxonomy of learning in mind. That means using words such as “by the end of this course, you should be able to ‘explain’, ‘define’, ‘demonstrate’ something”—a verb like ‘understand’ is too vague!
  • Consider how much you’re willing to spend. Not just in terms of money, but also in terms of time and contributors. It can take anywhere between 14 to 90 days to create an online course, so make it count!


How to build an online course to onboard new hires

You’ve heard it before: failing to plan is planning to fail. Because it’s true! Especially when it comes to online courses. 

A well-planned course is like a well-planned Farmville farm. You do all the hard work first, build buttresses and lay down sprinklers so you can plant some seeds, and then leave it to do its thing while you enjoy the fruits of your labour. When planning your online onboarding course, here are a few things to include:

Be sure to build in measurement metrics like credits and digital badges or include a survey at the end of the course so you’re not left wondering about the effectiveness of the programme. 

Facilitating your onboarding course

Facilitation is not just important for workshops and classes, it's also crucial to build up a sense of community among your team. Here are a few facilitation techniques that you can try:

Firstly, you need to get everyone involved in ‘seeding’ your course with responses which model what you’re looking for. This helps new hires to feel more comfortable.

Next, you need to assign a dedicated facilitator (or hop in as a facilitator yourself) in order to engage with your community. The idea is to kickstart a culture where everyone is learning independently, so try not to provide answers to your new hires' questions immediately. Instead, suggest ways of finding answers from other people in the team using peer-to-peer discussion, feedback and collaboration.

Aim to spend a little bit of time each week, especially when you’ve just hired someone new, to interact in the course and make their transition that much easier. It’s even better if the whole team is involved in facilitating the course, as it splits up the time spent by each team member on onboarding while encouraging everyone to socialise.

And that’s it! You’re well on your way towards providing a fantastic, sustainable onboarding experience for your new hires. If you want to get started right away, don't forget to download our quick-start guide for planning your onboarding course


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Topics: Employee Training and Onboarding

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