Why online inductions and training are here to stay
Online inductions and learning may seem like a relatively recent business practice, but in truth they’ve been around a very long time – since workplaces first began to take advantage of modern technologies. After all, even the process of learning how to log on and use an operating system can fall under their umbrella.
What has come to the fore of late, though, is their evolution. To the point where it’s a pretty rare business model that doesn’t tap into the digital environment to some degree to induct staff and look after ongoing training. And it’s a tool that’s only going to grow in popularity as it gets increasingly responsive and sophisticated.
So why should you be looking at online inductions?
Well for starters, if you look at the bottom line – as all businesses do – an online approach is one that can result in some significant savings.
Initially, of course, you can get your online induction under way before the employee even signs in, through such avenues as having them fill out key forms online in advance. This cuts down on the time it takes them to be work ready after their first day on the job and thus puts them in a position to enhance profitability far earlier.
Along similar lines, you can also allow less time off for key employees who would otherwise be called into service every time there’s a new starter. You simply tap them to establish an online training package and then call on them periodically as updates are needed, leaving them free to focus on their pivotal roles. From there, you can use other online resources to drill down into everything else employees might need – from podcasts and video tutorials through to background briefings.
Finally, there’s the material savings to be had, which can rapidly add up when you consider the ability to train anywhere at any time on any device means less need for amenities such as a specialised training room, less need for massive print-outs of policies or procedures, and less petty cash amounts to be spent on stationery supplies.
A second key advantage, which is also a basic need among all businesses, is the ability to ensure consistency in approach. Because it’s consistency that brings peak performance and, let’s face it – any time a human is involved, personality and emotion can play a role.
For example, a manager who’s feeling very much under the weather and only comes in reluctantly to lead an induction, is probably going to do their on-boarding session with all the enthusiasm off a sock poppet. And you can guarantee that lack of enthusiasm will translate to any newcomers. On the other side, someone who’s at the top of their game may get a little too passionate, and leave employees wondering just how committed they’re expected to be to the job. Somewhere in the middle, then, is ideal, which an online approach offers.
But beyond this, it’s not even the tone of the interaction that has the most impact – it’s the content focus itself. You see, it’s only natural for people from different departments to see their priorities and processes as the most important. So someone who joins the sales team may receive a very different run through than someone in administration. But what you really want is a uniform message that 100% standardises how information is presented, prioritised and thus processed. And that’s again, exactly what the online environment allows you to create.
Another key advantage to doing it this way is flexibility – and that works across both sides of the table. On the employee’s side – and this is probably more true with ongoing training than induction – there’s an opportunity to learn at a pace, on a device and in an environment that bests suits them.
For example, some people won’t learn just from reading information. They need the opportunity to see it play out practically. Others simply can’t focus on key messages when there’s rowdy colleagues about, but may be perfect sponges at night at home on their I-pad. So where you can, it makes sense to facilitate these different attitudes. This doesn’t mean it can all be as they please though – there do need to be some guidelines and deadlines. But at least you can try and make things as flexible as possible to ensure staff members actually learn what they need to know, rather than just trying to force them to learn it in a uniform way.
On the employer’s side, meanwhile, the online sphere allows them to pull together an online induction or training compendium from a wide variety of online resources, be they inhouse, from industry bodies or other training providers. By mixing and matching learning avenues to suit a role or personality, it allows the creation of a bespoke approach without the cost you might normally find with individualised induction or learning.
Last, but not least, the other great advantage of taking online inductions and training online is compliance.
You see, in an online environment, you can track an employee’s progress through their set program, which means no more relying on people to sign attendance sheets or return forms. If they’ve done what they needed to do, you know. And if they haven’t, and need following up, you can find that out too. It’s a win-win situation.