Technology for Modern Onboarding and Training Programs

Software Gamification for Onboarding and Training Programs

The era of globalization has changed the face of businesses throughout the world, necessitating new approaches to onboarding and training programs. Such processes as outsourcing, off-shoring, and telecommuting are no longer out of the ordinary and come in handy in the times of economic recess. But now that our employees are scattered around the globe, new problems appear. How can we preserve team integrity, ensure efficient communication or enable the common use of intellectual property?

Our business world has grown smaller and we have now a lifetime chance to employ the best talent worldwide! But so do competitors… this creates new challenges: how to retain the most talented employees, how to effectively connect new talents of different locations, how to achieve the competitive edge in onboarding and training process. A sink-or-swim approach is a thing of the past. Pro-active onboarding does not suffice. The answer is – strategic onboarding whose part and parcel is going for technological innovations.

Why Do Onboarding and Training Programs Benefit from Tech?

Both the company and the new hire look forward to a smooth integration when using this approach. The faster the new person acquires those indispensable four C’s the company offers them (that is compliance, clarification, culture, and connection), the sooner they become fully productive, the better they fit in, and the smaller the chances they turn out.

Although the effect of a well-designed onboarding and training programs is evident, its consistent implementation is not always easy. One of the major obstacles is the increasingly busy schedule of managers, who lack time to properly monitor, assess, and engage new employees. For them, a technologically equipped program will be a blessing, giving them the capability to multitask. A technology platform for onboarding is the equivalent of a writer swapping a typewriter for a word processor.

And what’s in it for a new hire? What can provide better engagement than immersing in a familiar format of meaningful interaction, combining light-hearted conversation with the opportunity of knowledge acquisition, benefiting from an expert opinion, involving in professional discussions, having fun and staying connected, building up strong interpersonal and professional ties, and thoroughly enjoying the process? Small wonder, it goes with better with the key onboarding objective: knowledge retention.

How do Businesses Employ Technology in Onboarding and Training Programs?

Suit Yourself : Self Service Portals

Self-service portals serve as repositories of forms and documents used both by HR and new hires to facilitate administration and legal issues of onboarding. The portals also contain information about the company, its code of conduct, ethics, and compliance regulations. New hires may find out about benefits policy, new employee orientation (NEO) and a lot more. Self-service portals are a lifesaver for both HR and new hires. HR will have all the forms and docs at hand. Meanwhile, new hires can learn at their own pace.

What’s On? : Video Features

Video has gained popularity over the recent years, according to 2014 year’s statistics cited by Cisco Systems Inc., internet video traffic will reach 80 to 90 percent of global consumer internet traffic by 2018. And that is excluding file sharing!

Video content for onboarding and training programs can be used in many different ways in an end-to-end process. From before a prospect is hired to quarterly compliance training, video content is a useful tool. Teleconferencing is widely practiced by HR recruiters because it costs next to nothing compared to traveling expenses that round-the-globe recruiting entails. Teleconferencing is also a useful in enabling learning tools, providing new hires with feeds on technological processes. It’s highly effective in instilling the corporate culture through branded storytelling.For example, A CEO’s “welcome video” serves as excellent content to motivate and engage employees during orientation. Explainer videos provide an easy way to digest complex training instructions.

Talk it Over : Utilizing Social Media Channels

Social media (networks/intranets) are both fun and engaging. They meet multiple objectives: to satisfy the need of a tech-savvy generation for communication and information exchange; to build up a sense of identity, the feeling of belonging; to foster team building, improve morale and instill corporate culture by following suit.

Besides, they make an ideal tool for learning in a collaborative work environment, with plenty of mentoring, ensuring personal and professional development through discussions and practice.

As author and consultant, Keith Ferrazzipoints out, “People learn and develop best through ‘experiential learning’ and having a relationship with others, rather than through the more traditional instructional or e-learning solutions.”

Let’s Play Ball: Gamification

Gamification is gaining ground in the world of enterprise. You may associate the notion with game playing, but this is not quite the same thing. Simply put, gamification occurs when engaging elements of game theory are applied to a non-game environment, such as work. The concept borrows the ethos of the famous Mary Poppins song: “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun and – snap! – The job’s a game.”

Rajat Paharia, founder and CPO of Bunchball, explains the idea, “Gamification applies game mechanics to non-game experiences, but the goal isn’t gameplay, it’s ongoing engagement.”

According to 2013 research by Aberdeen Group Inc., organizations whose onboarding programs involved gamification increases engagement by 48 percent.

Aside from the power that comes with keeping employees engaged, the gamification element grants the managers a simple method to assess the new hire’s progress: scores. So, if included in learning management system (LMS), gamification will not only ensure long-lasting motivation but also give the employees the idea of how they are advancing with their on-the-job training.

Synergize it! : Social Networking Platforms

Enterprise social networking platforms incorporate all the above-mentioned features. Striking a balance between freedom and regulation, offering various paths to knowledge acquisition and catering for the needs of people with different backgrounds, they provide simple and optimal strategic onboarding and training programs solution.

The reasons for using platforms in onboarding process are manifold. To begin with, there are the specifics of the new generation wielding hand-held gadgets. They learn on-the-go and participate on their mobiles and tablets. They are used to finding all the necessary information on the central page of their screens.

Second, there is a need for better corporate transparency and talent visibility. Talent matching tools incorporated in the platform help sort talents from within the organization. With the employees’ profiles available and their scores visible, finding the right talent for an opening is a matter of seconds.

Finally, the amount of content saved and generated by employees is increasing. As a result, companies’ intranet platforms are often not powerful enough. According to 2012 CGI Group Inc. observation, “Organizations need enterprise social networking tools and content management systems that are driven by industrial strength search engines. These tools and systems will enable them to efficiently capture, store and search for large amounts of data, content and information, leading to improved productivity in key domains.”

The four C’s enterprise social networking platform brings into an organization are content, communication, community, and collaboration. Content includes articles/wikis, documents, videos/podcasts/slides, rating/voting polls, comments, news feeds, tags. Communication is exercised via instant messaging, statuses, push notices/alerts, third-party integrations. Community is created by means of profiles, activity streams, forums, blog/microblogging, events, following capability, groups, sharing. Collaboration develops through whiteboards, conferencing, to-do lists, task management, social search, courses/training.

Just One More Thing…

Balancing Hi-Tech with Hi-Touch

While technology plays a pivotal role in modern onboarding and training programs, it must be complemented with a personal touch. The power of genuine interactions, expert mentorship, and supportive relationships cannot be underestimated. Combining technology with human touch ensures a well-rounded onboarding experience that truly resonates with employees.

Whichever technology you want to implement in your onboarding and training programs, it’s important to customize it to your particular needs. Consider the following:

  • Begin with a critical evaluation of the existing methods to see which elements of your onboading program need improvement and eliminate those which are rendered as outdated.
  • As strategic onboarding is a huge investment, make sure that all stakeholders benefit. Discuss the program with IT, Learning and Development, Security and other departments involved, in order to find out what they need.
  • Benefit from smart and flexible programs where you can intervene when necessary. Today’s technology empowers you with tools for collecting analytics. These can be used to make adjustments to your onboarding plan and thus achieve excellence.
  • Consider optimizing your program for mobile devices or having an app that will allow access anytime from any place, even while commuting to and from work.

If you are still not sure about the costs of onboarding and training programs technology, there is good news: it is no longer a one-task expense. It can be applied to other processes, such as coordinating internships; work events; managing a contingent workforce; and even off-boarding just as well.

“It can help companies manage talent, keep track of the details when employees have special work events and provide a method for a smooth transition out of the organization,” says Sharlyn Lauby, The HR Bartender.

All You  Need is Tech… Or is it?

The role of technology in today’s employee onboarding and training programs is immense. Compared to traditional corporate classrooms and textbook learning, employees can now engage in real-time online discussions over business matters. Receiving prompt insights makes skill acquisition meaningful, motivating and fun, and so increases knowledge retention. But remember: ‘techno’ ingredients of a successful onboarding program are not worth a lick without a personal touch. Instances abound when hi-touch outweighs any hi-tech innovations, and a friendly chat or a pertinent senior’s appraisal counts more than all the virtual scores and acknowledgments.

Want to know how you can combine your onboarding and training programs into a gamified platform that rewards your users and keeps them engaged? Visit for more info or schedule a free demo below.