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Mar 2015

How to leverage your LMS for onboarding success

Blog posts

Nina Brebner

Nina Brebner

Account Director at Kineo

The LMS can play a pivotal role in making your onboarding a success, but are you making the most of it? Joining a new business is an experience.  Make it a positive and supported one through the use of a focused onboarding portal.

Back in June we released our Onboarding For Results: Best Practice Guide which outlined the benefits and best practices of engaging onboarding. So, where does the LMS fit in this, and how can you use it to support your learning?

1. Reduce the Fear-Factor

Put yourself in your new hire’s shoes. You start on day 1, and are greeted by all of the training you must complete in the first 3 months (or more).

Your LMS can provide a much-needed support system for new learners by breaking down their learning into more digestible chunks. With the use of Totara you can use a combination of tools such as Programme Management, Learning Plans and the Course Pages to help design and display this learning in a way that is less daunting to the learner.  This can all start with a splash page; a navigational block from the homepage which welcomes you to the onboarding journey. It can then lead on to learning plans, course pages or programmes.

These course pages are a valuable asset of Totara’s as it enables you to structure topics into accessible learning modules; be it videos, elearning, quizzes, documents, forums, or even face-to-face training. Below is an example where course pages have been effectively used; the activities have been neatly laid out and they indicate the media type, the length and whether it is compulsory or not. This gives learners a clear sense of choice, and allows them to take ownership of their learning.

2. Make It Personal

If you’re part of a large organisation, it’s likely your onboarding has a largely digital focus, underpinned by on-the-job activities.

In those early days of a new hire, a well-structured balance between online and offline activity will enable you to master the mixture of needs the efficiencies needed by the organisation, and the empathy needed from the learner activities of learning. New hires need human contact too, whether it’s with coaches, mentors, SMEs or their managers (or even all of the above) and the business needs effective and efficient learning solutions that enable self-paced learning which work as a performance support tool too.

To reduce the amount of administrative effort and keep learning feeling personal, you can use Audience Management in Totara LMS to assign a programme that is designed to enable the learner to learn the way they wish, and with role-relevant content. With a well-structured and sign posted programme that marks the difference between the compulsory and optional learning, the learner makes best use of the time they have and only invests in what they do not know. For the final touches reward where suitable, encourage social engagement using blogs and forums and book face-to-face interventions through the LMS so that the learner can own their own time.

Your LMS can become an essential part of empowering & personalising your learner’s onboarding programme, by accurately mapping a learning plan that suits the needs of that specific learner. A powerful onboarding programme can provide access to people, resources and tools specific to that learner.

3. Be On-Brand

Being on-brand runs deeper than your content; it is also about the LMS.

The LMS and onboarding content may well be the first branded content your new hire sees. This is about setting an expectation of who you are as a business: what does your brand stand for, what kind of people work for your brand and what is the tone of voice of which you expect people to communicate? This lesson starts at recruitment when people make a decision on whether you are the business for them, but leads in to the onboarding when you set the expectations before day one and embed them from day one.

Your LMS has the opportunity to say something about your brand (and your culture) that your content in isolation may not. Your LMS enables you to bring together a mixture of learning resources in a clearly defined journey that says to new hires: “We value you. We want to help you be successful in your new role and we are an efficient, well-organised business that invests in getting it right.”

4. Invest In Reward

For the ultimate onboarding experience, provide rewards in the form of open badges, and celebrate their accomplishments. When we look at the ideal onboarding experience, much of the activity is high-empathy focused, targeting the emotions of the new hire and giving them a sense of belonging.

As they progress further in to the onboarding journey, level of empathetic learning can reduce, shifting the focus to the competency, compliance and capability needed to fulfil the role. When the focus switches from the needs of the employee to the needs of the business, you’re then pushing into high efficiency learning territory. Reward is a great way of retaining empathy within a high efficiency learning programme. It’s also a great way to motivate people and make them feel valued. Here, you can see how Mozilla Open Badges have been used to reward a learner:

5. Measure Your Success

If you’re not channelling your onboarding through your LMS, how are you currently measuring success? How do you know it is working?

Your LMS (hopefully) has powerful reporting tools which both new hire managers and L&D managers can make excellent use of. These tools facilitate more effective measurement and monitoring of the success of the onboarding process, and can easily highlight areas of strength and weakness.

Measuring the success is about evolving the LMS with the demands of the learner. So it is vital to reach out to the learner and evaluate whether the LMS still serves its purpose, and whether it’s meeting their needs. You can do this by producing measurable questionnaires, followed by a SWOT analysis. Defining your strategy and embracing a close relationship with your LMS partner will help you progress it from the needs of this year’s new starters, to your future new starters in 3 years’ time.

Time to Onboard a New LMS?

If your LMS isn’t fully meeting the needs of your organisational learning, perhaps it’s time to explore new avenues? Totara LMS is a scalable, stable and open-source LMS which provides organisations with programme management, powerful reporting and much more. Maybe it’s time to ask: do you have the right LMS for the job, or has it stopped serving its purpose?

Nina Brebner

Nina Brebner

Account Director at Kineo

With over 10 years’ experience in the education and L&D sectors, Nina is responsible for working with a range of global clients to understand their needs, and interpret these needs into viable solutions. Nina is passionate about her customer relationships and ensuring they receive not only a solution that is fit for purpose but also a high quality service.

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