How to personalize your onboarding training

Everyone knows that excited, nervous feeling of your first day on the job. You’re eager to get started, but also trying to keep up with the overload of new faces, a new workspace, and all the new company rules and procedures. With all these things on your mind, it’s no wonder onboarding training can be such a daunting, even slightly scary process. So, what can trainers do to make onboarding more welcoming and more effective for new hires? The key is personalization.

By Danielle Agass on Jul 11th

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A personalized approach to onboarding is the perfect way to overcome some common learning obstacles and ensure your company’s new hires get the most out of their first few days and weeks on the job. Here are five top tips for creating a personalized onboarding training program at your company.

1. Embrace e-learning

For many new hires, one of the most stressful aspects of onboarding is fear of failure. They are new on the job, and they don’t want their managers or colleagues to see them struggling to learn new things. E-learning is a great way to create a non-threatening, low-pressure learning environment, where new hires can work at their own pace and acquire the new knowledge they need without having someone constantly looking over their shoulder.

If you’re not familiar with e-learning (or online learning), it is a training method that gives learners access to training modules online. The new hire completes courses via a secure website or online learning platform. This method lets you take advantage of the latest learning technologies to create an interactive, informal and easily accessible learning experience.

2. Start with a pre-assessment

Different employees will start a new job with different levels of experience and knowledge. To ensure your onboarding is completely relevant to each new hire’s specific needs, start by asking them to complete a pre-assessment. This is a test to see which knowledge the new hire already has, and which topics they will still need to brush up on or learn more about.

A great way of conducting a pre-assessment is to use the Easygenerator Personalized Learning Template. This is an intuitive e-learning tool that creates a pre-assessment based on the content of your onboarding course. Working in “pre-assessment mode,” the new hire first tests his or her current knowledge level.

Based on the results, they are presented with a personalized onboarding program that only covers the topics they need to learn more about, but skips the things they already know. This keeps the course relevant and prevents the new hire from getting bored covering topics he or she already knows all about.

3. Narrow the focus

The pre-assessment helps new hires focus on the areas where they need to learn new information and skills. However, your onboarding program as a whole needs to be set up so that each new hire only has to complete courses that are relevant to his or her position. By personalizing the content in this way, you can keep onboarding time to a minimum.

Instead of subjecting all your new hires to lengthy, over-general training topics, just give them the information they actually need for their jobs. Again, the pre-assessment and Personalized Learning Templates in Easygenerator can be a big help here. You can also use Easygenerator to create personalized learning paths that cover only the relevant topics the new hire needs to learn.

4. Use microlearning

In most companies, there will be some general topics (like house rules or company policies related to paid time off, sick leave, etc.) that all employees need to know about. If you present these topics in an overly broad way (such as a thick employee handbook or lengthy PowerPoint presentation), your new hires are likely to shut off and not really engage with the content.

Make these topics interactive and accessible by adopting the microlearning trend. This new method of training involves breaking up information into small, easily digestible bits, usually no more than the length of a few sentences. Because of their short length, microlearning “nuggets” are easier to memorize, and learners can repeat them multiple times, which also improves memory and eases the learning process.

Microlearning works great in combination with mobile learning too (giving employees access to training content on their mobile devices). That’s why it’s ideal to choose an e-learning platform like Easygenerator that is fully mobile-compatible (iOS and Android) and automatically configures the training content so that it displays optimally when viewed on a mobile device.

5. Keep it interactive

Lastly, keep your onboarding fun and engaging with plenty of interactive elements. E-learning is a great way to do this because many e-learning platforms give you the option of including educational videos, interactive graphics, educational games and a wide choice of different types of test questions. All of these elements make the learner feel personally engaged with the content, helping them to acquire knowledge in an informal, intuitive way.

Anyone who’s ever been to a long lecture or sat through a complicated PowerPoint presentation knows how difficult it can be to maintain focus. That’s because these traditional methods of teaching are one-sided and impersonal: the audience is expected to sit silently and just absorb the information. However, the best way to learn new skills is to practice them hands-on. This is why interactive learning features are so effective. Prepare your new hires for their new workplace reality by giving them a chance to go through the motions themselves during the onboarding process.

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About the author

Danielle Agass is the Content Marketing Manager at Easygenerator and has been writing ever since she could pick up a pencil. A Brit by birth, she moved to the Netherlands in 2018 with her husband and their cat, Ron.

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