Mobile Learning: How Effective Is It for An Employee Onboarding Training Program

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Recruitment is a time-consuming process, it is expensive too. The recruiting team constantly strives to bring the best talent on board, making sure their skill sets align with the job role. Now, if there is no structured onboarding process in place, employee engagement is doomed.

First impression always counts. We all know it. Organisations that do not have a structured onboarding process often find their employees walk away from the sessions anxious and dazzled. According to a research survey by Wells, way back in 2005, 4% of new employees leave after they do not have a satisfactory first day while others decide within the first 30 days whether they feel welcome in their new role. Another report from Abardeen (2015) shows that out of all companies who plan to increase their hiring in coming years only 32% have a formal onboarding process.

Given these statistics, onboarding proves to be one of the effective ways to align new hires with the organisational culture and their expectations. Without it being well structured, the chances of employee departure skyrocket. So what can an organisation do to make their employees feel more welcomed, informed and prepared? How can they help new hires acquire knowledge, skills, behaviour and attitude that help them grow in their individual role?

We have a clear solution to that: to develop a structured and integrated onboarding program that increases employee engagement and help them reach productivity level faster. While most organisations have an induction or training program in place, they seem to be revamped presentations comprising of lengthy documents (characterised by facts, figures and faces – too much packed in too less time). This is where mobile learning comes to the rescue.

Mobile learning was listed as one of the six trends that will change the workplace, according to T+D magazine (Source: Ketter). With more number of professionals using mobile devices for learning and support their performance clearly indicates the chances of mobile learning the primary way employees would access learning.

According to an ATD study report (2015), only 38% of the managers think that the learning programs meet the needs of the learners. LinkedIn’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report even states that employees expect a lot of improvement in their existing training programs.

Studies have also proved that organisations that have leveraged mobile learning end up with greater employee retention compared to those who don’t. Self-directed, anytime and anywhere learning approach is what benefits the most keeping in mind the time, geographical location and accessibility of the employees.

How Can Mobile Learning Benefit An Employee On-Boarding Program?

  • Learning designed for millennial workforce: With the present workforce comprising of mostly millennial (also known as digital natives), mobile learning is perfectly suited for their training needs. When you plan to design an onboarding program for the present workforce, it should be engaging as well as enticing enough to hold them back throughout the onboarding process.
  • Bite-sized content helps in greater retention of knowledge: When employees gain knowledge from training programs, it is quite likely they are going to use the knowledge to improve their productivity. Currently what most onboarding programs tend to do is they cram a lot of extraneous information (since there is so much to cover, from culture to workplace ethics to employee benefits). However, this leaves the employees blank with them not able to retain a mere 10% of what they have learnt.Mobile learning is designed to achieve the desired effect within a short time frame. The learning modules are bite-sized making it easier for new employees to retain information. A report by Werner & da Gama says, a global pharmaceutical company showed an overall 53% improvement in their knowledge retention when mobile learning was used to introduce a brand new product. In addition, they can be easily accessed in times of need, allowing learning to immediately put to work.
  • Personalised learning increases employee engagement: The traditional onboarding programs, with a lot of facts & figures displayed on screen, seem to be too ‘formal’ in nature, leaving the new hires feeling uninspired. Mobile learning, owing to the popularity of the technology, offers a personal connection enabling the learners to learn at their own pace. We are already accustomed to this informal space where we do a good deal of learning. So, for an instance, a new employee can always do a quick Google search for something they are unfamiliar with or watch videos when they get stuck in some process.

When organisations have their onboarding content on mobile, they can schedule their learning more efficiently. This adds to a whole new personalised experience, thus contributing to more engagement.

A structured onboarding program takes time and effort but is worth the investment. Aberdeen Group, in one of their benchmark report, stated, “Organisations with standard onboarding process experienced 54% more new hire productivity, 50% greater retention among new hires, twice the level of new hire engagement”.

Pre-boarding: Why is it equally effective as Onboarding?
Ideally, onboarding is the process through which new hires acquire skills, knowledge, behaviour and attitude – ensuring their success. But an effective program starts before even the new hire joins. It has become very important to have equally important pre-boarding process in place. This helps employees to sound more confident through orientation sessions, training programs, informal interactions and use of technology.

So, how effective is your employee onboarding process? Have you considered mobile learning to design your onboarding program yet?

Note:- This article was published in the eLearning Industry site.

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