What should your new starter development look like in 2021?
We all saw huge amounts of change in 2020, which forced us to find new ways of working.
As we navigate our way out of the Covid-19 pandemic as safely as we can, we reflect on the way our working lives may have changed forever and what the route back to ‘in-person’ events means to your new starter development.
It is unclear yet whether remote working will become the ‘new normal’ for many organisations but what is clear is that flexible working and the option for both remote and office-based roles are likely to be more widely available than ever before.
So, what does this mean for the L&D profession in 2021 and new starter development?
Here are some of the top considerations when it comes to making sure your onboarding and induction is suitable for 2021 & beyond:
Don’t let technology get in the way
The last 12 months has shown that technology can open doors, allowing us to communicate across cities, countries and even globally. However, we have also discovered in the L&D community that ineffective technology can affect your training offering.
Get around this by choosing the right technology for your business. It is also key that your new starters understand how to use the technology you choose for your virtual training. You can do this by providing webinars prior to training or walking through how to use the tool during the training session itself.
From working with our clients, we find that it helps to allow your new starters time to ‘iron out’ any technical issues within their first few days to avoid technical problems during any remote training. This might mean delaying any virtual classroom training until later in their Induction.
Tip: If you’re delivering a remote induction, record a system tutorial to send out to learners before they join so you can minimise any technical hiccups and hit the ground running!
Consider mixed classrooms
Recent findings by Flexjobs reveals that many companies, such as Amazon, American Express, Microsoft and Siemens are switching to long-term remote working.
L&D professionals have long considered how to incorporate ‘remote workers’ into an office-based classroom session and as organisations begin to return to the office, this will become a more pressing problem to solve. Not all employees will return to the office and teams managing Induction and Onboarding are likely to be recruiting for both remote and office-based roles.
Most organisations are currently offering a purely remote induction and have been throughout the pandemic, however as we begin to return to the office, it is important to consider whether you wish to continue to provide new starter development remotely, begin to offer training purely ‘face to face’ or allow for a mix of both.
Platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts can be projected on a screen within a classroom, allowing you to include remote attendees within a live classroom environment and unlike before the pandemic, many employees are now far more comfortable with using such platforms.
If you want to offer this option, you will need the technology to support it such as smart screens and microphones, as well as testing your technology before the training. You will also need to make sure that those that are joining remotely are involved within all activities throughout the session.
Tip: If you want to offer this option, you will need the technology to support it such as smart screens and microphones, as well as testing your technology before the training. You will also need to make sure that those that are joining remotely are involved within all activities throughout the session.
Remote training will continue
Not all employees will return to the office and given the benefits associated with remote training (cost-effective, inclusive, flexible), it is likely that some purely remote training will continue. Each organisation will decide whether or not to adopt this approach to their new starter development.
Continued remote training means L&D professionals will need to continue to keep up to date with the latest thinking and the latest collaboration tools available. This will enable you to create engaging inductions on a digital platform.
Social Collaboration Platforms
So, if you’re continuing to deliver inductions remotely, what platform should you use?
Those working in the L&D profession will have gained a vast amount of knowledge over the last 12 months regarding the social collaboration platforms available. We wrote about the pros and cons of the various platforms available in 2020. You can read the full blog here.
Since 2020, social collaboration platforms have grown and adapted. For example, Microsoft Teams now has a breakout room feature, functionality that originally gave Zoom the competitive edge for training. Teams have also created a new ‘reactions’ feature which can be used during meetings or training to express ‘like’, ‘applause’ or ‘love’.
Tip: Choose the platform that works best for you and consider the fact that although some colleagues will return to the office, we will all continue to use these platforms in a way that was far less common prior to the pandemic.
Consider the structure and timings of activities
Over the last 12 months, as we have delivered remote Corporate Inductions to a number of clients, we have found that remote training requires shorter sessions, with regular breaks away from their screen. This avoids screen fatigue and helps to keep the learner’s concentration, whilst allowing them the time they need to fully digest the information.
It is important for trainers to make sure that new starters don’t lose focus or become too tired during remote training sessions. You can do this by breaking regularly, making sure your sessions aren’t too long and checking in to see how your learners are feeling.
Tip: Make it fun! Use music and videos, guest speakers, group activities, breakout rooms and alternative methods of communication such as the chat box, GIFs, stickers, conversations, and discussion using the ‘raise hand’ function and available ‘reactions’.
Just keep learning!
Those of us that work in L&D know that learning never stops and we tend to be keen learners ourselves. Develop your skills and knowledge in the above areas in 2021 and your new starter development will be engaging and fit for purpose for your new colleagues.
If you want to know more about what is covered in this article or to find out how Rise Learning Group can help you create an engaging New Starter Experience, contact a member of the Rise Learning Group Team by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.