The pandemic has forced us to unlearn the old ways and turn to new ones in our lives. For companies, it has been no different. The ritual of welcoming new recruits, especially fresh graduates, has been daunting in the absence of in-person training.
Not just remote integration, onboarding sometimes involves assimilating freshers from different disciplines.
A curtailed access to a physical work environment has made it difficult for companies to ensure the happiness and the mental well-being of the young trainees, while designing what, largely, has now become remote induction programmes.
A happy trainee is a better professional
In the early stages of training fresh graduates, the task is to impart the relevant industry-rooted skills and certifications in an engaging manner to equip them for life. A badly-designed programme will ultimately lead to poor supervisor feedback and unhappy professionals.
As we take the changed reality in our stride, including a strong element of mentorship (both online/e-learning and hands-on at work sites) in training modules has become integral and non-negotiable, and is working wonders for employers.
Mentoring affords individualised attention for fresh trainees, making the work environment more welcoming for them and helping them transition better.
However, in the times of remote working, mentoring can prove to be a tall task. But not if employers can smartly rope in subject-matter experts, and deploy a robust IT infrastructure.
The importance of experts
Subject matter experts are a great resource for valuable early-career mentoring, infusing the onboarding programme with much-needed personal attention and feedback.
E-learning modules, necessitated by the pandemic, are now being made learner-friendly by having subject-matter experts design them and provide virtual mentoring through them.
Eventually, such mentoring gives way to guidance by company seniors in live projects, leading to professional development and the sense of accomplishment among the young trainees.
Empowerment in onboarding
Live projects are the heart of the onboarding experience. They are indispensable because of how empowering they can be for the new joinees.
Empowerment is the key to happy, well-rounded professionals. It makes learners truly aware of their acumen and resourcefulness by providing a platform to tackle real-life business problems and devise solutions.
No matter how restricted, giving young trainees opportunities that only senior professionals have been known to handle often prove to be the most engaging part of onboarding. Even better are those live-model projects where such learners get multiple roles in a project life-cycle, including those of a designer and project manager.
A shift from subject-specific training to inclusive hands-on and business-acumen training helps anchor the interest and promote holistic, engaging growth among the new joinees coming from different disciplines.
High engagement leads to happiness at the workplace. It is a truth, yes, but not the whole truth. While engagement is crucial, there are other factors that may get overlooked. One such is the time spent on training.
Optimising the time spent is an effective way to boost the happiness quotient, as it translates into better attention-spans of the learners.
Companies are striving to streamline classroom/e-learning training modules from the usual six to nine months to anywhere between three to five months.
Of course, the time spent on discipline-specific training should be less, but it also must be made equally engaging, compared to the time spent on hands-on live situations for an unforgettable training.
Making subject-training engaging
Discipline-specific training gets richer with subject matter experts. But apart from mentoring, a well-designed IT platform for subject-training has been seen to bring about more engagement.
During the pandemic, IT allows training modules to get delivered through cloud platforms and phone apps, enabling remote access.
While IT allows unhindered access to comprehensive learning with digitised reading material, for a better experience of the learners, such e-learning should involve social-learning and doubt-clearing through peer and mentor (subject matter experts) interactions. Companies are also incorporating gamification through pop quizzes for topical assessment, keeping the learners involved and engaged.
The use of e-learning also brings with it analytics that help the employer improve and improvise based on data-based feedback.
The ultimate goal
Onboarding training programmes designed by employers may have several goals. But building an engaging one to keep new recruits happy definitely helps achieve the following:-
- Good feedback on the recruits’ work from project heads.
- Well-developed and adjusted professionals, growing within the company.
- Good employer scores from bright, young freshers, who will eventually move on to senior roles in the industry.
With such a smorgasbord of employer-employee benefits at stake, the insights herein will make the difficult task of remote onboarding easier in these uncertain times.