Chances are, you or your competitors are hiring again. Maybe now is a good time to talk about Strategic Onboarding.

Having weathered the deepest recession of our generation, many organizations are beginning to report that they are hiring new employees. Others seem to be waiting as long as possible before bringing new people on board.

Those who do delay adding new employees will have a heightened need to get new people up to speed and productive as quickly as possible to provide relief for overstretched resources.

I’d like to tell you about three very influential organizations we’re working with who have implemented world class new hire training,  all of whom we expect will be given accolades for their inspired designs: consulting legend Booz Allen Hamilton; a Fortune 10 financial institution; and America’s largest wireless carrier. Today they’re seeking to bring new people up to speed, as quickly and productively as possible.

Why make such a fuss about Onboarding?

There are lots of reasons our clients invest in the design and development of a superior onboarding program. While job readiness and time to productivity top the list, employee affiliation, reduced attrition, risk avoidance and compliance follow close behind. You don’t have to work too hard to make the case for ROI.

Blueline Simulations has received the training industry’s highest accolades for our onboarding work, and I don’t mind sharing our secret sauce. In all of our designs (and I’ll give you a closer look at several of them in the next few blog posts), we differentiate by emphasizing four elements.

  1. Context
    The use of immersive simulation, whether classroom or online, puts the training in context. This dramatically shortens time to productivity and diminishes risk. Too many onboarding curriculums fail to create a “safe environment” for the learners to practice, and as Elliot Masie likes to say “provide them with the opportunity to fail forward.”
  2. Impression
    A well-designed onboarding curriculum makes a strong first impression. And as the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a strong first impression. Our clients strive to create a memorable experience that elicits pride and reinforces the person’s decision to come on board. This has an immediate and measurable impact on affiliation and attrition.
  3. Engagement and fun
    Sure, fun is part of making a positive impression. But “fun”is a strategic design consideration that has been shown to significantly increase learning and knowledge retention. Plus, top quality new hires have high expectations when they join an organization. If their first experiences don’t engage and excite them, then a significant opportunity to engender commitment and passion for the company is wasted.
  4. A culture focus
    In many of our designs for these influential companies, we provide an engaging “tour” of the company, including its history and important cultural elements. Even beyond this exercise in organizational storytelling, every experience needs to reflect and convey the culture. We pay attention to how employee diversity is portrayed in the graphical elements, and even focus on how the formal and informal language is used. That’s because we are determined that all aspects of the onboarding experience must reinforce the culture and values of the organization.

Regardless of the particular medium or approach taken for your onboarding program, you would do well to review how well it provides context, creates a strong positive impression, developments engagement and communicates and conveys culture.

Next week, we’ll look at how Booz Allen Hamilton built from these four foundations.

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