If you’re looking for new ideas about how to onboard your employees, you may need to take a step back. This is especially true if you’re still onboarding in a classroom or classroom-style setting. Many companies still like to run their new hires through a number of classroom exercises before they get down to work, but this process is outdated and costly. There are newer, better methods for onboarding – methods you should adopt if you want to implement a world-class onboarding process at your organization.

Why Classrooms Aren’t Worth It

Why is it time to move away from the classrooms? Because they simply don’t do the job they’re supposed to as well as they should.

Learning shouldn’t be tied to a single place, especially in the case of onboarding. New hires would be better served learning in the field – that way, they can learn practically, rather than abstractly.

As Senior Vice President and Chief Learning Officer at SAP Jenny Dearborn notes, shifts in technology and society are leading us toward a future in which learning is more flexible and fluid. The classroom must be left behind as a result:

“For most of the last century, workplace learning had a familiar look and feel: students sat in rows taking notes as an expert stood at the front of the room and dispensed information …  In the very near future, workplace learning will be about social collaboration, team-based activities, and decentralized peer-to-peer learning. Learning will be mobile, and access will be continuous and instantaneous. Workers will attend fewer scheduled classes and online training sessions.”

The New Age of Onboarding

When employees learning about the procedures of their new workplaces in a classroom setting, they are far too removed from the realities of the workplace. HR professionals have started to realize this, and they are adjusting their onboarding processes accordingly.

In 2014, 71 percent of HR professionals updated their onboarding procedures, and 86 percent of these professionals said they changes they made were moderate to major. Onboarding, like any business practice, is constantly evolving. A practice as archaic as funneling everyone into a single room to learn about your company at the same time will go out of style pretty soon – if it hasn’t already, that is.

notebookBut, if the classroom is disappearing, what will replace it? One possibility: online onboarding platforms.

With online onboarding, new hires skip the central hub of paperwork and note taking. Instead, they head straight into the actual work of their roles and get plenty of practical, on-the-job training – which, you should know, is the most important aspect of any onboarding program, according to 76 percent of employees.

Why Online Onboarding Is the Answer

What are the benefits of online onboarding? The best, most practical answer I can give you is that it is more efficient – mainly in two ways.

For one, when all of your paperwork is online, you don’t have to worry about actually bringing the employee to the physical location of the company to onboard them. Eighty-three percent of high-performing organizations begin onboarding new hires before their first day on the job, which helps make the process much more efficient. If your new hires have done all their paperwork before even arriving, they can get straight to on-the-job learning.

Second, online onboarding allows the process to be entirely paperless. This makes it much easier for everyone involved. For example, with our software at Click Boarding, employees don’t have to fill out the same information over and over again on different forms. It’s all centralized, which saves time and cuts out some of the most boring aspects of onboarding.

Paperless onboarding also makes it easier for employees to properly file the paperwork once it is done. They can securely mail it to the appropriate source electronically, which means an organization is less likely to lose or misplace the paperwork!

You won’t find either of these benefits in the classroom. That’s an outdated approach that we no longer need, one that only sticks around because it’s the method we used for so long. In the new age, however, online onboarding is the way to go – for the good of both organizations and their employees.

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