5 Ways Onboarding New Team Members Online Leads To Happier Employees And Saves You Time

onboarding new team members online here's how

In the “old days,” onboarding new team members meant resurrecting the old hard copy of the company manual (you know, that one in the 3-ring binder).

The new hire would turn the pages, only to be told again and again “Ignore that part. We do it differently now.”

Fortunately, things are beginning to change.

Many companies are now seeing the benefit of creating an online version of the onboarding process. Not only does this save time (for everyone), but it also leads to increased knowledge, decreased overwhelm, and happier employees.

Here are 5 benefits of onboarding new team members online that ultimately lead to happier, better trained employees… and practical tips to help make it happen within your own membership site.

1. Keeps It Compact (Without Compromising the Info)

Lengthy learning processes can be frustrating. So can giant 3-ring binders.

But establishing an organized onboarding process online is a great way to offer a ton of information, while presenting it in more manageable, bite-sized pieces.

Not to mention that you might run an entirely virtual team and not have any physical training sessions!

The key to making it happen is using the right software that can both house and organize the training materials.

How To Make It Happen:

At AccessAlly, we use the Confluence Wiki to catalogue all of our important company information, because it can be edited by everyone on the fly.

onboarding team members online

This setup has worked well: each page can house written content, images, links, etc., and is easily accessed through the “Table of Contents” on the left sidebar.

The downside of a wiki system is that you can't design the flow that you want your new employees to follow… and you can't tell which content they've consumed and where they left off.

That's where designing an onboarding course in a tool like AccessAlly comes in, especially for larger teams who need more structure.

2. Your Training Materials (and Company Documents) are Always Up-to-Date

Back to the printed company binders… Each time a change is made, the corresponding section has to either be hand-edited or re-printed entirely. Then, the new materials must be redistributed to employees.

When you're sending your employees (new hires and old alike) to the same digital location, however, your job of updating the team becomes much easier. An update only has to happen once.

How To Make It Happen:

This one's pretty simple: at every decision-making meeting, make sure that someone's in charge of updating your materials to reflect the most recent information.

3. Keep A Record of The Evolving Changes in Your Company

Each time a process changes, the training materials should be updated accordingly. However, it's also a good idea to keep track of what they used to be.

Why?

As you continue to grow and develop as a company, it can be useful to refer back to old projects and processes for better clarity on what's worked and what hasn't worked… and why.

How To Make It Happen:

One thing that we love about using the Confluence Wiki is that it tracks any page changes made. If a page was accidentally changed – or if we change our mind on a company process – it's easy to restore a former version.

onboarding team members online

But Confluence definitely isn't the only “wiki” option that allows this! WordPress also tracks former versions of a page and can be restored easily. It also keeps a record of who made the change, which is helpful when people have questions.

4. Give A Concrete List of “Most Important” Materials

It doesn't matter whether your company is big or small; there's a lot of information that's gotta be consumed by a new team member.

The key to reducing overwhelm during this process is in the organization and presentation of the materials.

Organization helps you see how all the pieces fit together. But the presentation side is what keeps everything in bite-sized pieces.

It's especially helpful for new team members to see at a glance what's most important to learn in their first few days on the job, instead of just letting them explore.

How To Make It Happen:

One of the easiest ways to organize an onboarding sequence is to create a digital checklist. This checklist walks you through the most important highlights of the training process.

In the example below, we've created an “Onboarding Course” with AccessAlly:

onboarding team members online

Essentially, this setup also allows us to guide the logical sequence of the onboarding process, since each module is only unlocked after the previous one has been completed.

It breaks up the information into bite-sized pieces, eliminating the overwhelm that can happen when you're new to the company and feel like you have to learn “everything.”

4. Make The Onboarding Process More Interactive (for Everyone!)

Do you know what's a buzz kill? Reading through company materials. No matter how spicy the writer is, it can still read like an encyclopedia.

Besides, most training experts suggest that increasing the interaction will increase the effectiveness of the training.

For teams that work together at physical locations, this isn't a huge deal. But it can be a challenge for a company that works remotely, like ours.

How To Make It Happen:

Here's where your personality and imagination can really impact those first couple of weeks spent onboarding new team members online.

When you set up your onboarding sequence as an online course (and why wouldn't you!), you can add neat gamification features like quizzes, progress tracking, and even offer rewards for completing the checklist!

It's a great way to incentivize your new team members to really master the material.

For example, you might create a “Who's Who?” quiz that connects first names with job roles in the company:

Which team member takes the lead on coming up with new ideas & opportunities for the company?

5. Connect All The Dots More Easily…

Here's the problem:

The onboarding process for new team members usually gives two perspectives on the company:

  • The big picture of what the company does
  • The small picture of how their role fits into the big picture

What's often missing – especially for remote teams – is knowing how the other team members and roles fit together.

But this is important information.

You might take for granted that your “Marketing Specialist” also handles your Paid Advertising. Your new team member, on the other hand, may have come from a place where the two were entirely separate positions. So it's not immediately obvious who they should go to for questions on a particular matter.

For example, when I was onboarded at a marketing agency, I was told that all of our clients emailed a single info@ email address… but wasn't specifically told (or just plain forgot) who was in charge of answering them!

Since I was so new and unfamiliar with what each person did on the team, I spent most of my first week worried that no one was responding to our clients!

Looking back, this was a silly thing to stress about… but remember: new hires don't always know who/what to ask when they're confused!
 

 

How To Make It Happen:

Communication – and detailed job descriptions – are key. Each position should include a list of job responsibilities: what daily processes they're responsible for and who they report to. Then, make sure this information is accessible to the whole team.

Increasing communication from the start of the online onboarding process can save a ton of time and hassle later on.

Onboarding New Team Members Online Means You Create Once, Then Enjoy Forever(ish)

When you start onboarding new team members online, you only have to create the main course once. This can save you so much time those first few days of training. It also ensures that everyone on the team is trained in the exact same way.

The best part about it all? It can all happen within your own membership site. Easy peasy.

onboarding new team members online

© 2014- Nathalie Lussier Media Inc. dba AccessAlly™. All rights reserved.