The staffing world, although rooted in people, is becoming increasingly virtual. Not just in how we interact with people but also how we conduct trainings. Many staffing companies have started switching over to using e-learning to train their new hires. And while e-learning can be a great way to introduce a new employee to the company’s policies and rules, if done incorrectly or as the sole training tool, it can actually hinder a new employee’s ability to succeed. But there are three key aspects that you can implement to give a more successful e-learning experience.
1. Have a Virtual and Human Component to Your Training
The beautiful thing about e-learning is that it is an on-demand, self-guided activity that the employee can take at their own pace. It also reduces the need for resources, namely another person, for new hire training. But by nature, it is an isolating exercise and, in an interaction-heavy industry like staffing, the training cannot neglect the human element. E-learning should only be one component of the new hire training. Learners crave interaction and collaboration and having a human piece to your training helps solidify the learnings from the virtual training. With thirty percent of organizations that use a virtual training platform looking to switch to one with an improved user experience, it is clear that e-learning alone will not hold a learner’s attention.
E-learning alone is great when you have a few pieces of information, such as an update to a policy, that you need the learner to process. But when you are trying to develop soft skills, you need to pull in other methods. It’s important to remember that training is really about guiding the information the learner needs to internalize. Telling is not training. After the initial information has been relayed, introduce interactive ways to practice and put the skills to work with feedback. For example, after virtually training a newly hired recruiter on the interview process, cement the learnings by conducting in-person mock interviews. How to recruit and work with people and companies are foundational skills that need more than a one-time, one-hour virtual training session.
2. Keep the E-learning Short and Entertaining
In my experience with training new hires, I find that people often become bored with long e-learning sessions, and as a result, process less information. Instead, they focus on finishing the training instead of absorbing the material. There will always be less interesting topics that employees have to learn but you can’t expect someone to retain the majority of the information from sixty minutes of virtual training on corporate policies. So, break the topic into multiple, video and story-based trainings. These will help guide the learner through the material while holding their attention. You essentially “trick” them into learning.
There is a fine line between keeping the training entertaining and overstimulating the brain with too much interactive and video components. According to noted learning expert Dr. Will Thalheimer, “the biggest mistake in instructional design [is] presenting too much information.” Too much information on the screen will cause the brain to become overwhelmed. Think of e-learning not just as a time-saving training tool but also as an effective way to capture the participant’s attention. Create easily digestible virtual trainings that engages them with what they’re seeing, hearing, and doing.
3. Make Training a Non-Negotiable, Dedicated Time
Too often, I see staffing companies view e-learning as the one solution that should do everything. I see managers in staffing not giving enough time to new hires to complete their trainings because they are pulling them in other directions. There needs to be a conscious effort to invest in their learning by having focused, dedicated training time. Depending on the learning plan, the amount of time for training will vary. The manager should be aware of this and carve out specific training time on the new hire’s schedule throughout the first 30 days. Also, all managers should be taking the training themselves to understand the process the new hire will be going through.
A Blend of Virtual and Human
When used correctly, e-learning is a fantastic tool that can help integrate new hires into their roles without the need for hours of lecturing. But it should be used as only one part of the overall training process. The staffing industry is human-centric, in order to be successful recruiters, managers, etc. the human component needs to be not only kept but used to elevate the learnings from virtual sessions.