Earlier this month, we looked at an eLearning course we did for a local Park District, and focused on how you could draw some inspiration to make your policy training more engaging. Today, we’ll look at the same project from a different perspective. We’ll explore how this course saved hundreds of hours across the program by automating part of the initial employee onboarding.

Are You Getting Buried Trying to Onboard Seasonal Hires?

Whether you actually have seasonal hires or not, training new employees can be a challenge. But for those that hire seasonal employees in droves, it can really compound the issue. As is the case in many industries, our local Park District hired tons of seasonal help. This meant tons of new employees to train. In particular, they struggled in two key areas: the time their supervisors spent delivering training and ensuring a consistent message.

For every new employee hired, someone trained them face-to-face. This job fell to the supervisor for that particular division, armed with a printed listing of topics to cover. Whether one employee started that week, or a dozen, they conducted training. This meant they trained some employees in a small group, and others one-on-one. All the supervisors were busy (sometimes described as over-worked), so it was challenging carving out time every time someone new started.

The new onboarding program literally saved the supervisors hundreds of hours in time spent training new employees.

Beyond that, the information they trained existed on a single list of topics. Individual supervisors ran down their topic sheets like a checklist, each one putting their own spin on it. Some blitzed through the training in 15 minutes, others took about an hour. Obviously, the organization had concerns over the vastly different education their new hires were receiving.

Documenting Who Reviewed the Policies Was Also a Problem

The final component of the “training” was that each new hire was given a CD with all the company policies on it, and instructed to go home and review them. Yeah, right! Seriously, do you think this EVER happened? Probably about as often as we read the full user agreement on every piece of software we buy. Regardless, they signed a piece of paper (kinda like checking the “I read the user agreement” checkbox) that attested to their familiarity with the policies. Other than covering the organization’s collective butt, it didn’t really accomplish much else.

By introducing an eLearning strategy into the onboarding process, we were able to solve each of the Park District’s three main issues (supervisor time, inconsistent messaging, and lack of actual policy familiarity).

eLearning Saved the Park District Time and Money

The Park District was constantly hiring, and this really ramped up at the beginning of each new season. New employees needed to jump right in, so supervisors needed to conduct their training as soon as new people started. This translated into hundreds of hours of time they spent reviewing the basics, over and over. After carefully reviewing the list of training topics, we all agreed that there were some topics still best delivered by the supervisors. But we determined that all the introductory content could be delivered more efficiently with eLearning. By creating a course that walked new employees through all the foundational material, this freed up the supervisors from having to deliver this content countless times. The result literally saved the supervisors hundreds of hours in repetitive training time, which certainly helped their productivity (and the bottom line).

eLearning Helped Deliver a Consistent Message

Another of the major issues was that none of the new employees were getting the same training. Each supervisor had a different level of experience (and a different level of motivation to be delivering this training). The result was a different message to each new employee. Some newbies got an hour-plus of content, others got the 10-minute special. By working with content experts at the client, we were able to craft the appropriate message and capture it in the eLearning script. Onboarding is an important and influential time for new employees. So, setting the right tone, with the right information, is crucial. By using the eLearning course to cover these topics, everyone knew exactly what the new employees were being taught, and that they received the correct message every time.

eLearning Helped with their Legal Requirements

The final issue the Park District was having was with employee familiarity regarding the policies that influenced their everyday work, and documenting this for their compliance records. Everyone knows that giving someone homework to read a policy manual is not likely to happen, even if they sign something that says they did. This has compliance implications, and performance implications as well. Some policies are general knowledge. Others influence the Dos and Don’ts of day-to-day operations, and lack of adherence could mean sizable legal ramifications.

Embedding policy documents into the onboarding course, and pairing them with scenario-based knowledge check questions, gave employees practice looking up info themselves. It allowed the Park District to prioritize which policies needed to be front-and-center, and which just needed to be supporting information. This helped train employees on the impact a policy had on job-related situations. It also ensured that all new employees reviewed the policies, and captured that information electronically for their compliance department. This helped cover the Park District in two important ways: in terms of who actually reviewed the policies, and by lessening the likelihood of policy violations because they implemented targeted training around applying the policies to job functions.

The Park District Had a Win / Win / Win by Updating their Onboarding

WIN1: By automating the onboarding process, the client was able to lessen the training time of the supervisors. This saved them considerable time and money.

WIN2: The eLearning ensured they delivered a consistent message to all new employees. This helped new employees to get off on the right foot, making them more productive.

WIN3: The course strategy also used policy application exercises throughout. This trained employees how to find and apply the policies to their jobs. It also allowed the client to document everything in a way that satisfied their compliance requirements.