5 Best Practices For Developing Inclusive Employee Induction Online Training
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How To Develop Inclusive Employee Induction Online Training

Induction online training has two main purposes. One, it shows the new hire what’s expected of them, and how to comport themselves. Two, it marks them as part of the team. It will involve introductions to their new colleagues, and possibly an office tour. It can include knowledge about your corporate mission and vision. Or touch on office culture and let them know who to ask for what. Induction online training should be simple but ongoing so that employees receive ongoing support and knowledge reinforcement. Here are 5 top tips to develop inclusive employee induction online training courses that make everyone feel welcome. Even those who may be differently-abled.

1. Include Subtitles And Closed Captions

Multinationals are likely to have branches in regions where the lingua franca differs. Even if English is the language of communication in the office, a lot of us ‘think in our native tongues’. So for educational purposes, we can understand complex concepts better in our vernacular. Offering an induction online training course in multiple languages can be expensive. And the more translation you need, the more you’ll have to pay. Instead of recording numerous audio versions, or worse, using automated translations, use subtitles. Have them properly done to ensure nothing is lost in transit. Loading 50 subtitle tracks is cheaper than recording 5 voiceovers in different languages.

Another thing to consider is corporate learners with hearing disabilities. Studies show most of us already view gifs and online clips with the sound off. It’s a habit we’ve acquired from surfing in public, whether it’s the train or an open office. So, we’re used to subtitles and closed captions in our entertainment media. However, it’s mandatory for people with hearing impairments. Closed captions go a step beyond subtitles. They don’t just offer a text version of the words. They also describe other relevant sounds like ringing phones, off-screen audio, or sound effects. Subtitles are also for people who can hear the words but may have trouble comprehending them. This could be due to bad audio, strong accents, or language barriers. Closed captions are for those who can’t hear at all, or situations where you have to mute the sound. Closed captions can be switched on or off, whereas open captions are permanently on the screen.

2. Make Online Training Content Screen-Reader Ready

For corporate learners who are visually impaired closed captions can be useful, but additional tools are needed. Many have their own screen readers. Screen readers convert everything on the screen to audio, from text messages and paragraphs to visuals. Just in case your tool doesn’t, integrate a screen reader into your online training course, and ensure your layout is compatible with screen-reading software. It takes little tweaks in your code. For example, the screen reader will describe any image you upload, so save the image using descriptive language. You can also record audio alternatives for all the written text. This way, your corporate learners can listen to their lessons.

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3. Equip Your Online Training Course With Voice Commands

Some types of disability get overlooked, but they can still be a barrier to a truly inclusive employee induction online training. Corporate learners with differently-abled limbs may need special consideration. If they have a challenge in their arms, wrists, or fingers, they may be unable to type or use a mouse. Encode voice prompts into your online training course so your corporate learners can speak their answers and queries instead. You can also enable voice commands to flip the page or navigate online training modules.

4. Consider Cultural Context

So far, the best practices for inclusive employee induction online training have centered on practical, design issues. Sometimes it’s about the online training content, though. The characters and scenarios in your online training course should be inclusive too. Have a healthy mix of genders, ages, races, and ability levels in your online training simulations. It’s fairly easy to personalize them. Every time you get a new ‘class’, check their demographics and add a few characters so that everyone feels represented. It’s a small thing, but it makes a big difference. The better corporate learners connect with your online training content, the more knowledge they’ll retain. Apart from using characters that ‘look like them’ you can also use online training simulations relevant to the differently-abled. It helps them belong and develops empathy in other members of staff.

5. Frame It With A Supportive Online Learning Community

Employees are more likely to feel welcome by your organization if they have access to ongoing support. And not just regarding managers or supervisors. Sometimes the best guidance comes from their peers. For this reason, you need to cultivate a supportive online learning community that allows new hires to share experiences and explore fresh perspectives, especially when they are geographically dispersed. As an example, you can develop a social media group where they can talk about the latest online training course or how they struggled with complex tasks. Instead of forcing your new hires to struggle in silence, through this social media group their co-workers are able to provide tips that can help them on the job and instill self-confidence.

Inclusion isn’t just about political correctness. When employees feel at home they perform better, and that benefits everyone. Develop inclusive employee induction online training tailored for them to make them feel at ease. The features that apply to them should be optional, that is, other employees can use ‘regular’ programming. Include subtitles and closed captions with clear visual descriptions. Embed a screen reader and audio recordings for the visually impaired, and voice-directed learning for team members with affected arms. For online training simulations and real-world examples, use differently-abled characters and situations that are relevant to these characters. These scenarios can be played out by all employees, offering them a positive shift in perspective.

Gaming experiences are also fun, engaging, and enlightening. That makes them the ideal addition to your onboarding online training strategy. But how do you develop inclusive games that cater to everyone? Read the article 9 Tips To Create Serious Games For Online Learners With Special Needs to discover tips to create serious games for corporate learners with special needs.

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