How Is Onboarding Using eLearning In A Different Manner For Blue Collar And White Collar Employees?

How Is Onboarding Using eLearning In A Different Manner For Blue Collar And White Collar Employees?
Summary: White-collar and blue-collar employees are extremely different in a number of aspects, particularly computer-literacy and tech-proficiency. Bearing that in mind, how is onboarding using eLearning differently for these groups of employees? This is what is discussed in this article.

Is Onboarding Using eLearning Differently Depending On Job Roles?

Like everything else related to Learning and Development in corporate organizations, employee onboarding too utilizes eLearning to impart important information to employees these days, particularly because onboarding requires the company to provide the new employee with all information they need to know to familiarize themselves with the organization they are going to work in, including the company’s history, their culture, the employee’s role in the organization, what the organization expects of them, the perks (if any) that come with the job, in addition to anything else the organization wants to communicate to the new employee.

However, there are different types of employees within an organization. The first group of employees is white-collar employees. The work of white-collar employees entails mental or clerical work, which is knowledge-intensive, non-routine and unstructured. The second group of employees is blue-collar employees. The work of the blue collar employees largely entails physical labor i.e. labor-intensive, such as in a factory or workshop. The terms white collar and blue collar arise from the Western countries, where historically manual workers wore blue shirt collars but clerical workers wore white.

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Both groups of employees differ not only in the nature of their work but also in social standing and computer-literacy. Social standing should be of no concern to an organization, as each individual working there is an employee, and has the right to be treated fairly, regardless of their social standing. The computer literacy part, however, is something of concern. Blue-collar workers usually lack computer-literacy, having no experience with computers neither on the job nor in their day-to-day lives. This is the general assumption, however, and a number of blue-collar workers, particularly the younger ones use technology in real lives in form of mobile phones, smartphones, and even laptops to do various day-to-day tasks. Having said that, the majority of blue-collar workers, particularly the older ones are technologically-challenged enough to not use eLearning at par with their white-collar counterparts. This is where the difference lies when it comes to onboarding a blue-collar employee and a white collar employee. Consequently, the onboarding process for both of these groups will have to be quite different. This is what it should go like:

  1. White-collar employees have to be computer-literate in order to do their jobs. Onboarding them is simple, on their first day, they should be given an eLearning course to complete which will familiarize them with the company, its culture, job-role, etc. In the case of blue-collar employees, however, things are a little different. Onboarding them will have to be a little different and will require effort. They cannot be given an eLearning course to complete on their first day as most of them will not be computer-literate. Thus, they’ll have to be given classroom-training first to introduce them to computers.
  2. The classroom-training for blue-collar employees will have to be in their vernacular language, and any training material given to them to introduce them to the computers will have to be in that vernacular language as well. Later on, when they’re ready, the eLearning courses provided to them will be in that vernacular language as well. White-collar employees will be given eLearning courses in English.
  3. White-collar employees can begin work the same day after completing their on-boarding course. The onboarding process, however, differs in duration from organization to organization, as some organizations finish onboarding the first day itself, while others can take a whole week, or even a month to complete the on-boarding of white-collar employees. Blue-collar workers begin work on the first day itself too, but their onboarding will likely take from a month up to 3 months to complete. By this time, they’re expected to have a knack of operating computers and knowing their way around eLearning courses and completing them.

Note that we’re talking about “onboarding” and not “orientation” here. Orientation is a one-time event and ends the same day an employee joins. Onboarding, as explained above, can take time. Investing time and money in onboarding may seem like a bad idea at times, but will surely improve employee retention and save money in the long run. After all, the cost to an organization of losing an employee within the first 12 months can be as high as three times their salary cost.

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