Using Blended Training In Your Employee Onboarding Program To Promote Organizational Culture

Blending Induction And Onboarding Programs
Summary: New hires typically receive their very first taste of an organization’s culture through induction and onboarding training. In this article, I show you how you can use blended learning for induction and onboarding to promote it.

The Benefits Of Blended Induction And Onboarding Programs

Traditionally, how employers onboarded new inductees depended a lot more on organizational culture than anything else. Large organizations operated with centralized corporate training centers where they delivered Instructor-Led Induction Training (ILT) to their new employees. With the proliferation of online learning, organizations have now realized that there is an opportunity to tap into eLearning as part of the induction and onboarding process.

What Is Driving the Transition Of Fully Face-To-Face/ILT Trainings To Blended Learning?

In spite of the drive to adopt online delivery for induction and onboarding, organizations also accept that going completely online may not be the optimal approach. This realization is based on 3 critical facts:

  1. While some learners learn best in an ILT environment, others thrive in an eLearning setting.
  2. Some topics lend themselves better to eLearning, while in-person, qualified instructors teach other subjects better than online mediums.
  3. The value of human interaction and its effectiveness in conveying certain aspects (including organizational culture) is higher than online training.

The evolution of blended learning approaches is a direct result of these realizations. Blended induction and onboarding programs deliver a happy medium between 100% ILT on the one hand and a total eLearning training strategy on the other.

Why Are Organizations Pivoting Toward Blended Induction And Onboarding Programs?

Several forces are responsible for the pivot toward blended learning, including the following aspects:

  • Societal pervasiveness for doing things online has driven a shift in organizational culture. New employees have an expectation that a part of their induction and onboarding should occur online as:
    • This gives them higher control in pacing the learning and internalizing it.
    • The online delivery enables them to overcome the cognitive overload and access the online resources as needed and as many times.
  • However, the face-to-face or ILT-based approach continues to be a very high impact approach. The human touch goes a long way in helping new employees quickly learn the organization's culture, its offerings, and how they can align with the organizational goals and contribute effectively. As a result, organizations are responding by offering blended learning.
  • The need to respond swiftly to competitive challenges has meant that organizations can now induct and onboard employees quicker (through eLearning for the most part) while leaving in-person components of the induction and onboarding delivery to ILT.
  • With cost rationalization at the center of most training decisions, organizations find that a blend of online and in-person training is the most optimal mode to deliver the induction and onboarding training [1].

While employers benefit by ramping up a pool of sustainable talent through a blended learning approach, employees gain key skills that help them in the performance of their responsibilities.

How Can You Use Blended Learning For New Hires To Promote Organizational Culture?

The key to the successful implementation of a blended induction and onboarding program is in correctly defining the scope of each component of the program.

As a rule of thumb:

  • Initial meet-and-greet sessions
    Conduct these sessions in person (ILT) so new hires get a sense of the organizational culture they will be part of.
  • Basic role-specific training
    Deliver these online using mobile delivery options [2].
  • Specialized training
    Impart more complex, generic, and function-specific learning via ILT. You can augment the ILT sessions by providing related resources online.
  • Case studies and scenario-based learning
    These are ideal for online learning and you can add focused ILT sessions to reinforce them.
  • Assessment for the entire induction and onboarding program
    This can be done online as it is easy to deliver and track.

A word of advice: Don’t organize the induction and onboarding programs as two disparate components (for ILT and online tracks). For instance, avoid plans wherein the first six weeks completely focus on online training and the next two weeks are for fully ILT programs. To promote the cultural fit of new hires into the organization, make sure you alternate and blend the components of eLearning and ILT over the course of the induction and onboarding program.

How Does Blended Learning Help Promote Organizational Culture?

Blended learning helps promote the organizational culture by:

  • Instilling a sense of confidence in new hires about the organization that only “real person” interactions deliver.
  • Highlighting cultural norms in action to newcomers during one-on-one sessions.
  • Demonstrating the organization’s flexibility in induction and onboarding by supporting individual learning styles.
  • Letting newcomers take ownership of their L&D plans through eLearning.
  • Offering opportunities for better communication and accurate corporate messaging between new hires and instructors during induction and onboarding. The combination of in-person and eLearning delivers, and subsequently reiterates, key organizational policies around acceptable norms and cultural guidelines through multiple training methods, ensuring all newcomers understand and adopt them at the outset.

To summarize, frequent corporate memo writing or publishing extensive organization handbooks cannot promote organizational culture the way induction and onboarding training can. It is at that stage, at the very beginning of a new employee’s career, that organization leaders sow the seeds of cultural expectations. Using a blended learning approach [3] for such training helps further reinforce the cultural norms expected from these new entrants.

I hope this article gives you good cues on how you can leverage blended learning to offer induction and onboarding programs. If you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.


[1] 7 Must-See Corporate Induction And Onboarding Training Examples Featuring Strategies That Work

[2] How to Enhance the Induction and Onboarding Training with Mobile Learning

[3] ILT-VILT and Blended Learning

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