Our Onboarding Best Practices Brief has become one of our most popular pieces of content, even though I kind of threw it together as a series of blogs I wrote to answer the question, “what all can you do with an onboarding system?”  Firmly entrenched on the Acculturation Onboarding side of the equation in my brief is the integration of learning management and onboarding.

Onboarding is, obviously, an event: candidates are converted to employees.  Onboarding, unlike learning management, is not a lifecycle process.  So how are the two related?

In another of our papers, “New Employee Acculturation: Measure, Engage, and Immerse” I harp on using onboarding to engage a candidate through the onboarding process (as opposed to throwing a checklist in front of them and telling them to complete it).  The intention of engagement is to lead to immersion: an all-out baptism in the organization by putting them in front of the technologies and communications strategies that have already been invested in.  One of those technologies is learning management, very much a strategic investment in most enterprises today.

If the organization has a flexible enough system, the LMS should provide all of the rote “orientation” training like policy and procedures, network security, building security, etc.  Some of this content may be custom to your organization, or it may be industry standard.  It might also be delivered virtually, or delivered in a classroom.  If you need a strategic training partner who can provide custom/standard and virtual/classroom, we recommend our partner and neighbor here in Alpharetta, Executrain (Mike, you owe me 1 beer for the name drop, or better yet invite me back over for some more of that port…).

Let’s face it, much of this training–no matter how expertly delivered–might be a bit dry.  A well integrated onboarding system is going to help engage and move the onboarding employee through not only the tedium of the paperwork but also through this initial training and into the more long term acculturation functions.  Engagement is not a checklist, it’s a proactive assignment of a task to hold the new employee accountable for their role in the process.

So where transactional onboarding drives the compliance and risk stuff when it comes to paperwork and automated data flow, and then starts to ramp down as acculturation onboarding ramps up, learning management kind of piggy backs along with acculturation–but as acculturation fades away and the rookie employee begins to become a veteran, learning management keeps on flying as a lifecycle process.

I mentioned orientation briefly earlier.  I believe orientation is a completely separate type of function than learning management, and not just because of the obvious difference that orientation is associated with the onboarding event and learning is lifecycle based.  I’ll blog more about orientation and my/our take on its impact to onboarding in another week or so.  Stay tuned.

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