Twenty-six years ago. That’s when Adobe announced version 1.0 of PDF. It took a while to catch on. It didn’t help that you had to pay big bucks to both create and read PDFs. But once the free version of the Acrobat Reader was released, the Portable Document Format (did you know that’s what PDF stands for?) started to take off. And it’s been great. PDF has proven to be an easy and flexible way to distribute fully formatted documents that can be viewed consistently no matter which system or device is being used.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5.7 million Americans were hired in the month of June. At that rate, companies onboard over 65 million new employees in a single year. The quality of the onboarding process matters. It’s the first time employees get to interact and engage with all facets of the business, from meeting new people around the office to getting set up with HR and IT, and the process can make or break a new hire’s perception of their employer. And that perception can have a huge impact on employee retention. In fact, a survey by Robert Half showed that 28% of workers would consider quitting within the first 90 days of starting a new job if they were unhappy at work. In today’s war-for-talent job market, that’s a risk organizations can’t afford to take. Without a formal onboarding process, important information and resources can fall through the cracks, leaving the new hire feeling unprepared. Many formal onboarding programs, however, are highly standardized and tedious—it’s just something the new hire “has to get through.”
Social learning sounds like a product of the social media age, but in fact it’s been around for decades. In the 1970s, psychologist Albert Bandura developed the Social Learning Theory which posits that people learn from one another via observation, imitation, and modeling. Tony Bingham, president and CEO of the Association of Talent Development (ATD) has defined social learning as “learning that happens outside a formal structure or classroom and is really the way people have always learned from each other. Social learning centers on information sharing, collaboration and co-creation.”
“When am I going to need to know this outside of the classroom?” said pretty much every math student ever.
“You’re not going to bring a calculator with you everywhere you go, are you?” was how teachers used to respond.
Oh, how times have changed. Today we of course always have a calculator on us wherever we go. And while that doesn’t mean students don’t have to take math any more (how do teachers answer that question nowadays?), it does mean there is a new, better way of helping people learn.
After rounds of interviewing, internal team member signoffs, and external reference checking, the offer is extended is and the candidate accepts the position. YES!
Now the more difficult task begins: How to properly onboard the new hire and make the transition from delighted candidate to the highly motivated and fully informed new employee that the hiring manager and organization desperately need.
We all know that employee engagement is the key to higher employee retention and productivity. And we know that what employees want is communication, collaboration, feedback, and training. But traditional delivery channels aren’t cutting it. Email is out of control. It’s impossible to find things on the intranet. Collaboration is difficult with an increasingly distributed workforce. Producing and distributing resource material is expensive. And today’s employees expect business systems to provide an experience as good as, if not better than, those delivered by consumer systems. It’s no wonder only 32% of US employees are engaged (source). This means you need to change the way you communicate with and train employees. You need to reach them where they are and interact with them on their terms.
Employees are the most important part of any business. Developing and training them can be one of the most profitable investments your company can make. It improves business operations by increasing efficiency and reducing wasted resources. And it increases the long-term well-being of your employees to boost morale and loyalty, which in turn also contribute to a highly productive business environment.