How Off-the-Shelf Training Content Can Support Your Employee Onboarding

How Off-the-Shelf Training Content Can Support Your Employee Onboarding

When onboarding new employees, there is a lot of “showing them the ropes.” They need to learn about your organization’s particular culture, values, and ways of doing things. If you think this means that all your onboarding requires custom content, however, and that you can’t use off-the-shelf’ll drive yourself and your team crazy with a never-ending list.

Previously we made the strong case for using video for employee onboarding. We cited research showing that new employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58 percent more likely to be with an organization after three years. Video provides that structure with its accessibility, consistency, efficiency, and ability to foster connection.

It’s clear from that article how video can do those things for company-specific content that is unique to your organization. But many readers might be left thinking “How does off-the-shelf content fit in?” Or more pointedly: “How can some other company’s videos work for onboarding my employees?”

Short answer: There are many topics that are important for new hires in any company to understand that are universal. (Think safety. Do the fire extinguishers operate differently in your company?)

To prove this to you, give me eight minutes to look at some of the topics more closely (five, if you’re a fast reader!).

What Off-the-Shelf Content Brings to the Table During Onboarding

While some onboarding content will be unique to your organization, not all of it will be. In fact, much of it will reflect best practices in your wider industry and the business world at large.

Imagine having to create custom content for all those possible topics! According to a series of studies by the Association for Talent Development, creating just one hour of online material for training can take anywhere from 42 to 142 hours. At that rate, it would take over six months just to create a one-week onboarding program.

Using off-the-shelf courses allows you and your L&D team to focus on creating your more company-specific training modules (such as specific company benefits, policies, processes, and systems). This will make for better-quality content that is ready to deliver sooner, rather than later.

Off-the-shelf eLearning videos can also complement your custom content nicely. Employees can be primed and ready to hear your company-specific training if the groundwork has already been laid to give them the right background and skills. This actually makes your custom content more effective, especially during onboarding.

So how about some specific examples?

How Off-the-Shelf Content Can Convey Common Core Values

According to a pivotal study done by the Human Capital Institute (HCI), 84% of organizations reported that a company orientation covering mission and values, as well as an industry overview, were either moderately or extremely effective at reducing the time to proficiency for new hires.

This finding should not be all that surprising. Employees are not just looking for the best places to work; they want to find authentic workplaces where they can grow as people. Getting on the same page when it comes to core values helps them do that.

Every company has its own unique way of expressing its values. Despite that, there are some values that crop up again and again in many modern organizations. These are values that can be taught effectively during onboarding using off-the-shelf training videos, like those we create at HSI.

It should come as no surprise that these values are necessary for effective teamwork and management to begin with. Values like:

How Off-the-Shelf Training Content Can Support Your Employee Onboarding

Using Off-the-Shelf Content to Teach Skills for Navigating Company Culture

Just as every expression of values is unique, every company culture is unique, too. This does not mean culture cannot be an explicit part of your onboarding training. Employees are best served when they can learn the skills needed to observe the prevailing company culture and act flexibly with it.

For example, every company—no matter what the company culture is like—will need employees who understand:

Using Off-the-Shelf Training Videos for Standard Procedures in Safety and Compliance

Here’s a frightening statistic: 31% of Chief Compliance Officers do not know, or do not communicate, conduct and culture lessons across their organizations. Only 29% of organizations report that they assess compliance proficiencies and skills of their staff on an ongoing basis. (For more on this and other findings, I highly recommend our white paper “Why Compliance Training is More Than a Checkbox.”)

If there is a time to communicate those “conduct and culture” lessons, it’s during onboarding. And while some safety and compliance topics are going to be company-specific, most can be successfully handled with general off-the-shelf videos. For example:

Off-the-Shelf Content and Practical Support Skills

While the way in which your office runs might be unique, there are aspects of office life that are common enough that there are best practices built around them. These, too, make ideal candidates for skills that you can teach during onboarding with off-the-shelf content. Some quick ideas include:

Generalizing from the Examples

All of the examples in this article have two things in common:

  1. They cover topics that are important regardless of the specific values, culture, and policies your organization has, and
  2. They all represent skills that, once understood and acquired, will help enhance the effectiveness of your more company-specific training.

My advice: Don’t reinvent the wheel. There’s already a lot to do when it comes to company onboarding. Use off-the-shelf training content where you can to make your employee onboarding more effective and efficient. These topics can be phased into the onboarding experience. What is most important day one? What could be assigned day 30?

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