How To Switch From Face To Face New Hire Inductions To Online

Why you should move to online inductions

Even before the Coronavirus a large number of companies had already switched to online inductions. From Cognology’s experience this included both small and large organisations. There are many compelling reasons such as greater new hire retention, increased productivity and revenue growth. See our onboarding business case for more.

But now the Coronavirus has made it more important than ever that new hire induction is done using online tools. The reasons why include:

  • Some locations are in full lockdown which means HR, managers and trainers can’t meet new hires face to face
  • Some internal resources may not be available for periods of time if individuals are hit with the Coronavirus or groups are required to self-isolate
  • Social distancing measures may make it impractical to have large groups being inducted together in small training rooms

But perhaps the most compelling reason is that from a Business Continuity Planning perspective, it is critical that the knowledge people need to perform roles is captured in some way.

Inductions versus Onboarding

The terms “induction” and “onboarding” are used interchangeably by many. That’s the way we are using them in this article. For some the term “induction” means a one-time activity that a person completes on their first day. While “onboarding” is a process designed to decrease the time it takes for an employee to be fully productive by helping new hires understand their daily functions and job responsibilities, and immerse themselves in the social and cultural aspects of the organisation.

The guide below applies equally whether you are looking to move an entire onboarding process online or a one day induction.

How to move to online inductions

Gather together all the materials you currently use

Step one is to work out how people are currently inducted in your organisation. Write down everything and get copies of any material that is used. You may need to talk with a number of groups including:

  • HR
  • Trainers
  • Managers
  • IT
  • Operations
  • Recent new starters

For example, IT and Operations may have forms they require people to submit to gain access to equipment and facilities. Managers may have a standard process they follow to gradually expose new hires to the work they’ll need to perform.  Trainers may have presentations and questionnaires. HR will have forms that new hires need to complete. Recent new starters may give you insights into what could be done better as part of their onboarding experience.

Structure and order the materials

Structure the materials and notes you make so that you know which group they relate to and for what roles. Next create a timeline of activities so that you know what new hires need to do:

  • Before day one
  • On day one
  • In the weeks and months following day one

Create a series of steps

Using the structure and timeline, create a series of steps that people will need to complete. People like being able to mark tasks as done and see the ones they’ve already completed. Creating a series of steps helps with this.

Some steps will need to be completed by the new hire.
Some by HR, operations, IT, managers and trainers.

Create online content for each step

For each of the steps, create online content that people can use to complete them. Use a combination of text, video, infographics and illustrations to make content easier to understand.

Some great ideas include making videos of:

  • Existing team members doing tasks.
  • Trainers explaining processes.
  • CEO talking about values and the culture at your workplace

Use quizzes to test knowledge

To ensure that people understand the content you are providing, create quizzes to test their knowledge.

Use eLearning for more structured learning needs

For more complex learning needs consider having eLearning created by instructional designers. One of the benefits of eLearning is the ability to give people a score or pass/fail mark.

Use forms to capture the information you need

There are a number of standard forms that new hires need to complete to provide information such as their tax file number, bank details, emergency contacts and more. See our article on forms needed for new hires for more information.

Use online tools like Zoom and Skype to connect leaders to their people

If teams are working remotely or in isolation, tools like Zoom and Skype can help leaders and their new hires engage more closely.

How to keep a group feel

One of the things many companies like about face to face inductions is the ability to onboard people in groups. Having a cohort helps new hires because they can relate to each other, share information and develop bonds that continue during their time in the organisation.

One option is to mix online and face to face interactions during the induction process. Where this isn’t possible, for example due to Coronavirus, a combination of social and communication tools will help to retain that group feeling. One important tip here is to make a manager or trainer responsible for starting, encouraging and keeping group interactions going.

How Cognology works with customers to make the move to online inductions easy

Use Cognology’s online onboarding and induction tool

Cognology’s online induction tool includes all the forms and steps you’ll need to put your inductions online. It also includes social tools to keep people together and training tools for scheduling and management.

The system is scalable which means it’s suitable for simple one-day inductions or more detailed onboarding processes.

It’s cost effective and also free to try out. See more.

Our team move your content online

Our team does the heavy lifting for you by performing most of the steps listed above. We have HR professionals and graphic designers with experience working on hundreds of inductions who will put your content online and ready for you to try out.


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