Learning is in the air: Can back-to-school excitement inspire your onboarding?
“Is this seat taken?” You’re waiting excitedly for their answer. It’s your first day here, and you don’t know anyone. They say “yes,” and just like that, you feel included. Whether you’re in elementary school, high school, university, or a workplace, the first day is filled with excitement and nervous butterflies; being the new “kid” is not easy.
What does the first day of someone’s job look like at your company? What about their first week, month, or even year? Back-to-school time is uplifting and fun: all those school supplies, new books, teachers getting ready to welcome their students, and lots of learning. It all feels special and full of potential! What if we brought that back-to-school excitement into the workplace?
Let the back-to-school period inspire your onboarding process
So, picture this. It’s your new employee’s first day. They come in, you shake their hand, and then what? What you do next can make or break their experience. Your new employee is likely very excited to start their new job, and you should keep that excitement going. At the end of the day, when they go home and someone asks them “how was your first day of work?”, you want them to have many great things to say about your company. Desirable outcomes of their first-day experience include:
- Feeling welcomed by the people in the office;
- A tour of the workspace, to familiarize themselves with the new environment;
- Having some unsupervised time to settle in and personalize their workspace;
- Receiving a branded, but also fun welcome gift (who doesn’t like free swag?);
- A meeting (or maybe lunch?) with their manager and team;
- Being asked what they would like to learn or skills they want to develop;
- Participating in training that is interesting, engaging, and varied;
- An easy to follow “to-do” list to make their first day eventful;
- Tips and tricks to succeed in their positions (e.g., time-saving programs such as Trello, Station, Slack, etc.)
Learning is a process, and so is onboarding!
What defines “onboarding” at your company? It is showing your new colleague how the coffee maker works, a few training videos, and giving them their first tasks? Do you hand over a thick binder of forms and procedural manuals to study? Or is your process more elaborate?
When a student goes back to school, their learning is varied, which is part of the fun and contributes to that back-to-school excitement. I doubt many students would be happy to go back to school if all they learned was one topic, forever. Making your onboarding process diverse ensures your employees will not get tired of the material and lose interest in both the training and your company. In the learning and development world, we call this approach blended learning.
Whether we are 5 or 45 years old, discovering new knowledge is exciting! Learning is a continuous process—humans are designed to be life-long learners. Transform your onboarding training into a constant learning process!
It’s “back-to-work” time!
What if “back-to-work” time was a real thing at your company? Every fall, and when you bring in a new employee, you have onboarding-related activities and fun, new training materials. Your company could update your onboarding materials to reflect the company’s growth, culture, and strengths! Imagine having:
- ‘Back-to-work’ photos (we all love those awkward “first day of school” photos);
- A message board for people to share what they’re excited about;
- Potluck lunch! It’s time to see what everyone can literally bring to the table;
- Team workshops on skill-building and professional development;
- New training videos that are fun, engaging, and completed as a team.
A happy, excited employee is an employee who will bring excellent knowledge and enthusiasm to their job. Make them curious about getting to know your company, and the first day of work will not seem so daunting. Here at Enable Education, we want employees (new and old) to experience innovative training and onboarding, by helping organizations develop customized, interactive learning materials.
How can you design your onboarding and training materials to encourage learning? How can you keep your employees’ curiosity alive and make their learning experience stick? Let us know in the comment section below!
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