How To Build An Inclusive Employee Onboarding Program
December 28, 2018
Jill Garrison
Timer  Read Time: 5 minutes

*This is a guest post provided by Anand Srinivasan, Founder of Hubbion.

Employee engagement is one of the top factors that contribute to attrition. Companies where employees reported high engagement had 25% to 65% less attrition than their peers. Fix employee engagement, and you may very well have plugged the talent leak in your company.

Your company’s new employee induction training may be the very first introduction to your company’s culture. This is also the best place to make effective employee engagement content.  Studies show that a good employee induction program can double employee engagement metrics, including employee turnover, absenteeism, productivity and employee satisfaction.

Things to keep in mind while building a good employee onboarding program

We have all heard about the benefits of fostering diversity in our employee pool.  But how many of us ensure that this diverse group is trained well with an inclusive employee onboarding program?  If you want to reap the benefits of a diverse workplace, you must ensure that your training addresses the needs of the diverse employees.

What types of diversity are you addressing?

Before you plan an inclusive onboarding program, make a list of all the types of diversity you want to address.  It’s always a good idea to include every kind of diversity. But with the realities of limited time and resources, you may want to prioritize some types of diversity to start with. 

Look around your workplace – what kind of diversity do you see?  Do you see a wide variety of ethnicities around you? Are your employees spread around different geographies?  Do they identify with different cultures? Do they speak different languages? Are any of your employees differently-abled? Make a list of the different varieties of diversities you must prioritize.

Audit current program for shortlisted diversity factors

If you already have an employee onboarding program, review it thoroughly with your prioritized diversity list in hand.  Does it cater to every diversity type? Are the examples and analogies in your training specific to one culture? For example, non-Americans may not understand cultural references to Thanksgiving or baseball. Note down all the points in your onboarding program that need customizing.  It may be a good idea to categorize your audit points by diversity. This will come in handy later.

 Review current and/or updated program with diverse groups

Strategies that work for one group of your workforce may not necessarily work well for another. Accent, cultural references and speed of communication are all factors that determine training effectiveness. It is important to actively seek feedback regarding your training programs from workers of various backgrounds in order to obtain a complete picture of its effectiveness.

Do this review step as early in your updating process as possible.  The feedback you receive in this step might inform the whole trajectory of your updating process.  

Update current onboarding program

When you start the process of updating the training content, do consider the delivery format? Does your company have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy? If yes, it might impact the delivery format of your onboarding program. We use a number of devices these days to consume content, and you may have to make sure that your onboarding program plays well across all those devices.

Another very important consideration for delivery formats is the needs of the differently-abled employees. Depending on the trainees’ needs, you may have to ensure that your training program works well with closed captioning, subtitles, screen reader and even voice commands.

The different delivery formats throw up a lot of requirements – transcriber, translator, developer, voice artist – all resources you need to plan for.  You may also need to put in requisitions for additional software tools and devices to build and test your training content. If you plan all these requirements well ahead of time, it will save your team a huge logistical nightmare.

Seek feedback from trainees

Don’t forget to seek feedback from the trainees after you have launched the onboarding program.  After all, they are the intended beneficiaries here. Most trainers already ask for ratings for various factors – language level, the pace of delivery, and yes, even the evaluation quality!  While these are good factors to get a rating for, you cannot stop there.

Ensure that your trainees could ‘relate’ to the content.  Could they empathize with the characters in your training scenarios?  If not, what was the reason? A lot of successful training scenarios include a diverse array of characters that the trainees can relate to.  This is the first step of employee engagement, so don’t take this step lightly.

Has your organization faced a challenge building an inclusive onboarding program? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

Anand Srinivasan, Founder of Hubbion

Anand Srinivasan is the founder of Hubbion, a suite of free business apps and resources. The Hubbion Project Management app was ranked among the top 20 in its category for 2017 by Capterra.

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