In Star Wars, Yoda, the most well-known of all Jedi Master, trains Luke Skywalker into an all-powerful Jedi Knight. In real life, (sorry Trekkies!) onboarding and training new employees may feel as challenging as Yoda's job, and a lot more expensive.
The end goal is to turn newbie Padawans into all-powerful Jedi Masters, without bankrupting the Jedi Temple.
Here are three ways to significantly lower employee onboarding and training costs.
Our current technology is actually catching up to the amazing stuff we saw in Star Wars, but we're not quite there yet. For now, Pokemons and VR will have to do. The technological revolution is also very present in our professional working life. Employee apps are popping up as the new thing in all types of workplaces.
Employee apps, also known as internal communications apps, are branded smartphone apps that employees use to stay updated with company news, notifications, courses, training and surveys.
In addition, it offers productivity-enhancing tools such as a clock in and out feature and online checklists. For managers, these apps offer a dashboard to create and upload content, monitor employee engagement and performance in real time.
Internal communication platforms such as Slack, which also has an app, gives Facebook a run for its money as it has found creative ways to keep users engaged and stay on the platform. In Slack, employees can create groups that consolidate all communication within each relevant group.
This can save time and money by giving the right access to the right employees to documents and other content. Internal employee apps like this allow for efficient communication and other perks such as user groups based on interest, external to one's organization, which is a great way to meet others in similar fields and organizations.
I recently came across Connecteam which are offering a free or low-cost option to onboard and train new and existing employees. They can be set up online and assist both employee and employer in training and everyday tasks. This is especially relevant for organizations with non-office employees who are in the field, with no access to a desktop computer to train or onboard.
These apps allow for employees near and far to orient to a new workplace by reading training material and then testing their knowledge. For office employees, it is also relevant. Think about it- you can either print hard-copy employee training manuals and physically sit with the employee to test their knowledge (taking up your precious time) or you can push out notifications to them and provide e-learning materials on an app for them to peruse on their own time.
These apps provide a platform for the employer and employee to exchange knowledge digitally, saving paper, money and most importantly, your time.
Employee apps are in the best interest of both the employer and employee. Employers cut costs and streamline onboarding and training. They provide a forum for employees to communicate with their fellow workers and supervisors, ask questions, and receive feedback from e-learning test results, progressing in their journey to become a Jedi Master.
According to a report from Training Magazine, total U.S. spending on training in 2015 was just over $70 billion. Needless to say, companies are spending a ton on training new and existing employees. An easy way to use your existing resources is by pairing new employees with veteran employees in a professional mentoring relationship.
This costs zero, and it fosters a supportive and warm environment for both brand-new and seasoned employees. Mentoring is especially useful in on-the-job training. It makes the most sense to pair a new employee with a veteran who have the same position.
Big companies such as Morgan Stanley utilize mentoring at work, providing an easy and cost-effective way to train a new hire in the everyday roles and responsibilities of their new job. Moreover, the new hire has someone to turn to besides a supervisor for real advice, honest conversation and encouragement in their new role.
It also allows for the new employee to receive feedback from someone who has actually been in the role and can judge what works and what doesn't. Lastly, the new employee isn't the only one benefiting from this relationship. Studies have shown that those who help others lower their own stress and experience increased positive emotions. This is extremely important in the workplace where most adults report high stress levels. Thus, mentoring not only saves a lot of money, it provides on-the-job training and establishes a trusting and useful relationship for both the mentor and mentee.
Group Training and Onboarding
One of the most critical factors that correlates with employee retention is positive relationships in the workplace. It's especially important then, to welcome a new employee and help foster warm and positive interactions between them and their colleagues. The easiest and most effective way to do this, along with cutting costs, is group training and onboarding.
It's comforting for new employees to meet others who are in the same boat as them. Group training allows for a fun and social training environment which also builds retention rates. The best way to hold group training sessions is to make them interactive, fun and light-hearted.
The majority of workers get sleepy just thinking about meetings or training sessions because most trainers don't plan well nor actively engage trainees to make it fun and interesting. Managers can make training an enjoyable and interactive activity for employees to get to know each other better, which in turn builds team cohesion.
Two foolproof ways to do this are by providing food (preferably a yummy lunch) and doing silly and funny icebreakers. Group training icebreakers should be interactive, fun and creative. They can built team spirit and make your new employees feel a part of their new work culture.
Group training and onboarding takes care of two very important corporate ideals simultaneously: saving precious time and resources while welcoming and building a cohesive and social work environment.
One of the biggest challenges in both Jedi mastership and in good business practices is using your resources wisely. You don't want to waste precious dollars (or lightsabers for that matter).
The most creative and effective ways to cut onboarding and training costs are mentoring, using new and innovative employee apps, and utilizing group training and onboarding. All of these methods not only cut costs and free up resources but promote team cohesion and positive working relationships.
These techniques will help your company save time and money, while turning your average Joe into Luke Skywalker. May the Force be with you.