One of the most important skills of a growing business is its ability to efficiently and effectively onboard new employees. Previously, NovoEd’s onboarding was done mostly through meetings and presentations. Our process was very high touch, but in order to accommodate our rapid growth, we wanted a process that was more scalable. The solution lay in designing an engaging onboarding experience that could be replicated easily.

As an operations intern, one of my first tasks was creating an onboarding process that was efficient and scalable––allowing new employees to be onboarded effectively while requiring little to no effort from current employees. My colleague, Andrew, had created an entire onboarding course using the NovoEd platform. The platform was perfect for teaching a course in the streamlined yet effective way we wanted to, because the learners could see the course clearly laid out, as well as collaborate with other learners––making the experience significantly more impactful than a mere video, lecture, or web page. In constructing this solution, we also found the process to be consistent with the ideas of NovoEd’s LXD course. What follows are the three best practices from this course that was useful in designing an engaging onboarding learning experience, as well as how these practices played a role in keeping the course useful for the learners.

1. Connect learners with experts

Lei design expert

Andrew interviewing Lei, our Design expert

One awesome aspect of the onboarding experience Andrew and I created was a series of interviews with members from the different groups that make up the NovoEd team. One member from each team was selected, and had to answer these four questions:

  1. What is your role at NovoEd?
  2. Which teams do you work most closely with?
  3. What does an average day look like for you?
  4. If you could think of one piece of advice for new employees, what would it be?

This was a great way for new employees to not only learn about the office’s operations, but also to gain useful insights from people who have been in their position (new employees). The questions gave way to some really interesting discourse about different teams working together to make NovoEd the groundbreaking company it is today. The importance of expert perspectives in learning is very well portrayed in the blog post “The Power of Multiple Perspectives: Lessons for Fatherhood and Learning”:

“By giving learners multiple perspectives, they are enabled to establish their own perspective…Variety can lead to a more engaging learning experience. As interesting, funny, and intelligent as an instructor may be, they themselves have only their life experiences to draw from. Give your learners access to more insights that result from our collective human experience.” – Drew Remiker

2. Keep learners engaged by keeping it brief

Our questions led to some fascinating conversations about the roles and relationships of different teams in the office. Interviewees seemed to have a lot to say about their place in the NovoEd team. While the conversations were incredibly vivid and interesting, Andrew and I had to consider the fact that new employees may not have the time to sit through three hours of footage. Which left me with the task of editing each video down to about half of its initial length. This wasn’t easy. While all of the content was relevant, I had to decide what was least relevant. By keeping the questions asked and the answers expected in mind, I was able to successfully complete my task. At the end of the process, the video was concise, meaningful, and informative. Learners could finally watch the full video without collapsing from boredom or feeling like they had wasted time by listening to unnecessary content.

Anyone can produce effective and engaging content, even without fancy and expensive editing software! A program like iMovie is perfectly sufficient for cutting film, adding transitions, and editing audio. Remember, learners will almost always appreciate concise, yet engaging content. It influences learners to read/watch ALL content, rather than only what they think is important.

3. Establish credibility through quality production

quality production

Our beautiful backdrop in the Conference room

One of the key ways to keep learners engaged is by establishing the course’s credibility (beyond hearing from experts) through high quality, well-made videos. In order to do this, Andrew and I had to put significant thought and effort into our filming set.

First, the video itself had to look and sound good, so we decided it was important to have two high quality cameras for cutaway shots, as well as an external microphone for better audio quality. We used an IPhone 7 Plus, which was equipped with 7-megapixel converter, as well as our colleague’s Nikon D300 SLR camera.

Second, we also wanted the set to look professional, so we tried to find the most optimal backdrop we had access to (i.e. the back wall of a conference room). We also placed a fern next to each of the two stools in the main camera angle, and even used a lamp to make for optimal color saturation in the shot. All of these pieces came together to make the video look completely professional, and not as if we were essentially beta-testing on very short notice (…which we were).

Takeaways in Creating an Engaging Onboarding Experience

Overall, Andrew and I had an awesome time putting this onboarding course together. Without even realizing it, we had put the major ideas of designing effective learning experiences to use in the creation of an engaging onboarding experience. Specifically, we connected learners with experts, kept learners engaged by keeping the content concise, and established credibility through producing high-quality content. To learn more about how LXD can do this for you, sign up for NovoEd’s free LXD course here!

If you enjoyed this content, be sure to read our articles about Sustainable Learning and Instructional Design Best Practices.