Flip The First Day: How to apply flipped learning to employee onboarding

After months of recruiting, three weeks of interviews, and one long final negotiation, the day has now almost arrived — Lisa, your new hire, starts Monday. Turning the World Upside Down - Wikimedia Commons

You’ve already got the day planned out — most of the week to follow, too. Team meetings have been called for introductions and time set aside for office tours. Your managers and subject matter experts have set aside time to introduce how your new person to every little detail of what she’ll be doing, how she’ll be doing it, and who she’ll be doing it with.

It’ll be a whirlwind for the new person — because of course it’s always a whirlwind for everyone — but you aren’t worried. She shined in the interview, she’ll do fine. And by hearing from everyone, she’ll know who to go to for any questions that come up or details she may forget.

And besides — it’s not like there’s a better way to onboard new employees, is there?

“Flipped Learning” — The New Buzz In Employee Onboarding

Over the last five years, a new style of teaching has been sweeping through schools and universities all around the world. The “Flipped Classroom” model is a simple technology-enabled twist on the traditional approach to teaching — instead of lecturing during class time and assigning students homework, educators are using video and other online tools to share lectures for students to watch before class time, then using their in-class hour for extended discussions, interactive activities, and more challenging assignments that take advantage of the fact that students can now come to the teacher for questions and clarifications while in school, instead of just getting stuck while at home.

It’s a teaching practice that’s really taking off — already now 1 in 5 educators are planning for flipping their classrooms. And that’s with good reason — flipped classrooms have been shown to improve the learning experience for both student and teacher, with demonstrated improvements both in students’ grades and their attitudes toward learning in general.

With so much success in academia, it was only a matter of time before flipped learning expanded outward into other learning environments — and found a perfect application in employee onboarding.

Flipped Onboarding — Better For Your New Hires, Better For You

For new employee onboarding, flipped learning is a small change with the potential for big improvements in getting your people up to speed.

The methodology is easy, and built on the proven model of the flipped classroom. Here’s how it works:

  • When preparing for a new hire, the hiring manager and your learning and development team collaborate to outline what skills, knowledge, and training the new person should have when they first walk in the door.
  • Then, the manager and the training team should chart out what of all that information already exists in a shareable format (whether an instructional video, a handbook, or another resource) — and create any new resources that may be helpful. Video is especially helpful here — a guidebook may require months to write, but a video walkthrough may take only a few minutes or hours to complete.
  • Finally, instead of waiting until their first day actually in the office to begin training a new hire, the hiring manager can reach out as soon as the contract is signed and share all those resources for their new person to review while they’re waiting to get started.

With the most important information in-hand ahead of time, your new hire can come into their first day confident they understand the essentials — and know what questions they’ll want to ask first to help themselves get ramped up in their role.

A Sample Flipped Employee Onboarding Video for Sales

4 Reasons Flipped Onboarding Works Better For Your New Hire

Flipping employee onboarding taps into your new hire’s own excitement and anticipation for their new job, creating benefits they’ll really appreciate:

  • Boosting 1st Day Confidence. Rare is the new hire that isn’t a least a little concerned about whether they’ll understand the position or fit in with their new team. Sharing resources ahead of time helps them learn what and who they’ll need to know, so they won’t be walking into a completely foreign environment on day one.
  • Giving Them A Head Start. No one likes to be the newbie. Most new hires are happy for the opportunity to spend the week or two between accepting a position and their first day in the office learning the fundamentals about what they’ll be doing.
  • Reinforce Their Decision To Work For You. You already know your organization works hard to support your employees, but all your new hire has to go on what they heard in their interviews — and everyone says that. Sharing resources ahead of time helps to prove your commitment to their success, and gives them reason to trust that you are on their side.
  • Get Benefits And Other Paperwork Completed And Out Of The Way. Benefits, resources, policies, systems — they’re all essential pieces of information for your employees, but at the same time, they’re easy to lose in the shuffle when everything is presented all at once on the first day. Sharing these resources ahead of time gives your new hire a chance to really review them — and get them completed and out of the way early so they can get right to work when they finally come in.


4 Reasons Flipped Onboarding Works Better For You

Of course, along with helping your new hires, flipped onboarding also provides several benefits to your own organization:

  • Faster Ramp Up. Just as watching lecture video ahead of time helps students come to class prepared for more challenging learning activities, having your new hires review relevant learning resources beforehand saves you the training time you’d otherwise need to dedicate to that information. That, in turn, means you can move right in to more technical or detailed training than would be possible with traditional onboarding.
  • Reusable Resources. Especially for front line positions or those industries with high turnover, one of the most challenging aspects of onboarding is the repetition. The information is all essential — but tasking a manager or trainer to repeat it for every new person brought eats up a ton of resources. Recording that information, however, enables you to make those details available anytime anywhere — giving new hires what they need to know while freeing up trainers to focus on other work.
  • Make Smarter Use Of Experts’ Time. The managers, colleagues, and subject matter experts normally tapped to assist in onboarding a new hire aren’t just sitting around waiting to train someone. They’ve got other work to do, and frankly — even though they’re happy to help — making time to onboard means taking time away from other important tasks. Asking them to instead record their tips and insights in a video allows them to share their expertise once — and then allows everyone else to make use of that wisdom on-demand.
  • Assist Existing Employees. The information commonly shared when onboarding is a wealth of detail as to how programs work, what others in the company do, and how organizational policies work. In other words, it’s information that’s often also exceptionally valuable to existing employees too. When onboarding is done one-on-one in person, all that information is inaccessible to your existing staff — but when those details are included in a shareable recording, they can be found and referenced by anyone. That means you’re not only helping your new people get up to speed — you’re also helping your loyal veterans stay up to date.


Find Out More!

ICON - CTA - Onboarding - Make Every First Day A Great One

Onboarding isn’t just training — it’s a delicate process of introducing a new employee to the culture and values of a company. To learn more, download our white paper, Make Every First Day A Great One, to see how video can be an easy way to scale your onboarding efforts, and to help you make sure your onboarding program is ready anywhere, anytime, for each and every one of your new hires.

And to experience how video can help your organization improve your new employees’ first days with flipped onboarding, contact our team for a free 30 day trial of the Panopto video platform today.

Published: July 22, 2016

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