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How to use an LMS for onboarding [With benefits & tips]

• 9 min read

LMS for onboarding

What is an onboarding LMS?

Learning management systems (LMS) are powerful e-learning tools that support your entire corporate learning program.

One common use case for LMSs is in onboarding.

Whether you need to onboard employees, partners, or customers, an LMS can make the experience as seamless as possible.

With the right LMS platform, any company can achieve effective onboarding. Keep reading to discover how.

Why use an LMS for onboarding?

Let’s be honest; getting an LMS for your company won’t be the cheapest purchase you’ll ever make. Nevertheless, LMSs do give good ROI (not to mention reduced workloads!).

Training your employees (and customers and partners) begins with proper onboarding.

Learning management systems centralize onboarding courses, enabling new team members to get up to speed with your processes and company culture much more quickly.

They offer rich e-learning functionalities, including mobile and social learning, automation features, and analytics to measure the results of your training programs.

As for onboarding itself, there are many benefits to having a smooth process in your organization. We explain why in the next section.

Why is it important to provide a smooth onboarding process?

Think back to the last time you started a new job – you probably had mixed emotions. On the one hand, there’s the excitement of a new opportunity. On the other, there’s anxiety about how you’ll fit in.

Your first few days at a new company can influence the rest of your time there. That’s why companies that want to retain their employees invest in onboarding.

Research from various human resources organizations and experts supports this idea.

A recent study by SHRM found that new employees who completed structured onboarding programs and training sessions were 69% more likely to remain at the company for up to three years.

However, another study by Allied found that only 66% of organizations train their new employees as part of onboarding.

As you can see, there’s quite a gap between how things should be and how they are. Effective onboarding calls for learning experiences that do more than just have the new hires watch a couple of videos.

There’s a lot in it for your company – a study by Brandon Hall Group found that organizations with strong onboarding processes improve retention rates by 82% and productivity by over 70%.

Delivering your onboarding via an LMS allows you to streamline and scale the process. At the same time, it’s flexible enough to use for different onboarding use cases. We’ll see the most common types in the next section.

3 different onboarding types

In general, onboarding is a process of familiarizing a new person with how your organization does things and the expectations you have.

While employee onboarding is the most well-known, it’s not the only type of onboarding organizations should offer.

Type #1: Employee onboarding

Employee onboarding is how you integrate new hires into your organization. Ideally, it should allow the new employee to become familiar with your company and their role in it. It’s also about getting the most out of your talent investment.

That means you need to teach them about your company’s structure, vision, mission, and culture. At the same time, employees should start getting acquainted with their coworkers, team leads, and managers.

Onboarding employees also includes skills and compliance training. That’s where your LMS comes in. Serving learning content that is engaging, effective, and accessible ensures your new hires become integrated and productive quicker.

Many studies show a link between comprehensive onboarding and overall employee success. For instance, research by SHRM found that employees are 69% more likely to stay with the company for more than 3 years if they were satisfied with onboarding.

Related: 4 ways micro-learning can empower employees and drive training success

Type #2: Customer onboarding

Depending on the industry, the cost of acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5x to 25x higher than retaining an existing one. This makes strong customer onboarding critical—especially for businesses where the value of a customer increases after the initial sale.

Think about a product or service you love. It could be Spotify Premium or the local bakery’s ginger molasses cookie.

Odds are you didn’t need Spotify or your bakery to onboard you because the service is easy to use and the product is easy to acquire.

But would you still love Spotify if you had to watch 10 hours of training videos before you could play a song? Or if your bakery only lets you pay in exact change? Probably not.

Most B2B SaaS products, though, are complicated, and getting the most out of their offering takes know-how. That’s why customer onboarding is so important: It helps customers get more value faster.

But here’s the game-changer: Solid onboarding and a great learning platform also reduce the time spent on customer support and increase customer profitability.

To do it well, having a simple repository of customer resources isn’t enough. Your LMS should be an instrumental part of creating, deploying, and measuring customer onboarding, as well as ensuring customer success.

Related: 3 must-have integrations for customer training

Type #3: Partner onboarding 

Channel partners can bring a lot of value to your business. But as with any partnership, it takes work and communication.

Good partner onboarding leaves a good first impression. And as we all know, you only get to make one of those. In other words, providing a stellar onboarding experience adds value to the partner relationship before it even begins.

Conversely, bad onboarding can lower your business’s credibility and risk potential future partnerships. Worse still, it can reduce the value that channel partners bring to your organization, throttling your ability to grow.

Again, tech can help. One of the best things about leveraging web-based training software for onboarding is that it will provide real insight into how training impacts partner performance.

You’ll see a correlation between partners who participate in training and their business results and sales success compared to those who don’t train. This is a fantastic way to validate your L&D efforts and connect training to real-world results.

Related: The definitive checklist for selecting the right partner training LMS

Effective onboarding has many benefits, but how do you get there? That’s exactly where an LMS fits into your onboarding strategy. Let’s see how in the next section.

What are the benefits of using an LMS for onboarding?

Most organizations today incorporate e-learning into their onboarding programs, whether it’s fully remote or blended.

Why, you may ask? Well, with advanced learning technologies like microlearning and social learning, giving your employees the info they need has never been easier.

Here are the benefits of using an LMS to power your onboarding process.

Benefit #1: Reduces churn rate & turnover costs

It’s well known that good onboarding reduces churn and boosts employee retention. That’s certainly something you want to take advantage of, considering employee turnover costs US companies a whopping $1 trillion annually.

Using an LMS to onboard new hires helps you put learners front and center. This means providing user-friendly, personalized, and flexible training sessions that focus on the learner experience.

The days of uninspired PowerPoint slides and boring lectures are over. Hello, videos, interactive exercises, and quizzes.

An LMS allows L&D teams to create a varied and engaging onboarding program that caters to different learning styles. In turn, employees get off on the right foot and quickly become productive (and loyal) team members.

Benefit #2: Keeps new hires motivated

Ask any instructional designer or trainer – motivating adult learners is not a walk in the park. But with features like gamification, e-learning can be engaging and motivating.

You can introduce your new hires to your company culture, set expectations, and clarify roles through learning materials they’ll enjoy interacting with.

Not to mention, you’ll also be motivating everyone to keep learning even after onboarding is done. Once your learners see how convenient and enjoyable it is to learn in your LMS, they’ll want to explore it further.

Creating a gamification framework is a great way to kick motivation up a notch. For example, with Docebo, you can set the LMS to automatically award badges when learners complete certain modules or learning paths.

Benefit #3: Easily tracks & measures courses

Connecting learning and development efforts with real-world business outcomes is always a challenge.

For instance, how does sales training impact the performance of your reps or channel partners? Are more and better deals being closed?

You can find the answers to these questions using an LMS with extensive reporting and tracking capabilities. These LMS metrics will give you an insight into learner progress and course performance.

Benefit #4: Effectively promotes growth

It’s all about the features yet again. Top LMSs create more growth opportunities for employees, whether that’s via social learning, formal training courses, or knowledge sharing.

Creating more learning opportunities encourages employees to grow and ensures they have the necessary tools and information.

An LMS makes learning flexible, meaning employees have more opportunities to develop professionally during onboarding and beyond.

Benefit #5: Acts as a knowledge base

Over time, companies acquire a lot of know-how. But very often, this knowledge remains siloed in departments and teams. An LMS can act as a central repository that breaks down silos and allows employees to share information easily.

From facilitating cross-functional collaboration to simply allowing team members to get relevant info at the touch of a button, an LMS is a powerful tool for getting the right knowledge at the right time.

Benefit #6: Aids in new hire evaluation

Remember those metrics we talked about? They can also help you quickly and accurately evaluate new hires. We all make mistakes from time to time, and so can your hiring team.

The sooner you find out that maybe the new hire isn’t the best for the role, the sooner you can correct the mistake. These quick evaluations lead to better and more efficient human resources strategies.

How do you use an LMS for onboarding?

Now that we’ve convinced you of the benefits of using an LMS for onboarding, let’s look at how to implement it.

Using an LMS for employee onboarding doesn’t have to be difficult or scary. With an LMS like Docebo, you can onboard remote employees (and on-site ones, too) and do it in a way that’s engaging as well as social and interactive.

What’s more, the entire solution scales with your learning needs. Adding new learning paths is easy, and you won’t have to pay for costly new solutions.

Now, how do you make use of an LMS in your onboarding? Here are five tips that will help you out.

  1. Leverage grouping. Your learning technology shouldn’t create more work; it should allow the automation of recurring administrative tasks, such as user grouping and enrollment, to increase efficiency.
  2. Keep learners on track. Learning software should empower learners to find the information they need, when they need it, at their own pace. It should also keep learners on track so they can finish their training as quickly as possible. Features like notifications, mobile learning, and gamification make it even easier for learners to achieve learning goals.
  3. Work with your existing technology stack. Your onboarding software should provide out-of-the-box integrations with tools already essential to your business operations, such as your CRM system, video conferencing tools, and Slack.
  4. Empower instructors, admins, and managers to keep learners accountable and successful. This means learners get feedback and input from the proper channels.
  5. Provide insights. Successful onboarding programs are those that drive measurable results. Therefore, onboarding tools should also provide insights into learner progress and other metrics that will allow you to link learning to organizational performance.

Onboarding is a big topic, so we’re not done with the tips just yet. There’s more in the next section.

3 tips for better employee-onboarding training & experience

Just like with any business function, there are certain best practices for onboarding that you’d be wise to follow. Here’s a video to get you up to speed so you get your people up to speed quicker.

  • Provide engaging learning opportunities where learners can share content and collaborate with subject-matter experts.
  • Capture and store data regarding completions and engagements.
  • Leverage onboarding to reduce churn by creating a learning environment that inspires and engages employees.

With these golden rules and a robust LMS, you’re ready to optimize your onboarding process. And speaking of a good LMS…

Supercharge your onboarding with the right LMS

Onboarding is your chance to get things right from the start.

With the proper LMS, you can take advantage of advanced features that make learning engaging and successful. We’re talking custom reporting, social learning, gamification, and personalized learning paths.

Docebo can help you onboard your employees, customers, or partners efficiently and effectively. To find out how – schedule a demo today.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Got more questions about using an LMS for onboarding? We have the answers.

Q1. What is the best LMS for onboarding?

The best LMS for onboarding is the one that suits your organization’s goals. Before committing to an LMS subscription, think about what kind of features and capabilities you need.

A good LMS for onboarding will aid business growth and be more than just an onboarding tool, supporting your whole L&D program.

Docebo can spark productivity from day one with onboarding programs that are engaging and effective.

Q2. What is the difference between an LMS and an HRIS?

A Human Resources Information System (HRIS) is a software application that allows companies to store and manage employee information and data. That way, it helps them in talent acquisition and management.

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a platform (often cloud-based) used to manage, deliver, and track online training. The best solutions offer features to enhance learning, such as assessment tools, gamification, and social learning.