Transforming onboarding programs with interval reinforcement

Transform onboarding programs with AxonifyWhether you work in an industry with rapid growth or high turn over, you have probably surfed your way through the waves of onboarding. Most of us have at some point experienced an influx of fresh talent, waiting to be developed.

With multi-generational learners and varying learning objectives, the need start transforming onboarding programs has never been greater.

Every manager charged with making new hires feel welcome, establishing their responsibilities and familiarizing them with the company culture knows there’s a lot to cover and the process is often overwhelming.

What’s even more shocking is how little of this critical information employees actually retain and how the retention of onboarding information directly correlates to employee satisfaction and retention.

Blasting information at anyone (especially new hires) is about as effective as trying to crack an egg by throwing it at a wall. We have all sat through corporate orientations where the program leader jokes about the phrase “information overload”, while the rest of us awkwardly laugh and nod. But how do we ensure that every employee gets a fair shot at onboarding? How do we get (and keep) people interested in our organizational missions and visions? At the end of the day, how do we make our onboarding stick?

We train. We train. We train. (And then we train some more.)

B.F. Skinner introduced us all to the theory of reinforcement decades ago, but it wasn’t until recently that this theory evolved into a concept with real-world applications and most recently, results. The concept of interval reinforcement consists of the delivering small chunks of bite-sized training on frequent basis over a period of time, opposed to blasting trainees with one-time instances of concentrated content which they forget, usually within 30 days.

Organizations world wide in retail, manufacturing and service industries are already capitalizing on this significant scientific application. Some have gone on to report knowledge retention rates as high as 90% with a regular reinforcement program.

The adaptation of interval reinforcement in training is a call to action for all of us. We must start to build on and extend the short-term impacts of onboarding programs into long-term successes. With added engagement tactics like gamification and rewards, we can ensure not only that the onboarding experience is effective but also an enjoyable one.

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