Employee onboarding is a vital process in any company. According to research conducted by Brandon Hall Group, companies with a well-designed onboarding process can improve employee retention by 82%. And the Society for Human Resource Management reports that employees are 58% more likely to stay with their employer for more than three years if they receive good onboarding.
Additionally, Brandon Hall Group states that strong onboarding programs can increase productivity by more than 70%. SHRM talks about a lower value of 50%, but that’s still a very significant increase. It would suggest that, statistically, two employees after a good onboarding experience can work as effectively as three without one.
Challenges related to employee onboarding
So what does proper onboarding mean? First, starting a new job is stressful for newcomers. So the company should make sure they feel comfortable and aren’t overwhelmed by the amount of information.
Good instructors are necessary. The success of the onboarding process is almost exclusively left to them. It’s also essential to keep the employees engaged and make them remember the important information, which is not always easy.
Rising employee expectations is another challenge. If newcomers feel they weren’t properly introduced to the company, chances are they won’t stay long. As the job market becomes more competitive and expectations rise, many people expect the option to work from home. It’s troublesome to perform the onboarding remotely.
Digital employee onboarding
An answer to most of the issues we mentioned is changing the approach from traditional methods to digital. Digital employee onboarding means using technology and digital tools to take care of or facilitate the process. These tools include mobile applications, training resources that use the internet, but also new immersive technologies like virtual and augmented reality.
What are the main benefits of digital employee onboarding?
- You don’t need an experienced employee as an instructor. This means that person has more time to take care of other important tasks.
- Digital employee onboarding is convenient and welcoming. Newcomers can learn at their own pace and spend more time on specific things if needed.
- Higher knowledge retention because of the more engaging nature of digital learning. Especially if you incorporate technologies like VR & AR.
- A good image of the company in terms of employer branding.
- Easy remote onboarding. Due to its nature, digital employee onboarding makes it easy to complete the process remotely.
- Digital platforms are easy to manage and update. You can always add new resources and functionalities.
- Simple tracking of employees’ progress.
Creative new employee onboarding with VR
Virtual reality onboarding is, in principle, a form of VR training. And there is plenty of research and statistics indicating that this form of training is significantly more effective than traditional methods. For example, the knowledge retention for VR training is said to be around 75%, which is more than three times higher than for regular audiovisual resources. You can read more on the efficiency of VR training at FrontCore.
How can virtual reality improve digital employee onboarding? Generally speaking, it allows employees to visit places and see people without being physically present in a specific location. With VR, you can also create virtual spaces that would be impossible or expensive to recreate in real life.
For example, you could give tours of the company’s headquarters to remote workers in VR. Or you could show managers and office staff how the manufacturing process is done. This could give them a better understanding of how the company works without interrupting the production team’s work. Finally, you could give tours of foreign departments of the company to employees on the site.
One more thing you can use in VR digital employee onboarding is gamification. Fun games and interactive tasks in the virtual world can test new hires for stress tolerance as well as check their reactions, decision-making and professional skills. This project 4Experience developed for DPD is a good example of the possibilities of VR onboarding.
AR in digital employee onboarding
Augmented reality has the same advantages as VR. Its biggest advantage over VR is the fact that it doesn’t need dedicated hardware. All an employee needs is a modern smartphone. AR is also great for knowledge retention which you can see in the video below.
One of the more creative, powerful and practical ways to use AR in digital employee onboarding is by placing markers (unique stickers for the app to read) around the office. Employees can activate specific events in the app by pointing their cameras at these stickers.
For example, you could place them next to office doors and make them trigger a fun description of who occupies that space and what work they do. Likewise, these markers could be placed next to specialistic equipment for more technical work environments and trigger safety rules demonstrations.
A different but equally exciting idea is creating an AR app with a virtual employee that walks around with the employees and shows them the office. Augmented reality opens opportunities for gamification too. For example, you can use these markers for a scavenger hunt. Employees can win points for finding them and completing AR experiences or tasks and learning new things simultaneously.
How Samsung uses an AR app for onboarding
Samsung is one company that made great use of digital employee onboarding solutions. Its Polish branch needed a way to speed up and optimize how they introduced new hires to the company. What’s more, the whole process had to be completed remotely once the pandemic hit. This meant that newcomers couldn’t interact with each other the way they used to.
Therefore, Samsung decided to create a dedicated app to facilitate the whole process. We can proudly say that 4Experience was chosen for this task. It’s also worth mentioning that the app won the main prize in a contest organized by Puls Biznesu, which is a leading Polish business journal.
How does Samsung’s app work? This is how Katarzyna Dopierała, L&D and communication specialist at Samsung Electronics Polska, describes the project:
Our Induction@Samsung app provides our new joiners with the essential information about the company and features our own AR game Samsung Lighthouse – an interactive way for new joiners to get to know each other, appreciate the value of communication and test our smartphones.
The application delivers all necessary information through pictures and short videos. They’re easy to understand and the user can rewatch them anytime. In the AR game players work together to build a lighthouse which is a metaphor for Samsung. The game requires good cooperation between the players, which is great for integrating newcomers.
Digital employee onboarding is the key to success
As discussed in this article, creative onboarding is important for any business and organization. It impacts the team’s satisfaction, improves employee retention and increases productivity. Thanks to a good introduction to the company, your staff will correctly follow procedures and know how to properly use the equipment.
Whenever applicable and practically feasible, we strongly recommend using VR for your digital onboarding needs. Click the link to find out more about the amazing opportunities it opens. However, if you’re looking for something less spectacular but more accessible, an AR app might be just for you. Read more about our AR development offer here.
It’s worth noting that after you develop an AR or VR platform for onboarding, you can expand its functionalities and use it for other forms of employee training. Thanks to our experience and extensive skills, we can work with you to develop a versatile platform with the option to upgrade it in the future.
Where do I start?
The best way to start is by assessing your needs, expectations and resources. However, we’re aware that it’s sometimes challenging to come up with an idea or analyze it thoroughly. Because of this, we offer a range of consulting services, which you can read about here. On the other hand, if you already have an original, innovative idea, we’re ready for that too.
Marketing specialist with four years of experience. Having spent part of his childhood in Ireland, he's fascinated with its culture and language. Loves history, football and any form of writing.