/ Employee Onboarding

Three Questions for Employee Onboarding, and How Merlin Guides Can Answer Them

Employee onboarding costs time, money and resources every day until they start doing their job. While training is definitely necessary, no company wants it to last hours or weeks longer than it absolutely has to. At the same time, doing a poor job with onboarding training is a costly error in itself, as the ill-prepared employee wastes time and resources while they struggle to do the work.

Every company is always looking for that goldilocks onboarding timeframe - just long enough to be effective, but not so long that it reaches the point of diminishing returns. Here's how Merlin Guides is a big bowl of the right kind of porridge when it comes to onboarding training.

#1 Is a Balanced Curriculum the Best for Employees?

When building a curriculum for employee onboarding, it is a very common practice to aim for "balance." Balance between contact skills, systems skills and company skills (such as HR policies and payroll). Short change any of those areas, and you risk damage to your customers or even to the company itself. However, many balanced curriculum approaches rely on an outdated ratio rule, anywhere from 80/20 to 60/40. Such ratios indicate that you should spend the larger amount of time on the "common" tasks and the smaller amount of time on the less-common tasks. Rare tasks get little to no time in onboarding training. The main problem with this approach is that it fails to consider what's driving the business. The frequency of a task may or may not align properly with your revenue drivers.

A more modern approach is to push as much learning as possible out of onboarding and into the job itself in the form of performance support, knowledge bases and other methods. Merlin Guides fully supports this modern method of training. When new employees can focus less on how to perform system tasks, the time savings can either be redirected towards the real business drivers, or towards shortening the length of the curriculum itself.

#2 How Short is Too Short for Onboarding?

One thing to guard against, though, is pulling too much out of employee onboarding training. With products like Merlin Guides, it becomes tempting to shorten onboarding training almost out of existence. That's not the best idea though--you can definitely certainly shorten the curriculum, but getting too aggressive can greatly impede a new employee's results. While it is true a Wizard can literally walk an employee through completion of a system task, working the system is usually only part of completing a contact. With most systems--even with a guide--there are still items the user must understand, choices that must be made and, of course, customer contact skills that must be honed.

What Merlin Guides does really well is allows new employees to focus more on those other areas and less on navigating the system. When they get enough practice using the Wizards during training, they come to completely trust them, so that, out on the job, it's one huge thing they don't have to think about, allowing them to focus their energy on the business drivers.

#3 How Much Time Does an In-Product Wizard Save?

Imagine a practice sales contact for a new employee still in training. For many new employees, navigating the system is a daunting task, and one they must think about continually. In a practice contact, they pause and stumble a lot because they're thinking too much about what to do next in the system. Now imagine they are instead following a Wizard that is showing and telling them what to do in the system. Suddenly, their practice is now more focused on helping the customer and closing the sale. They're still getting system practice, but they're really learning to rely on the Wizard, which mostly takes the whole "learn the system" part out of the equation. Think, how much time would that save in your curriculum?

Employee onboarding training can be one of the most important influencers of a new employee's early success. Merlin Guides can help you to get not only the best value, but also the best results out of your onboarding time. If you agree, or just want to learn more, contact us.