A critical element in the future of work is getting new and current employees up to the speed of technology. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 8.1 million job openings in the U.S. as of the end of March 2021. Take this number into account with rolling out new technologies to current employees, and that is a lot of onboarding and training that will need to happen.
One of the biggest challenges in enterprises today is a new employee’s “time to value” – the amount of time it takes a new employee to achieve a valuable level of productivity. According to a recent workforce productivity and collaboration survey, 42 percent of new employees take six months or longer to begin adding value at work while 12 percent take a year or more. When asked why it took employees so long to add value, 26 percent stated the main reason was a lack of proper technologies and tools needed to do their job.
The pace of change in the world today is accelerating for businesses due to many factors – the most obvious being the myriad of changes created by the COVID-19 pandemic – but even market shifts and the introduction of new technologies are forcing companies to adjust quickly. When new technologies are introduced, it doesn’t just affect new employees, but even more so current employees who may have been doing things the same way for years, so it is critical to have the proper training in place.
Why Is Employee Time to Value Important?
Speeding up an employee’s time to value is essential for a business’s bottom line. With an average turnover rate of 57.3 percent in 2020, getting new hires up and running as fast as possible is critical. As employees either retire, move on to other careers, or even other companies within the same industry, the need to fill those gaps remains.
Many people fear that technology will replace humans in many industries, but in many cases, the technology is there to help humans succeed. Using digital tools and technologies like handheld devices and mobile apps can help employees quickly learn the skills that are mission-critical to their jobs. In fact, according to the same workforce productivity and collaboration survey, 24 percent of people said poor training was the number one reason it took them so long to add value.
How to Speed Up Time to Value
Companies in various industries can adopt many specific techniques and strategies to increase time to value for new employees. Still, these overall concepts can be applied across the board.
- Onboard at the speed of technology– Onboarding needs to keep up with the rapid pace of change and the technology that exists today; fortunately, this technology is also an advantage. Using technology to teach technology and other skills to employees will allow organizations to keep pace with the seemingly constant changes.
- Reassess tools – Onboarding and employee training, in general, should never be a “set it and forget it” mindset. Getting into the habit of regularly reassessing an organization’s tools and techniques to ensure employees are prepared and proficient will go a long way. A training technique that worked for one technology may not work for the next, so don’t be afraid to make changes to your approach.
- Continuous training– Adopting an approach of continuous onboarding and upskilling for existing employees will make it much easier to adjust when new technologies are rolled out. If there is an efficient onboarding and training process in place, hiring new employees and rolling out a new technology will become much less of an undertaking.
- Meet employees where they are– Besides remote employees, which have become more common during the pandemic, there are many “deskless” workers in the labor force. These workers do not sit at a desk and have access to a computer, so giving them training on desktop programs won’t help their productivity. Offer contextual training about the new technology being rolled out using the technology they use to do their jobs – most deskless employees use mobile handheld devices, so develop an on-device training program that they can complete on their devices.
When adopting these new strategies for onboarding and upskilling employees, it will be essential to make them a continuous part of everyday business operations. Having a continuous onboarding and training strategy will have a significant business impact by improving the company’s agility, increasing the capacity to hire more and introduce new technologies, and allowing for more effective project management to keep operations flowing smoothly.