We’ve all heard the stats about bad new hire onboarding and its impact on employee retention. But it’s not the people who leave because of bad onboarding you should be concerned about...
It’s the ones who stay.
A new hire who is ineffectively onboarded takes longer to provide value to the company, and struggles to become productive. Often, it’s managers who have to fill in the training gap created by bad onboarding.
John Kunz, Revenue Enablement Manager at digital identification software MetaMap, is familiar with the consequences of ineffective onboarding. When he took over responsibility for training new hires in sales, marketing, customer success and business development, John was faced with legacy onboarding that discouraged engagement. “You got a checklist of links in Notion, and you just read for hours and hours and hours. There was no experiential learning, no verifying of concepts. Nothing.”
MetaMap’s new hires weren’t the only ones negatively impacted by this static onboarding experience. The reading list of links meant that managers didn’t have access to completion data, and couldn’t verify that their new hires had grasped new concepts. “Leaders were telling us that people were coming out not really understanding the tool, the products that we have, or how we do what we do.”
That lack of understanding meant that new hires took longer than necessary to ramp. Typically, it took 90 days to get a new MetaMap hire to hit their KPIs, resulting in a longer time-to-value on deals for the team.
John knew that MetaMap needed to graduate from its list of Notion links. He needed a tool that:
- Shows new hires the MetaMap value proposition and gets them using the product faster
- Allows new hires to practise new skills in a low-risk environment
- Helps new hires absorb core competencies through positive learning experiences
- Empowers managers with data on engagement, completion and application of desired behaviors
Luckily, John knew just the tool for the job...
John had worked with Eduflow in his previous position at Backbase. He knew that he could solve the problem of tracking engagement with onboarding using Eduflow’s progress tracker,
As course administrator, John can hop into the Summary tab in his onboarding course. There, he can see which onboarding modules new hires have completed, and which they’ve stalled at. If someone hasn’t completed a module, he’ll reach out.
“Typically, we have check-in points along their two to three-week onboarding, where we'll have a regular scheduled meeting and we'll say, ‘Hey, just following up. I noticed you haven't been able to complete this piece yet.’ If they, by the next check-in, haven't completed that, I will follow up. And then I'll send an email copying not only the participant, but myself and the manager, on that same thing.”
The ability to see at a glance whether new hires have completed modules means John and his team can identify potential knowledge gaps way before they become a performance problem.
To complete MetaMap onboarding successfully, the new hire has to complete 80% of the material in Eduflow. “If they're not at 80%, then they have not passed and we do not certify them as having graduated from onboarding,” explains John.
For the hires that do pass the 80% completion threshold, John automatically issues an Eduflow certificate to the new hire’s manager. That certificate is John’s “stamp of approval saying we know that they've gone through enough [onboarding] to be able to move on to the next piece in their job.”
Thanks to the Progress Tracker and the Certificate feature, both John and MetaMap managers are now able to identify and fix knowledge gaps before new hires start interacting with potential customers.
The inability to track completion rates wasn’t the only problem with MetaMap’s static reading list of onboarding materials.
The legacy onboarding also had an unhelpful learner experience. The lack of interactivity made onboarding information dense and hard to absorb, and the link dump format left new folks confused about which information was relevant for their role, and which they could ignore. John explains:
“It was hard for onboarders to understand where everything fit together. There was no one they could ask questions to. There wasn’t any sort of engagement. And then, leaders were telling us that people were coming out [of onboarding] not really understanding the tool, the products that we have, or how we do what we do.”
To solve the challenge of new hire overwhelm, John implemented role-based tagging within Eduflow.
Tags allow you to personalize the learning journey based on defined criteria. Only learners who meet your defined criteria will see certain content within your course.
For MetaMap, John based his criteria on the new hire’s role. “We're using tags because we have specific tracks that everybody goes on. An account executive is not going to have to go through the same onboarding as a business development representative.”
This feature means that new hires don’t have to wade through onboarding materials that are irrelevant for their role. Instead, they take a customized learning journey that’s focused on their specific needs.
Once John had made sure that onboarders were only seeing information relevant to their role, he turned to the challenge of information uptake.
Previously, MetaMap hires struggled to truly absorb the wall of information presented for them to read in their first week. John decided that he could help new hires absorb and verify concepts by leveraging Eduflow’s quiz activities.
Quizzes are used formatively throughout MetaMap’s onboarding, providing ongoing feedback for both new hires and managers.
New hires use their quiz scores to identify their own strengths and weaknesses, so they can go back and review material as needed. John and managers use the scores to identify where new hires need more support; that support is then offered through live coaching sessions.
John uses another of Eduflow’s interactive features to help new hires prove they can apply the new skills they’ve learned - the submission activity.
This takes the form of a ‘boss battle’, a low-stakes competition between new hires. “The battle is their first demonstration of competence. They have to do a meeting where they record a 30 minute MetaMap pitch, with discovery questions and a quick demo of the product.”
The boss battle recording is done within Eduflow and each new hire’s manager is automatically notified that they need to review a submission. There’s a rubric and feedback feature within Eduflow that can be paired with submission activities.
Before moving onboarding to Eduflow, managers had no way to find out their new hire’s strengths or weaknesses. They had to wait until someone was on the job, and possibly making costly mistakes, before identifying skills gaps and coaching to fill them.
But the new onboarding set-up means that managers can see new hires apply new knowledge in a safe space, and plan accordingly. “We have a starting point for coaching and performance management moving forward,” explains John of the submission and quiz activities he’s set up.
And there’s one more feature that helps strengthen the feedback loop between MetaMap and onboarders: Eduflow’s discussion activity.
“We use [the discussion feature] to identify burning questions and build our FAQs,” says John. “After every day of content, we have a section where new hires can ask questions through a discussion activity. We leverage that information in our FAQs documents, based on how many times people are asking a certain question. It also helps us identify what areas we're not explaining well enough within Eduflow and where we might need to make improvements.”
When John came onboard, it took around 90 days for new MetaMap hires to close their first deal. Now, that’s down to 60 days.
“Our managers right now are seeing new hires come out more prepared to have conversations around the product and the services that we offer,” says John. “And they're getting to the correct KPIs faster [...] So we've seen a 33% reduction in ramp time.”
John attributes almost all of that positive change—about 90%—to using Eduflow. And he’s not stopping there:
“Our goal is to get to the point where we have three to four weeks of Eduflow training, with new hires gaining the experience they need to be able to execute on their job by month two. If we can do that, we could probably reduce time to the first deal by almost 15 days, which would mean our total ramp would end up being 45 days versus the 90 that it was before.”
And the return on investment of using Eduflow isn’t limited to reducing the time to first deal (although that’s awesome enough!), John has also optimized his own productivity thanks to Eduflow’s ease of use.
MetaMap’s onboarding is firing on all cylinders, but John isn’t finished yet. “My long-term vision is to have this training and enablement program and process be an award-winning program and process. I want people to be like, "This is like Disney!"
He has plans to widen MetaMap’s use of Eduflow to tie skill acquisition and behavior more tightly together, to track performance across the team over time, and perhaps even expand to training MetaMap’s customers and partners.
But for now, he’s focused on making MetaMap’s onboarding world-class. “I want it to be like one of those other companies that’s really, really great at training people. That means something right now.”