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How to Leverage Your LMS for Onboarding Success

Joining a new organisation is an experience.  It can be a daunting one or a great one. The LMS can play a pivotal role in making your onboarding a success, but are you making the most of it? Make it a positive and supported one through the use of a focused onboarding portal. Nina Brebner from Totara Platinum Partner Kineo shows us how. 

We've developed onboarding solutions for organisations including Vodafone, City & Guilds, and easyJet. Back in June we released our Onboarding For Results: Best Practice Guide which outlined the benefits and best practices of engaging onboarding. 
So, where does the LMS fit in this, and how can you use it to support your new joiners? Here are 5 quick tips.

1. Reduce the Fear Factor

Put yourself in your new hire’s shoes. You start on day 1, and are greeted by all of the training you must complete in the first 3 months or more. There’s lots of to-do’s and must-do’s. Is it the best first experience you can create?

Your LMS can provide a much-needed support system for new learners by breaking down their learning into more digestible chunks and structuring the onboarding experience. With the use of Totara LMS you can combine features including Programme Management, Learning Plans and Course Pages to help design and display learning in a way that is less overwhelming to the learner.  This can all start with a clear navigational block from the homepage which welcomes you to the onboarding journey.


This can then take you to a landing page menu which can lead on to personalised learning plans, course pages or programmes:

Course pages in Totara LMS are highly flexible and enable you to structure topics into bite-size chunks of learning which could be videos, e-learning, quizzes, documents, forums, face to face and much more all under the heading of one topic. Below is an example where the activities have been neatly laid out, they indicate the media type, the length and whether it is compulsory or not.

Structuring in this way can make onboarding a less daunting and more structured and supported experience for the new hire.

2. Make it Personal

If you’re part of a large organisation, it’s likely the onboarding has a largely digital focus, underpinned with on the job activities with the support of the manager, buddies or mentors. But everyone’s busy – are your new hires going to be left to their own devices too much?

In those early days, , a well structured balance between online and offline activity will enable you to mix the efficient with the empathetic learning activities of learning. New hires need human contact too, whether it’s with coaches, mentors, Subject Matter Experts or their managers (or even all of the above) and the business needs effective and efficient learning solutions that enable self-paced learning that work as  performance support tools as part of business as usual. And of course, most of their learning will happen outside formal courses. Your new hires will mainly learn on the job and from their peers,  so you need to build in plenty of opportunities for networking and social learning during onboarding.

To reduce the amount of administrative effort and to enable learning to feel like a personal experience you can use the Totara LMS audience management feature to assign a programme that is designed to enable the learner to learn the way they wish and with role specific content. With a well-structured and sign posted programme that marks the difference between compulsory and optional learning, the learner makes best use of the time they have and focuses on what they genuinely need to know. For the final touches reward where suitable, encourage social engagement using blogs and forums and book face to face interventions through the LMS so that the learner can own their own time.

Your LMS can become an essential part of empowering and personalising your learner’s onboarding programme, by accurately mapping a learning plan that suits the needs of that specific learner. A powerful onboarding programme can provide access to people, resources and tools specific to that learner.

In the below example we can see a personalised programme helping the learner to identify what they need to do and when. You can also see a different type of completion and reward with the below programme measuring completion for your contribution to community activities, course work/assignments, challenges and more.

You can take the social learning element further with Totara Social, and build an enterprise social network enabling new hires to build a profile, connect with others, ask questions and build a support network inside the organisation.  

Keep your onboarding personal with these 5 tips.

3. Make it On-Brand

The LMS and onboarding content may well be the first branded learning experience for your new hires. . So make it a great first impression. This is about setting an expectation of who you are as a business, what does your brand stand for, what kind of people work for your brand and the tone of voice of which you expect people to communicate in as much as it is about the look. This lesson starts at recruitment when people make a decision on whether you are the business for them, but leads into the onboarding when you set the expectations before day on and embed them from day one.

Your LMS has the opportunity to say something about your brand (and your culture) that your content in isolation may not. Your LMS enables you to bring together a mixture of learning resources in a clearly defined journey that says to new hires: “We value you. We want to help you be successful in your new role and we are an efficient, well organised business that invests in getting it right.”

See how Vodafone used an on-brand, personalised Totara LMS to drive learner engagement.

4. Motivate and Reward with Open Badges

Everyone responds to motivation and reward. Don’t forget this trigger for new hires.. When we start the ideal on-boarding experience much of the activity is high empathy focused targeting the emotions of the person, giving them a sense of belonging. As you progress further into the on-boarding journey we often see the level of empathetic learning reduce and it becomes about the competency, compliance and capability needed to fulfil the role, when the focus switches from the needs of the employee to the needs of the business we can lead into high efficiency learning. Reward is a great way of retaining empathy within a high efficiency learning programme. Reward is a great way to motivate people and make them feel valued. For the ultimate on-boarding experience provide rewards in the form of open badges, and celebrate their accomplishments  - here’s how this can look:.


5. Measure Your Success and Keep Evolving

If you’re not channelling your onboarding through your LMS, how are you currently measuring success? How do you know it is working for your new joiners and their teams?

Totara LMS has powerful reporting tools which both new hire managers and L&D managers can make excellent use of. These tools facilitate more effective measurement and monitoring of the success of the onboarding process, and can easily highlight areas of strength and weakness.

Measuring the success is about keeping the LMS evolving with the demands of the learner. So it is important to reach out to the learner and evaluate whether the LMS still serves the original focus it was intended and meets their needs. Measurable questionnaires, followed by a SWOT analysis, the defining of a strategy and a close relationship with your LMS partner will help you move it from the needs of this year’s new starters to be in line with the needs of next year’s new starters.

Find Out More

Totara LMS and Totara Social can combine to give you and your new joiners a great start in onboarding. Find out more here. And check out Kineo's insights here.


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Kineo is a global workplace learning company that helps your business improve performance through learning and technology. Kineo has a global network of offices with extensive experience in working with clients to design, develop, host and support Totara solutions. We can work to help you with simple, quick to market LMS implementations through to highly customised enterprise portals. One of the founding Partners, we have also been a key contributor to the code.

Kineo's global head office, based in the UK, has implemented over 200 Totara and Moodle solutions for clients including Tesco, Vodafone, Samsung and many Government and health clients.

Kineo US has developed and deployed highly customized solutions for a wide range of organizations including clients Kohls, DataFlux, and Capella University.

Kineo Pacific has extensive experience implementing Totara solutions for many clients including ALDI, Toll Group, Computershare, KiwiBank, NZ Tourism, Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and other Government and Health organisations.

Kineo South Africa provides a full range of e-learning services including content development, consultancy and custom Totara implementations. 

Kineo Latam ha desarrollado e implementado soluciones altamente personalizadas para un amplio rango de empresas como Golcorp, Bridgestone y Gobierno de Ciudad de Buenos Aires. Para más información, póngase en contacto con​ [email protected]

Other case studies by Kineo


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