How to Onboard and Develop Employees with Social Learning 

The first few weeks when new team members join your organization are critical when it comes to setting them up for job success. A robust onboarding process helps new hires become familiar with company culture, business functions, and their role — along with improving employee engagement and reducing employee turnover. 

One critical element of a good onboarding program is social learning. Social learning, which is learning that comes from observing and imitating others, can be a very effective way to help new hires build relationships, feel connected to other employees, and develop the skills they need to do their job. 

Social learning helps onboard new employees by:

  • Familiarizing them with company culture. Through social interactions with other team members, new hires will begin to internalize “the way we do things around here.”

  • Giving them a built-in support network. Stepping into a new company can be overwhelming, but social learning provides new hires with people to turn to if they have questions about the onboarding process.

  • Making them feel like part of the team. Rather than working in a bubble, social learning helps employees feel connected with their colleagues within the wider organization, creating more engaged employees.

Best of all, with a good learning management system, it’s easy to integrate social learning elements into your onboarding process. 

Read more: 8 benefits of social and collaborative learning technologies

Pair new hires with mentors

One effective way to include social learning in your onboarding process is to connect new employees with more established colleagues who can provide guidance. Assigning mentors for new employees helps them develop relationships and give them a place to ask questions. 

Set expectations for regular check-ins and guidelines around communications. For example, mentors and new hires can stay in contact through your LMS’s internal messaging app.

Build teamwork through group projects

Improve organizational performance and strengthen connections between team members by using group projects in your onboarding process. This can be a powerful learning experience, and help new hires develop new skills. 

Within the group project, you can also include role playing, gamification, and other forms of social learning experience to help employees feel connected. 

Provide a “water cooler” social feed to introduce new employees

New hires can be nervous and filled with anxiety during those first few weeks at the office. Help employees feel connected with each other and build relationships by giving them a casual place to connect online through a “water cooler” social feed discussion in your LMS. 

This gives new employees a place to introduce themselves and get to know their colleagues, and can be especially helpful for improving employee engagement in remote work situations. 

Consider the onboarding program long term

At many organizations, new employee onboarding takes place over the course of a short amount of time. When you turn your onboarding program into a longer-term event — and include social learning — your new hires will be set up for job success. 

Use your learning management system to continue delivering both formal onboarding content and informal learning elements throughout the first months (or even years) of your new employee’s career. You will see the benefits in reduced employee turnover, improved organizational performance, a better employee experience, and happier employees.

Learn more about how Opigno LMS can help you onboard and develop employees with social learning. Explore our demo today.



Author: Adam Kennedy-Ripon

Design: Simon Contreras