Benefits of Induction Journeys

29th Sep 2015

I’ve previously written here about the benefits of learning journeys and about the importance of induction. In this post I’d like to look at how a combination of those two things - an induction journey - is good for the learner and the organisation. 


Given that we often talk about 'learning journeys' it’s odd that we rarely extend that metaphor into the actual learning experience. It is more common to focus on each of the individual learning interventions - the stops on the way - rather than the overall journey. During induction, when someone is getting their first experience of a new organisation and has very little context, the journey metaphor can be a powerful tool. 


Here are my top five reasons to use induction journeys. 


1. A clear plan 

A journey gives a clear sense of the start and end points as well as showing all of the major points on the way. It provides the learner and the organisation with a high level view of what is expected and helps check progress against those expectations. Reaching measurable points on a journey gives a greater sense of achievement and is more engaging than simply checking things off a list. 


2. Shorter time to competence 

One of the main goals of an induction programme is to take a new recruit and help them to become a competent employee, capable of performing their role to an acceptable standard. Induction journeys don't just ensure that people receive the right training, they make sure it happens at the right place in the journey and provide a clear route from novice to competent employee. Reducing the time to competence benefits the employee and the organisation. 


3. Flexibility 

Instead of structuring induction as a journey, learners are more usually given a list of activities to check off. They are linear, impersonal and are the epitome of a 'tick box' exercise. Journeys are much more flexible and have natural characteristics that make them well suited to induction. They are more individual - they are something that people experience - and that experience is unique to each person. 


4. It acts as a guide 

A journey is usually guided. In some cases, this involves nothing more than an itinerary - something akin to the experience of an independent learner. In other cases, there is a guide who supports and directs the traveller at every step of the journey. Most often, there is an overall itinerary and then individual guides for specific activities. A well presented online induction journey can act as the guide in many cases. This doesn’t mean we should remove the human element from induction, but an online journey can help ensure that the learner gets the right support from the right people at the right time - rather than being supported by those who just happen to work near them. For example, all employees of Automattic (the company behind the Wordpress blogging platform) work remotely and so they have an entirely remote induction, but one which is incredibly well supported through Skype, Slack and other tools. 


5. Reduced costs 

For me, the more important benefits are the improvements in learning, engagement and performance but we can’t ignore the positive financial impact too. With less need for classroom sessions, we can reduce the number of trainers (or allocate them to other activities) as well as reducing the need for dedicated classroom facilities. It means that learners spend less time away from the workplace, which is less disruptive for them, lowers opportunity costs and means less is spent on travel and other costs.

About the author
Barry Samson

Barry Sampson is a consultant focusing on the use of technology to improve workplace performance. In 2009 he co-founded Onlignment, a consultancy specialising in organisational communication and learning. Previously he worked in a range of delivery and management roles in HR and Learning & Development before becoming Learning Technology Manager at B&Q where he led a number of award-winning elearning and blended learning programmes.

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