Level up your onboarding with gamified microlearning

Ellie Doyle, 4 min read
Women walking up stairs towards a Nintendo controller

Did you know that 60% of companies do not set any goals or milestones for new hires?

Without given tasks and benchmarks for achievement, how does a new starter find their feet? 

We’ve probably all been through a lousy onboarding experience - but let me walk you through one of mine.

It was for a remote job - I’d never had one of those before! - and I was pretty excited. The company was a start-up and from the interview, they sound really exciting and passionate about what they do. My manager calls to let me know my start date and… that’s it. No further contact before I started. Red flag #1.

I get up early on day one, a bit confused that I haven't heard anything from them. So I give the manager a call. It went a little something like this:

Me: ‘Hey ____! Just checking I’ve got the dates right and today is my first day.’

New boss: ‘Hey, Ellie! Yeah of course it is - exciting times!’

Me: ‘Yeah - I’m excited too, so just seeing if there’s anything I need to get across this morning to jump in.’

New boss: ‘Nah that’s cool, nothing in particular! I’ll give you a call this afternoon and see how you’re going.’

And then he hung up. Giving me nothing to go on, really. Red flag #2.

About half an hour later I receive a seemingly automated email with my new staff email address and an intranet login. Cool - this was what I was looking for this morning. After setting up my email accounts and going through the intranet, I found there was nothing there to help introduce me to anything about the company. Half a day into working here, and I’m absolutely in the dark.

Later that day, as promised, I receive a call from my new manager. When I told him I was very confused about what was expected of me and how to get started, he seemed puzzled. He thought the email with all the information would keep me occupied for the first few days.

What email with all the information? Yeah well, turns out someone may have forgotten to send it…. 

It was, as described, an email with about 15 different attachments describing different areas of the business and the brand guidelines. Pages upon pages of black and white text, talking about sales techniques and outdated team structures. Yawn. That was about it. Red flag #3.

Needless to say, it wasn’t long before I was on the hunt for a new role with, I hoped, a slightly higher-touch onboarding system. Something engaging that would actually make me excited to start work.

Luckily for me, along comes Yarno. And I can vouch here - we have a much more effective onboarding experience.

Why do you need an effective onboarding process?

20% of employee turnover happens in the first 45 days and is usually the result of a poor onboarding process. 

If an ineffective onboarding process is your first impression of your new job, chances are that’s going to stick with you. You’ll get a week into your onboarding and start thinking, “jeez - yawn - is this what my everyday is going to look like?”. And this has a pretty strong ongoing effect.

Your new starter is expected to get across a lot of information quickly so they can jump into the real work! So, how can you make that experience enjoyable and memorable?

Gamification in onboarding

Gamification is a buzzword in the microlearning space (which you can read all about here, or here, or here, or here...). Applying game mechanics to learning content makes it fun and easier for the learner to absorb. So why not also gamify onboarding and use microlearning to deliver the key concepts, in bite-sized pieces?

Remember the new starter is likely going to feel overwhelmed with information. We need to make it as easy as possible to absorb the knowledge they need to get started - so gamified microlearning is a great way to introduce small bits of information, and embed them to ensure maximum knowledge retention.

It also makes the onboarding process more engaging. Very important! No more boring first days trying to get up to speed with everything. Leverage your new starter's excitement for starting a new job by making sure they are excited by their onboarding process.

How we do this at Yarno

As a gamified microlearning platform we like to use our product to introduce our product.

All new Yarnoers are invited to participate in a pre-boarding Yarno campaign, a week prior to their start date. It’s a quiz-based rundown of all things Yarno: who’s who, what’s what, our values, and other bits and bobs of info to make their first few weeks easier. 

It also gives them a taste of what it’s like to experience Yarno as a learner - getting to know the product by first being a learner themselves! 

"What!" I hear you cry, "but how will they know the answers?!". Well that is the point

Yarno isn't a test, and it isn't designed for you to pick the correct answer every time. Far from it.

We can't expect new starters to know anything and everything - they haven't even started yet! However, through the clever use (if we don't say so ourselves!) of spaced repetition, microlearning and gamification elements such as badges and leaderboards, we know they'll learn a thing or two they didn't know beforehand.

Any other information a new starter (or indeed, a long-time Yarnoer) might need to access is stored in our Learning Library. Need to know how to apply for leave? Want to know when the next in-person catch-up day is? It’s in the library.

This is complemented by a structured onboarding program from day 1. 

For each new Yarnoer, we set up an Asana checklist that outlines the need-to-knows for their first 30 days. This gives new starters visibility over their onboarding process - lifting the blindfold off the first 30 days. They can keep track of different orientation sessions - Yarnoers get an introduction to each team in their first few weeks - as well as any check-ins they have with their team. 

Asana lets you check these off as you go along - and every little tick is a step closer to success in their new role! Having ownership over the onboarding process helps new starters to pace themselves.

New Yarnoers are also invited to participate in another Yarno campaign after they've joined, to cement their understanding of the learner experience and knowledge of the product, and get to know a bit more about what it's like to work at Yarno. 

To maximise the potential of a new starter, the onboarding process should be as accessible as possible. Giving them ownership of their onboarding through learning campaigns and checklists is much more engaging than emailing them a few email attachments and sending them on their merry way.

Put yourself in their shoes. Would you want to read 50 pages of company policy back to back? Probably not – keep the onboarding process engaging and fun! You only have one chance at a first impression, trust me!

Ellie Doyle

Ellie Doyle

Ellie is the resident Yarno wordsmith. If she's not writing a million words a minute, you'll probably find her trying to smash her New York Times daily crossword time while listening to 3 podcasts at once.

More from Ellie Doyle

We'd love to chat about how Yarno can benefit your business

Mark Eggers

Mark, our Head of Sales, will organise a no-obligation call with you to understand your business and any training challenges you’re facing. Too easy.