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AI in Onboarding: 3 Key Strategies for HR Professionals and Trainers

An expert guide on leveraging AI for an automatic onboarding process, from content creation to performance tracking.

· Teamwork,Team Building,Activities

I don’t know about you, but when I was first appointed to plan an onboarding session for new hires in my company, creating the content was the biggest pain point. And now, with AI on the rise, it's a joy!

However, I initially stumbled in using it. AI is helpful, but mastering it can be frustrating, especially at the start. Sure, AI can create content for me, but is it the RIGHT content? Does it meet the goals that both the company and new hires expect from the onboarding process? It was quite stressful.

And I'm not alone in this—thankfully! 36% of HR professionals currently lack access to adequate technology, making it challenging to leverage rapidly advancing technologies like automation, AI, and analytics in areas such as recruitment, talent management, and employee engagement.

I hope you’re among the fortunate 64%, but if you’re in the same boat as I was, that's okay! We can learn together.

To add more complexity, most of our process was done remotely.

We're a diverse group. Our team is based all over the place: Singapore, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and we may soon be recruiting in other countries.

It was chaotic, until...

I finally found the balance in how AI can truly help and where I should focus on the human touch, maintaining the people-centric approach that is core to our company culture. Perhaps, yours is the same.

"I truly believe that onboarding is an art. Each new employee brings with them a potential to achieve and succeed. To lose the energy of a new hire through poor onboarding is an opportunity lost." - Sarah Wetzel, Director of Human Resources at engage:BDR

So, today, we'll tackle these pain points head-on. We'll explore how to get started with AI technology in the onboarding process, from automating content creation to tracking performance and generating insights for improvement—even remotely.

All this is aimed at streamlining the onboarding process, providing both you and the new hires with the utmost experience along the way.

Additionally, I will break down practical use cases that you can implement in your next onboarding session. Plus, you'll hear firsthand from an expert (I'll add more juicy details on this later!)

For your convenience, you can jump to the section that interests you most:

A great onboarding process benefits everyone. In fact, it can increase the likelihood of employees staying with a company for three years by 69%. Not only do we retain top talent, but we also reduce the costs of hiring.

The benefit if using AI in onboarding

The benefits of AI for HR practices include:

  • Quick and Easy

AI minimizes effort and time in routine tasks, improving efficiency and effectiveness. It enables automatic content generation with specific prompts or by uploading existing material.

AI also breaks down information overload into bite-sized, manageable chunks, facilitating learning at your own pace.

  • Accessible Anytime

About 89% of employees want training available anytime, anywhere they need it. Most AI tools allow the creation of asynchronous activities accessible outside the workplace.

This helps new hires balance the onboarding process, mastering knowledge while integrating into the new environment and culture. It enables continuous learning opportunities aligned with individual and organizational goals.

  • Better Engagement and Productivity

AI helps create engaging onboarding content, a crucial factor in the process. A successful onboarding process positively impacts productivity.

About 64% of companies saw positive gains in their organizational KPIs, and 54% witnessed significant gains in employee engagement metrics.

  • Visible Insight and Reporting

AI in onboarding makes it easy to identify areas needing improvement. They provide easy-to-read insights and actionable items for immediate addressing.

You can pinpoint who needs help in which areas and how to assist them. The tools also offer feedback on the overall onboarding process, enabling evaluation and improvement for future sessions.

Where to Start?

So, you're all set to give your onboarding process a high-tech makeover with AI. How do you ensure it's a success and not a failure?

Ensure you maximize the benefits of AI at your disposal without overwhelming new hires with excessive information. Also, align AI-powered platforms with the company’s budget.

Rather than letting technology lead the entire onboarding process, combine it to capture the most crucial aspects of AI that are impactful.

"Our to take our onboarding practices to the next level and give every employee, from the moment they arrive, the keys to succeed in full alignment with company values such as multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusion." — Laurent Reich, Director of Internal Learning Practice at L’Oreal

If your company has a flexible budget, consider adding secondary tools once you're sure they'll ease your job or enhance the overall onboarding process.

Remember, it’s not about using as many AI tools as possible. What’s the use of AI tools if the results flop?

These are three best use cases of how AI can help you streamline the onboarding process:

  • Personalization

AI tailors the onboarding experience to each new hire, based on their role and background. At the company level, everyone is introduced to the company’s vision, mission, and culture.

However, the delivery might differ based on the roles and responsibilities they undertake. For example, training for sales reps might differ from that for the customer success team, even if the material, such as product knowledge, is the same.

In fact, a significant 91% of employees want training that is personalized and relevant to their position

AI in onboarding helps creating personalized content

AI also personalizes based on each new hire's progress, suggesting materials based on their performance and identifying areas for retaking tests or revisiting previous materials.

It creates a continuous feedback loop and learning path, helping new hires level up their company knowledge at their own pace.

  • Interactive and Engaging Content

Nobody enjoys boring training sessions. AI can transform learning into interactive, gamified quizzes. Unfortunately, 58% of organizations report that their onboarding programs mainly focus on processes and paperwork.

AI provides more engaging activities for new hires

In the next section, we'll explore leveraging AI to make content more engaging.

  • Balancing Human and App

AI technology provides real-time feedback and assistance for routine operations, like submitting sick leave or inviting colleagues to meetings. However, for more nuanced needs, like communicating ideas to department heads, human interaction is key.

Assigning a mentor or buddy after new hires join reassures them and provides a point of contact. Regular check-ins by mentors or superiors help integrate new hires gradually.

In the first 30 days, new worker productivity remains around 25%, emphasizing the importance of support throughout this period.

Considerations When Adopting New AI Tools:

  • User-Friendly Platform

As per the "IBM Global AI Adoption Index 2023," the ease of use drives AI adoption. Choose AI tools with appealing visuals, interactive elements, and personalization to increase user engagement and satisfaction.

Poor UI design can lead to employee dissatisfaction, reduced productivity, and potentially higher turnover rates.

  • Integration with Existing Systems

Ensure your AI onboarding platform is compatible with your current tech stack for a seamless experience.

  • Ongoing Support and Resources

Look for customer support that is available 24/7 to address any issues promptly. Stay updated on the latest features to creatively enhance content and results.

  • Privacy and Security

According to a survey by Marsh, data security and privacy are top concerns. Ensure your AI tool provider addresses these issues effectively.

Reflecting on my first days at various jobs, a common feeling was being overwhelmed with new information. It's like trying to jump onto a moving train, right?

In this section, let's delve into how to create bite-sized content using question-generative AI, transforming dense information into digestible chunks.

Remember, onboarding a new employee is a marathon, not a sprint.

"We want to focus on creating a memorable experience for the new hire in the first year rather than processing them in the first few weeks." — Cheryl Hughey, Director of Onboarding at Southwest Airlines

Typically, an onboarding session starts with introducing the company's background, the founder's inspiration, and how these have shaped the company's culture and values.

Generally, there are at least three levels of sessions to cover:

  • Company Level

Introducing the company's story, culture, and values.

  • Department Level

For larger organizations, this level helps new hires understand how their department contributes to the company. It fosters a sense of belonging and shared responsibility. If your structure is straightforward or you have a small team, you might skip this.

  • Team Level

Sometimes we assume team members will automatically help new hires adjust. It’s not always the case. Coordinating with the team lead to prepare an onboarding session ensures that mentors focus on the human aspect of the job, rather than basic orientation.

Using AI to Generate the First Draft

When preparing the company-level session, you likely have existing materials or a company webpage detailing your values and culture.

With the right AI tool, you can transform this material into a list of relevant questions. Just copy-paste the webpage or upload a document into the AI question generator, and voila!

You'll have a list of questions in seconds.

broken image

This saves time compared to creating content from scratch.

Your next steps include reviewing the questions, adding slides for presentation, embedding videos or images for context, and adjusting the activity. Fact-checking is crucial as AI can sometimes be inaccurate. You are the final editor and creator of the session.

Aim to make this knowledge not just inspiring but actionable. Show new hires practical ways to embody the company's values and culture.

Use AI to generate the first draft of your training content

At the team level, discuss with the team leader the approach to take for onboarding. The goal is to ensure that new hires fully understand their roles and responsibilities.

I will provide examples of how we handle onboarding at Rolljak, especially for sales rep sessions. More on this later! But if you want to read about it now, jump to this section.

Previously, we discussed making questions more relatable and actionable. What does this mean, exactly?

You might have heard of Bloom’s Taxonomy. In essence, it's like a ladder for learning, where each step elevates your cognitive skills:

  1. Remember: This is akin to memorizing specific vocabularies.
  2. Understand: Like grasping the story your friend tells you.
  3. Apply: Using what you've learned, such as speaking with new vocabularies in context.
  4. Analyze: Considering how puzzle pieces fit together.
  5. Evaluate: Deciding whether you like a book and explaining why.
  6. Create: Crafting your own design or building something.

The goal is to progress content from understanding to creation, or action.

AI onboarding tools facilitate this progression. When uploading materials or creating prompts, you can specify the skill level you want the new hires to master.

For example, in the analysis stage, provide them with data and facts, then ask them to identify problems or opportunities. In the creation stage, challenge them to design a campaign for a specific purpose, armed with supportive information.

Utilizing AI in onboarding can make this process quick and automatic. Your role is to review and ensure that the questions generated align with your objectives.

By specifying the skill level, you leverage the onboarding session as a powerful tool to foster higher-order thinking in new hires, a crucial skill for business success.

According to a survey by Clutch, hiring managers value problem-solving skills nearly twice as much as digital or technical skills. This finding highlights the growing importance of critical thinking and adaptability in today's workplace.

Another task that AI can expedite and automate is the scoring of open-ended questions. There's a reason why multiple-choice questions (MCQs) are commonly used: they are easier to score, and results are immediate.

To boost higher-order thinking, including various types of questions is key. Developmental psychologist Irving Sigel found that different questions can improve our social, emotional, and cognitive growth.

He advocated that open-ended questions are particularly effective as they open up a multitude of possibilities for elaboration, accommodating the diverse ways students think and understand.

So, how can you harness the benefits of open-ended questions without adding to your scoring workload? Thankfully, AI can assist you in this area.

AI can rate answers based on a model or ideal answer that you input beforehand. This allows for automatic scoring post-test, enabling you to focus on new hires who achieve the lowest and highest scores.

In the world of professional training, tools and methods constantly evolve. We had an opportunity to connect with Mr. Jose Ling, a professional trainer, who shared his journey in enhancing workshop experiences.

His story sheds light on how the right tools can revolutionize training methods.

Tackling Challenges Head-On

Jose encountered numerous challenges in his quest to make training sessions more engaging. One of his biggest hurdles was finding a system that supported his vision of interactive and dynamic workshops.

The journey was filled with technical complexities and solutions that didn't quite hit the mark, leading to a time-consuming and often frustrating process.

The Turning Point

Skepticism turned into optimism when Jose discovered Rolljak. Unlike other tools he had tried, Rolljak's user-friendly interface and rich features captured his attention. The platform's intuitiveness, even in its free version, allowed him to craft engaging and dynamic training sessions.

He leveraged Rolljak's capabilities for specific training curriculums, utilizing its features to create a vibrant learning environment. The support he received from Rolljak's team played a significant role in enhancing his overall experience, offering responsive and helpful assistance whenever needed.

Transformative Impact

The impact of Rolljak on Jose's training sessions was profound. He noted the platform's simplicity and its ability to create an atmosphere that felt less like traditional training and more like an engaging learning experience.

A standout achievement was his ability to guide participants in creating impactful slide decks, effectively applying the training content in a practical context. This not only enhanced the learning experience but also demonstrated the real-world applicability of the training.

Expert opinion on what to consider when choosing AI tools for training

Key Takeaways from Jose's Experience

  • Ease of Navigation: Rolljak's intuitive design significantly simplified the process for Jose, enabling him to focus on content delivery.
  • Supportive Customer Service: Personalized support from Rolljak's team played a key role in ensuring a smooth experience.
  • Fostering Collaboration: The platform encouraged active participation and teamwork among participants, making sessions more interactive.
  • Engaging Workshop Experience: Rolljak transformed traditional workshops into captivating learning experiences.

Jose Ling's story is a testament to the power of choosing the right tools for training and workshops. To explore his journey in-depth, read the full interview here.

In our company, exploring the latest apps is not just common; it's encouraged! As for us, staying updated with the latest trends is crucial. So, when our CEO, Aditya Batura, gave me the freedom to choose any platform for streamlining the onboarding of new sales reps, I was all in.

After trying several tools, I settled on Rolljak for a particular reason. Its AI-powered question generator aids me immensely in drafting content, especially for post-test questions.

The goals for team-level training were clear:

  • Ensure new hires master Rolljak’s features
  • Understand various client use cases

Collaborating with the Business Development Manager, we pinpointed our objectives and structured the process into two phases.

Phase One

This involves providing visual guides like videos, images, and specific instructions on how Rolljak works. We opted for Google Slides, complemented by assistance from ChatGPT. Each chapter concludes with three challenges for the new sales reps.

It was crucial to maintain the asynchronous nature of our training, especially considering our team members are spread across various time zones. That's also why the post-quiz at the end of the onboarding process is designed to be self-paced.

Phase Two

I primarily use Rolljak’s AI Question Generator to assist me in drafting the questions. The quiz consists of about 20 questions designed to engage different skills.

The primary focus here is on accuracy questions, so it can provide immediate results and help in identifying areas that require further assistance.

What I did was upload explanations of Rolljak’s features and target a mix of skills, ranging from remembering to analyzing. After several rounds of generation and editing, here are some that stand out:

  • Remembering Sequential Process

Participants rearrange the phases of building an activity in Rolljak into the correct sequence.

Example of questions for sales training post test

  • Understanding Different Use Cases

With Rolljak offering both synchronous and asynchronous modes for session creation, it's crucial for participants to understand the best applications for each mode. They need to draw connections for each use case directly on their screens.

Engaging questions for sales training

We could use for MCQs for this type of task, but where's the fun in that?

By engaging participants in a more interactive and hands-on approach, we elevate the learning experience beyond standard question formats, making it both memorable and effective.

  • Analyzing Real Cases and Spotting Pattern

We present specific cases for participants to spot patterns, pushing them beyond memorization to understand how the system operates.

Questions that nurture higher order thinking in training

  • Auto-Scoring for Open-Ended Questions

This feature saves time in reviewing answers for conceptual understanding. With auto-scoring, I input model answers, and the AI scores the participants' responses, allowing me to identify who needs further help in specific areas.

AI auto scoring feature saves you time to evaluate open-ended responses

There are other examples of questions that are thought-provoking and aim for higher-order thinking. If you're interested, I can delve into more use cases in a future article. Feel free to share this article and mention us on social media to let us know your thoughts!


In this journey through the integration of AI in onboarding, we've seen how technology can simplify and enhance the process, making it more efficient and engaging for everyone involved. From AI-driven content creation to auto-scoring and insightful real-world use cases, the potential to improve onboarding experiences is immense.

Remember, the key to successful onboarding lies in finding the right balance between technology and the human touch. It's not just about using the most advanced tools, but about how these tools can support and enhance our human-centric approach.

As we continue to explore and embrace these innovations, we pave the way for a more dynamic, inclusive, and effective onboarding process. Here's to taking onboarding to new heights!