With many of us still encouraged to stay at home and work remotely, our organizations now have the added challenge of standing up new remote onboarding programs or scaling existing virtual onboarding strategies. And when it comes to SAP end user training and onboarding, this needs to be done right – and fast.
Employees need to quickly learn, understand, and fully adopt SAP to do their jobs – whether or not they are new remote hires. Even if your organization has the difficult task of rolling out an SAP implementation during a pandemic, effective onboarding is critical. And this moment calls for some different approaches. Here are 5 ideas for building a remote onboarding program that can get your employees up to speed in SAP now and in the future.
1. Embrace the “remote” in remote onboarding
Remote work, and remote onboarding, will likely be a bigger part of the post-pandemic normal than ever before. So it’s important to design an onboarding experience that acknowledges that – and not let it be an ad-hoc effort. While transposing existing training and onboarding strategies to a virtual space may seem like the right approach, as well as the most expedient, this should be avoided. Instead, set onboarding program goals that reflect a longer-term view of remote work environments.
For example, if now you need to execute your SAP S/4HANA onboarding strategy remotely, it is tempting to simply turn any in-person training events into webinars or other virtual equivalents. But getting your employees up and running on S/4HANA so they can be successful using it in their remote work will require you to adjust not only your onboarding tactics but also your strategy’s overall objectives. Yes, fast end user time-to-proficiency is an objective of SAP onboarding, but so is consistent high employee productivity, performance excellence, and ongoing learning. And now all of these objectives need to be achieved within a remote workplace.
This means providing training and resources that support remote working skills and culture, like strategies for remote work coordination, how to use the right mode for virtual collaboration, and digital learning tools. The parts of your SAP end user training you develop that address remote work environments will, in all likelihood, be long-term assets as more people need to – or can choose to – work outside of an office setting. Embrace the creativity of building a remote onboarding program that can support your employees and organization in that shift.
2. Put together a diverse onboarding program team
Remote onboarding has a lot of moving parts. And it doesn’t have the benefit of the unofficial or organic end user support that occurs in the co-located workplace, where you can troubleshoot with a deskmate, or ask one-on-one questions in the hallway after the meeting. To put together a comprehensive program that doesn’t suffer from the absence of these informal onboarding experiences, you will need to reevaluate your onboarding strategy. To do this, it is a good idea to put together a cross-functional team to develop and steer your program.
Start by getting together representatives from leadership, IT, L&D, OCM, GRC, and your internal subject matter expert community or SAP super user program. This diverse team can give you their perspective on and input for multiple facets of your program such as:
- The skills end users need to gain. These are your SAP end user training objectives for both new hires or the wider organization after an SAP implementation.
- The resources that will help employees reach these objectives remotely. This can range from simple logistics like secure remote access to training assets like digital learning and knowledge management tools.
- Remote training obstacles or pitfalls. Your team can help you identify gaps like shortfalls in the enterprise devices needed to equip a remote workforce, potential informational bottlenecks in all-remote onboarding, or enterprise application license limitations.
- Program maintenance requirements. Here, having leadership on the team is important, as you will need to create a plan for allocating resources, like funds to fill the identified gaps or the go-ahead to leverage subject matter experts’ time to keep onboarding content up to date.
3. Create a virtual training ecosystem using digital collaboration tools
In remote onboarding, it’s easy to miss the ease of communication and feedback in a shared physical space, as well as the regular scheduled and informal check-ins on progress. However, there are digital collaboration tools available that can deliver many of the advantages of a co-located workplace.
At the start of remote onboarding, it is important to effectively communicate, but not overwhelm end users with information. The key is to be strategic about what is being communicated and through which channels and to optimize the frequency of those interactions. Here are the (now) usual suspects that can be leveraged to create a virtual training center:
- Webinars for program overview presentations and high-concept communication
- Meeting/conferencing tools for one-on-one progress meetings
- Enterprise social networks for discussion or daily-tip campaigns
- Team chat for ongoing program dialogue
- Cohort collaboration tools to share individual and program status
- Contextual, self-service walkthrough tools like Digital Adoption Platforms for ongoing SAP business process execution support – More on that in #5 below.
4. Don’t forget to test out your program
Once you have your program mapped out, test it. A group of employees and subject matter experts (those super users who are experts in specific domains of your organization’s products, processes, and the corresponding SAP knowledge) who have not been involved in creating the program should run through it as you’ve designed it. They can highlight friction points or ways to further optimize SAP digital adoption.
If you are in the circumstance that you needed this program yesterday, still designate a group of subject matter experts and employees who are not new hires to pilot it even as you implement it. They can provide valuable feedback that your program attendees can’t. Because new hires don’t know what they don’t know in terms of what onboarding should give them – not at first anyway.
5. Keep assessing, improving, and encouraging user adoption
Just like employee learning will need to be continuous for them to be successful in their adoption of SAP, your remote onboarding program will also continue to evolve. A key tool that aids in continuously enabling your workforce to learn and use SAP to its fullest extent is a digital adoption platform like OnScreen. A digital adoption platform is software that runs on top of the enterprise application or system in which end users need training and support, providing on-demand process instructions.
There are several strategies to help ensure the success of your remote onboarding program that can be elevated with a digital adoption platform (DAP):
- The business process walkthroughs of DAPs take users step by step through each SAP process or skill that you’ve documented for your onboarding program.
- This provides on-demand, in-application learning for end users that is inherently accessed remotely.
- DAPs also enable program administrators to see how users engage the walkthroughs to understand their utilization rates.
- This rate, combined with surveys of subject matter experts and managers that assess which SAP business processes need more support, enables program administrators to know the effectiveness of their remote SAP onboarding program and target the areas that need improvement.
Remote onboarding is likely a permanent feature of enterprises moving forward. By taking on the challenge of creating an effective remote onboarding program now, your organization will be positioned to thrive in our new normal.
OnScreen is the agile digital adoption platform for SAP and web-based enterprise applications that boosts process efficiency and employee productivity by empowering any user to become a super user. Book a Demo to learn the other ways DAPs can save your enterprise money through successful digital adoption.