Employee training, whether it’s for compliance and qualifications or for ongoing soft skills learning, it should be integral to your business. Not only that, your employees will love it too. A successful learning strategy can keep employees happy, improve retention rates and ultimately nurture bright stars into top talent and the leaders you need.
In today’s digital age where employees have more to choose from than ever, expectations from a learning experience are only increasing while the time you have to create and deliver content seems to get smaller. Plus, how your workforce learns best can vary widely from employee to employee. So, how do you make sure your employee learning experience is meeting expectations, keeping employees engaged and delivering everything you need at the same time?
With 7 in 10 employees saying that training and development opportunities influence their decisions to stay with a company, we know that learning is important to employees. We also know that it’s important to businesses. How could it not be when those that do it well have 218% higher income per employee than companies with no formalised training. Despite this, however, we also know that 62% of managers believe that they are not doing a good job of meeting learner’s needs. Clearly, there is a disparity between today’s learning needs and the experience being delivered.
The bad news is that learner’s needs are harder to meet than ever. Today’s workforce is diverse, with Gen X and Gen Z working side by side and a remote workforce that isn’t even in the office. We now also have more choices for our learning than ever, with many employees looking outside of work sources to supplement their training. This content ranges from videos and podcasts like TED Talks to quizzes and long-form articles. All of these trends mean that learners expect more diverse content that is also more flexible and accessible than ever before, and all of these employees may have different learning styles and preferences.
The good news is that HR teams and managers are more equipped than ever to deal with these changes. Learning management systems with blended learning capabilities enables businesses to create, curate and deliver an effective learning experience to better meet the needs of their workforce while also ensuring that content and training is in line with company needs. Armed with the right tools, businesses can implement the following techniques to improve their employee learning experience.
It should come as no surprise that managers can be hugely influential in the learning experience process. In fact, 56% of employees would take a manager suggested course and 83% say that mentoring programs positively influence their desire to stay at a job. Managers are also the best equipped to know the current skills of their teams, the skills they want to develop and the skills they are subsequently missing all the while keeping business goals in mind.
Encouraging managers to take a more active role in employee learning not only meets the needs of today’s workforce, but it can also be instrumental in directing what employees learn to ensure that they are in line with business goals and strategic career paths. Utilising managers in the learning process is a fantastic way to learn more about employee development styles plus they provide additional motivation and support to employees during their training.
Equipping managers with the tools to stay in touch with employees such as with an internal messaging system is very helpful to continue the learning process. Today’s HR management systems can even enable notifications to managers to let them know they have messages waiting or are required for the next step in a learner’s journey. You should also look at tools that can enable managers to recommend courses and learning materials to employees on an individual learning basis. Not only does this ensure their involvement in the process but it also helps to personalise the learning experience and make it more engaging for employees.
The workforce is changing and becoming more disparate than ever before. This is due to changing employee habits such as the desire to work from home or have more flexible hours as well as the growing contingent workforce of remote workers and freelancers. While this could make delivering a consistent ongoing learning experience a challenge, we’re fortunate to be in a new digital age. There are more ways than ever to deliver a digital learning experience that can reach employees wherever and whenever is most convenient to them. Opting for a cloud learning solution, for example, empowers HR teams to deliver training and other learning opportunities across devices and makes it completely accessible to employees.
Making your learning experience more flexible and accessible in this way can make a huge difference in how your employees engage with training material. Research suggests that 68% of employees prefer to learn at work but 58% prefer to learn at their own pace and 49% want to learn at the point of need. The only way to meet these diverse needs is with a flexible learning solution. Utilising managers also comes in handy here, as it stops remote learners from feeling isolated and keeps distance learning engaging.
The fact is, we all learn differently. This is especially true in today’s diverse workplace. Businesses are realising the value of recruiting from a diverse talent pool, from digital native Gen Z to freelancers from all over the world. These varied groups all bring their own unique skills and style, but the way they learn best is also varied. Creating and delivering the diverse quantity of content needed to truly engage these employees can seem challenging, but it’s achievable today with a powerful blended learning solution behind you.
With a blended learning solution, you can curate learning from outside sources as well as access a huge range of tools to create your own. This means content that ranges from quizzes and step-by-step guides to videos and podcasts. Integrate this mixed media with mentoring and classroom type study and you can make sure to present learning in a way that matches every learning style for a more engaging learning experience.
Truly superior learning solutions can also offer AI-driven recommendations and content delivery. Employees can rate and recommend the content they learn from so that the solution can learn their preferences over time. This type of technology can take away the manual labour behind personalising learning materials and ensure that each employee is getting the most effective content for their learning experience.
Giving employees the tools to learn at their own pace and delivering a wide range of learning content all help to make the learning experience more effective and enjoyable, but making it fun and informal is also a great way to improve the learning experience. Research indicates that 33% of employees say uninspiring content is the biggest barrier to learning, so investing in regimented and formal learning experiences could be counteractive for your business. Don’t be afraid to inject some company culture into your learning experience and encourage managers to make mentoring and classroom-based training personal and informal when appropriate.
If you want to know more about improving the learning experience and how blended learning could help you do so, contact one of our team today to find out more about the range of learning solutions we offer.