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One of the most significant investments for any business is staff. This goes beyond simple salary costs, such as effective attraction of qualified candidates and incentives to keep them loyal to the business. Providing the best possible employee training can also eat up capital, but it is a vital tool on the road to success.
This is the reason why there are entire markets dedicated to research and provision of staff training. These companies and professionals are dedicated to keeping employees knowledgeable and confident while giving the businesses they work for a competitive edge. Many industries are starting to see Chief Learning Officers (CLOs) enter into the executive structure, an expert who designs bespoke training programs and uses education to shape a company’s trajectory.
However, whether a multinational corporation or a small start-up, eLearning has emerged as a valuable tool in the successful education of employees. These platforms are versatile — tailorable to a company’s needs — and, perhaps most importantly, affordable. We’ll take a look at a few of the ways in which eLearning is making a difference in today’s workplaces.
Onboarding and Orientation
There are certain elements of company operation that it is important for new employees to understand as soon as they get through the door on the first day. Office culture, payroll, disciplinary procedures; while once this may have amounted to a pile of paperwork, and a dedicated staff member to walk them through it all, eLearning platforms are providing solutions to onboarding and orientation.
This tech-led approach can be used to highlight important aspects of employees’ contracts, guiding them to digitally initial and sign at appropriate junctures. It can also be used to provide a varied approach to important aspects of orientation. Interspersing text-based information with videos, quizzes that confirm information has been understood. Not all information needs to be provided in the same day, it can be drip-fed. A new orientation lesson can be scheduled each day, to keep the information fresh in employees’ minds.
Orientation and onboarding is an important time to iterate to employees what is expected of them, and what policies are particularly important to management. Course material can be included to address aspects such as bullying in the workplace, with multimedia examples to support this — infographics with statistics, podcasts on how such behavior affects employees and the company.
Guidance and Personalization
While it isn’t wise to remove learning experts entirely from the equation — they provide important insight and guidance — the right learning management system (LMS) can make their constant attendance unnecessary. Employees are guided through the course modules of vocational training automatically, completing exercises and taking tests, as defined by the training staff or CLO during the design process. This can be an important cost-saving measure for companies that usually rely on outsourcing consultants to provide in-person training.
It has been challenging in the past for trainers to provide a program that takes into account employees’ preferred methods of receiving information. Today’s eLearning realm provides for a more personalized experience, delivered according to each staff member’s strengths where appropriate. Microlearning, in particular, can be used to educate individual employees using bite-sized activities. Each session can provide a varied learning approach — gamified content, a short seminar, interactive videos.
This personalized approach can also be scheduled around the company’s needs; training individual staff members on a rolling timetable, rather than removing an entire team for a bulk session. Of course, education doesn’t end with initial training, and eLearning can also be used for ongoing training and mentorship, too. Employees can undertake periodic refresher courses with minimal disruption to the company. Forums can be used for staff to communicate general queries or discuss training subjects, and messenger platforms can be used for mentors to provide regular, individual constructive feedback.
One of the most valuable uses for training is maintaining a safe working environment for all employees. This is not only important from a simple liability standpoint, but millennial employees place a high priority on companies that invest in safety — not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Businesses can utilize eLearning in order to address these important subjects, in a technologically-enhanced manner that today’s workforce is comfortable with.
Online courses can be created that not only provide general safety information for the entire business but can also insert modules aimed at specific departments. For employees who undertake dangerous occupations, LMS platforms can be created that track individual employee regulatory compliance training. Simulations can also be built into programs before introducing workers to real-life hazardous environments.
In recent years, sexual harassment has rightly been pushed to the forefront of employee safety. Courses can be built to communicate the company’s stance on sexual harassment in the workplace. Videos can be integrated to provide important education on definitions of consent and appropriate behavior. The culmination of this multimedia course could lead to information about support the company provides victims, and the complaints procedure in the event of a breach.
Each investment a business makes can have an effect on its overall success. As such, businesses must take care to develop their employees in a way that has the maximum benefit. This should include taking into consideration the most appropriate methods for the contemporary workforce. Utilizing eLearning in the initial and ongoing training of employees can reduce unnecessary disruption, provide a more effective educational experience, and reinforce cultural elements that are important to the company.