Encourage Employees to Use a Learning Platform with Three Simple Tips

After getting the final approval from executives to implement a new learning and development program in your company, you’re more than excited to share useful content with employees to upgrade their knowledge and skills and drive business growth. You set your expectations high, hoping that this training initiative will improve ROI, decrease the forgetting curve, and enhance engagement but… something goes wrong. All the employees were introduced to your learning platform, logged into their accounts, and that was the first and only time they “made contact” with the learning platform.

The question is how can you push your training program forward? How can you show your employees the benefits a learning experience platform can offer? In other words, what should you do to literally sell a learning platform to your employees for their own sake and encourage them to use it from now on?

It all starts with the right choice of a learning platform

LinkedIn’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report shows that only 8% of CEOs see how L&D programs impact their business. Unfortunately, only 4% see a clear ROI and traditional learning management systems (LMS) are partly to blame.

The problem with LMS comes down to their initial purpose: it was designed for education, not for corporate training. Traditional LMS is time-consuming since students are supposed to dedicate their time to learning only, while employees can’t do this. Traditional LMS doesn’t measure things businesses need. The number of completed tasks, scores, or time spent on doing them won’t give L&D professionals a clear picture of whether employees enhanced their skills or not. Traditional LMS presupposes the end of learning after the completion of a set of courses which is disastrous for business growth.

That’s why learning management systems should be replaced with learning experience platforms, as Josh Bersin calls them.

We can recognize it as “TV-Style” learning, more similar to systems like Netflix or even Spotify than the college course catalog. Imagine if you opened up the corporate training page and it showed you “Mandatory courses to complete this week,” “Recommended based on your current role,” and interesting categories like “Programs to prepare you for promotion” or “Tips and techniques for your current role.” All, including much more sophisticated recommendations based on your prior learning experience, your job role, and what other peers in your company are taking.

If you have a brand-new learning platform but you still struggle to encourage your employees to use it, then the following tips might come in handy.

Three golden rules of selling to involve employees in using a learning experience platform

L&D professionals’ job scope also covers sales and marketing specialist skills, specifically, the ability to persuade, listen, know customers’ (employees’) pain points, and be able to offer the best solutions to tackle urgent challenges.

Let’s consider three main selling rules every L&D professional should know.

1. Sell the benefits, not the product itself.

No matter how awesome your product is, customers aren’t buying that—they’re buying a solution to their challenges. So stick to the “What’s in it for me?” principle when describing the benefits of a learning platform to your employees.

Daniel H. Pink in his book Drive describes three intrinsic motivators that encourage people to act which are: autonomy, or the desire to be self-directed; mastery, or the itch to keep improving at something that’s important to you; and purpose, the sense that what we do produces something meaningful.

The L&D professional’s goal is to show how a learning platform can address these three motivators, thus answering the “What’s in it for me?” question.  

Autonomy can be supported by just-in-time training, microlearning, personalization, and the flexibility that comes with them: 24/7 access to relevant information, mobility, and scalability. Employees will achieve mastery by engaging in continuous learning and constant expertise development that are facilitated by the use of a learning platform. Purpose should show employees why they need to use a learning platform, so why not share an example where its usage was beneficial? For example, а new barista could be struggling to make a seasonal specialty drink, but after watching a 2-minute video on a mobile learning platform that led her through all the steps of its preparation, she’s already helping the rest of the team master the art of the “Unicorn Frappuccino”.

2. Stick to “listen 80%, speak 20%” rule.

Every salesperson knows how crucial it is to build good, trustful relationships with customers. People buy from people, that’s why interpersonal communication matters.

This point is very much related to the first one: to describe the benefits your employees will get upon using a learning experience platform, you have to know their needs, interests, objectives, and challenges. Describing all kinds of advantages that do not relate to your workforce needs won’t change their attitude. Therefore, ask questions, listen to your employees, and in this way build rapport and trust.

If your employees receive relevant training, if they can quickly and seamlessly find answers to their daily challenges, then they will be motivated to use the platform.

3. Make word of mouth work.

Do you remember the power of successful examples and the importance of interpersonal communication? Great. Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective approaches for connecting with customers. And this marketing principle can help you spark interest in a learning platform as well.

Once several employees see for themselves the benefits of your learning technology, they will spread the word about it to get other team members interested in it and make them explore the possibilities of the platform. In fact, they will become your “sellers”.

Of course, your employees will become sellers on the condition that they can enjoy the learning experience platform themselves. So make sure that your choice of the learning and development solution is right. User-friendly navigation, personalized learning paths, advanced analytics, opportunities for collaborative learning, mobility, and flexibility will help you to demonstrate all the benefits your employees are interested in.

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