Digital Transformation of Employee Training and Engagement

As adults, when we look back at what we’ve learned we realize that we have got there step by step, block by block. If we conceptualize our life’s accumulation of learning as a mountain when we get to the top we can look down from where we started and see the foundations to our learning, scaffolded by new facts and the opportunity to practice our new skills. With the confidence in these new skills, we get ready to climb the next mountain and so on. 

Personalized employee engagement improves business profitability 

If you’ve been in a talent development role for a while you will no doubt have received marketing material for training solutions. There are many niche areas for employee training and engagement from sales techniques to onboarding and training software packages or management skills. Depending on the industry sector you are in, you may be mandated to offer certain orientation training such as occupational health and safety or relevant regulations at your worksite. 

So how does a CLO prioritize training needs for each employee and a company as a whole, and measure return on investment over time? It is a very confusing landscape because there are many factors to consider in measuring the training investment outcomes while delivering a highly personalized training at scale. One of the most significant of these is employee attrition. Studies show that employee retention is greater where companies actively invest in training opportunities to keep their employees’ skills relevant and aligned with their unique goals.  

Today’s young people are less likely than those of past generations to be entering the workforce with a formal college education. Understanding how these demographic changes affect the effectiveness of training solutions is something that many CLOs may not have fully considered. What seems clear from the demographic trends is that training must meet employees where they are. This is unlikely to be in a classroom for most types of corporate training in the future of work.

Training provided via intelligent performance enablement platforms can demonstrate clear ROI through productivity gains and human resource retention rates. The key to measuring effective performance increase must be tied to how effectively employee training and engagement have improved certain KPIs, productivity, and overall profitability.  

These metrics are important to CLOs who have to justify their training budget to their companies. We need to face the fact that traditional classroom-based training or an outdated one-size-fits-all eLearning solution is simply not cost-effective. It has been measured that the training costs on such inefficient workforce reskilling and upskilling each year can be from 2 – 10% of payroll which is substantial, year after year. It is vital that CLOs choose training opportunities that can demonstrate a clear ROI. CLOs need to consider the long term price of ineffective training. Broadly speaking these costs to the company can be attributed to the following  factors:

  • Training delivered at the wrong time: many companies still rely on regular rather than just-in-time learning that supports employees just when they need that help.
  • Loss of work time while training on not relevant subjects: by distracting employees on not needed training their focus on productivity is gone.
  • Lack of retention in knowledge over time: outdated LMS systems don’t foster knowledge retention leading to repeat training and lost productivity. 
  • Limited feedback loop: old-school LMS systems don’t provide just-in-time feedback or connect to the right person for support.

Personalized performance-based learning is the future of work

Learning theory tells us that people learn best when the content is delivered at a point where they need to know, also known as ‘just-in-time-learning’. Further, having chunks of important knowledge repeated at defined intervals is proven to improve long term memory retention of the new information. While learning theory can tell us how people learn, the way this principle is applied is not often applied in traditional corporate training models. This type of ‘old school’ training is more a ‘tick-the-box’ mentality where employees ‘do training’ based on a calendar schedule, but employee retention of knowledge is not assessed over time. Quite frankly, new research on learning principles proves that this old model is a waste of employees’ time and your money.

With performance-based learning, training will take an employee through defined stages. It can identify baseline skills and provide onboarding and company induction training. It can also monitor productivity and assess employee knowledge retention over time. The goal of performance-based training is to introduce new learning when it is relevant to the employee.  A process of assessment of acquired knowledge can determine any gaps in knowledge and then provide training to fill the specific gap in the employee at the point they need to know.

We also know that people learn best when they are in a training environment in which they feel comfortable. With people increasingly turning to online learning, social media and YouTube tutorials, we are seeing much higher training efficiency when employees are provided with a choice as to their preferred device (web or mobile). Employees engage more positively with training when they are provided with personalized content which is based on their goals and performance results. The positive engagement increases knowledge retention.

The key importance of data-driven knowledge retention: 

The key to a great ROI on training is reliant on effective employee knowledge retention. It can be defined as the measure of how an employee has internalized and performs according to the knowledge gained on the job. The aim of training should be for all employees to have achieved excellent knowledge retention as this internalized knowledge predicts future awareness and application of skills learned right when it’s needed, even months following training. 

In order to maximize the knowledge attained at training, the opportunity to practice it immediately on the job is vital. An effective online employee training and engagement platform provides these opportunities constantly as the needs for reinforcement training become apparent if employee performance is indicated to be slipping. 

As outlined by leading digital disrupter Tom Goodwin, companies who want to outperform their competition must realize that as people are living their lives online they expect to have their needs met digitally in many ways, including training at work. Learning in the flow of work is becoming an increasingly important productivity driver for many fast-growing companies.   

Barriers to effective training of the newly remote workforce  

What the COVID 19 pandemic has taught us is that employers who had previously been unwilling to consider allowing working from home, are not only allowing it but embracing it. Companies in some sectors are even expanding their workforce to cover unexpected demand. This is particularly the case for customer service roles in call centers, direct selling, eCommerce, IT support and other spheres. 

The main hesitation behind this initial resistance was a perceived lack of accountability and direct supervision of employees at remote locations as well as a lack of familiarity as to how to onboard employees in a remote working environment. Whereas in pre-COVID times employees could expect to be hired and undertake onboarding training, either as a group or with an assigned staff member to ‘teach them the ropes’, this is not even possible in the current climate.

In just a short time, remote working has become the norm in most locations across the globe, companies are looking for a portable, affordable, and accessible learning portal for remote employee training.

Take a proactive step to boost your company’s profitability by requesting a demo of the Rallyware Performance Enablement Platform and solve your employee training and engagement needs at scale.