For many of us, the convenience and flexibility of remote work has been a blessing. The smart, compassionate ways that organizations have responded to the pandemic will permanently alter how—and where—we work.
With hundreds of millions of new users leveraging collaboration solutions to stay connected and maintain continuity, we’ve learned that business can be conducted from a distance.
Now, as many of us settle into hybrid and offsite models, another key task must be reimagined: employee training and upskilling with smart digital tools.
The need is more important than ever. Roughly 60% of employees have had to hone new skills in response to COVID-19, a Gartner survey revealed, and almost 6-in-10 learning and development professionals say their organizations have created new trainings in recent months. Add to that the fact that 85% of in-person workplace training has gone virtual, and it’s clear your lesson plan must shift.
Leaders should ask themselves: Are we delivering effective workplace education—and in the places where our colleagues are best positioned to receive it?
Managers must evaluate not only the delivery platforms for training, but also the types of content and how test results may be used to advance organizational goals. This approach should be part of a company’s long-term vision, and it can be enhanced with a strong learning management system (LMS) that can seamlessly integrate with existing tools and be personalized to the needs of your industry.
Nearly half of organizations (47 percent) said they plan to explore an LMS investment this year, Deloitte research has found, so now’s the time to “do your homework.” Here are a few reasons why.
1. Your staff is hungry to learn
Knowledge is power, but it’s also an office perk. Employees now consider the opportunity to learn different skills—with the ability to choose what they learn—as a top “nontraditional” workplace benefit, a 2021 survey by PwC found. One-third of respondents said they’re even willing to accept smaller pay increases if their employer provides the time and tools for educational advancement.
But with many of us busier than ever, it’s tough to attend a live webinar, let alone a real-life class. On-demand and flexible corporate training is nonnegotiable, so leave the door open for staff to participate at their convenience. After all, half of employees say they don’t have time for learning during the workday, according to a 2020 report from LinkedIn Learning.
2. Generic teaching materials (and methods) aren’t enough
To stay viable, companies must teach business-critical skills and design tailored learning journeys, a McKinsey report on COVID-19 recovery says. This is why some LMS solutions can leverage artificial intelligence to analyze your own data to configure custom exams and simulations. Imagine how effective workplace training can be if it features the data, scenarios, and tasks that your staff face every day!
AI is the technology that learning and development professionals expect to make the greatest impact on online learning over the next five years, according to LinkedIn Learning. But the interest is already here: Deloitte notes that 3-in-4 companies say they would prefer to create personalized, “learner-centric” training content in house rather than purchase premade course materials.
3. Familiar collaboration solutions save time, confusion
Without a unified platform, online learning can be a juggling act. As my AvePoint colleague recounted recently, learners might voluntarily use external digital tools to collaborate. That isn’t efficient, and it compromises data security. Furthermore, your employees might not use social media, texting apps, or SaaS platforms that don’t pertain to their jobs—and those shouldn’t be used for work tasks, anyway.
Since most of us can’t gather in the boardroom or a shared working space, using a familiar platform such as Microsoft Teams enables the ability to chat, share documents, and meet virtually in a safe and familiar setting. Don’t discount the value of giving your staff a single tool to learn and work; it could be motivation enough to inspire timely, more engaged participation.
4. You need robust data for widespread improvement
Knowing how many employees passed an exam is valuable: true. Thinking that’s enough to advance your organization: false. To discover vulnerabilities and areas of opportunity—learnings that are necessary to evolve and ensure everyone is meeting expectations—it’s critical to have top-level and granular insights on your learning ecosystem.
This, too, is where AI can play a role—one in four human resources leaders currently see this technology having a positive impact on learning, Oracle notes. With an LMS that can automate grading and analyze performance across exams, topics, and competency levels, organizations can easily identify areas of improvement and provide extra training to those who need it most. Those actions benefit everyone.