As a business owner, manager or recruiter, there will be lots of things you’re focused on to help build your organization. For instance, there is spending more time on customer service, sales, and marketing strategies, ensuring you hire the right employees, giving them the most effective tools, and expanding into new markets.
However, as you must realize, regardless of the industry you’re in, it’s important to concentrate on the productivity and results of your team. While there are different ways to boost these, not enough businesses focus on helping workers develop themselves and learn new skills and knowledge. Developing employees also increases engagement and performance metrics across the board.
It's incredibly beneficial for companies to provide training programs for employees to take part in in-house or to give them access to off-site learning. In this digital age, online learning is bigger and better than ever, and a wonderful tool for both businesses and their teams. Read on for some key reasons you should be utilizing online learning in the workplace today.
For starters, through eLearning, you have so much more choice! Rather than having to select trainers who live nearby or sending off employees to courses at a local university or other campuses, you have access to top minds from all around the globe. This means people get to learn from professors, trainers, and speakers who are at the top of their game and who have proven to be the best at what they do.
To help you on your way, check out this link. It rounds up some of the most well-regarded business speakers available today. You can also find many listings of top speakers online, both on their individual websites, and on speaker agency websites. Search for the specific industry and topics you’re after for your training, but always make sure you check testimonials and reviews before making a booking. A couple of speaker agencies with long lists of well-known names available to hire are Celebrity Speakers Bureau and Gotham Artists.
Online, workers can also choose the degree that is relevant to their career aspirations and to their company, whether it’s a short course in a specialized computer program, an undergraduate degree in business, a Master’s in Education Administration or something else. They don’t need to travel away to undertake their training, which means you don’t lose your staff members from the office for such an extended period.
Employees may come to you for help with choosing the best training for their role, and to help them move up in the company over time. To aid them effectively, sit down and discuss their goals for the future. If you have already chatted about this in a recent annual review you’ll have a starting point, but if not, talk with them about what they want to achieve over the short term (say, the next six to 12 months), and over the next five years.
Once you have this information on hand, it will be easier to see if workers require leadership training in order to become the head of a department for instance, or if they may need to enhance their skills in a particular niche area.
If you’re not already aware of excellent courses to suit their needs, speak with colleagues and peers to find out recommendations. There might also be local training companies running online programs who are willing to offer employees discounts in turn for company testimonials. Remember: all of this support will not only help your workforce to become more innovative, productive, and knowledgeable, which is good for business, but it will also improve morale and make employees more likely to be loyal to the firm over the long run.
Of course, another top benefit businesses focus on is the chance to cut costs. Rather than having to pay for trainers or speakers to travel around from office to office, educating all the staff members separately, you can run online programs.
Via eLearning, you can roll out training to your entire team but only record each lecture once. You will save money by doing things this way. You won’t have to continually pay educators for their time since they only need to provide content once; plus you won’t have to pay for their travel. With costs such as flights, accommodation, meals, petrol and the like adding up very quickly, this can mean significant savings.
The costs of eLearning you need to factor in include things like the time of the speaker(s) and the videographers capturing the footage, if video rather than written content is produced; plus editing costs. You may need to invest in particular software to help with production, or you can outsource to specific companies that work in this area. As well, sometimes businesses need to purchase access to computer programs to run the training from. These days, though, there are many free and low-cost tools to choose from.
Another prime reason to utilize online learning is that it saves time. As mentioned above, you don’t have to wait for a trainer to get to each office; instead, you can record their sessions and roll out the programs to each person at once. You don’t have to wait for speakers to turn up or to fit all your dates into their calendar either, as it can be done once and that’s it.
Time is also saved if your employees are studying online university courses. Rather than having to give them PTO to make their way to campuses, they can learn online at whatever time suits, whether during the work day or during outside hours. In addition, they don’t need to waste time in classes on topics they already know; they can instead fill the gaps in their knowledge.
To get your workforce trained up as soon as possible, consider implementing incentives for course completion in a timely manner or, better yet, utilize gamification techniques. For example, you could give out awards, “gold stars” and other fun awards to people as they “level up”; and not provide access to new content available until initial programs have been completed.
It also helps to give your workers specific eLearning time at work. You could set a particular time of day or a few hours per week that is designated for learning. This way, no matter what types of things your various employees are working on, they don’t have to feel bad about taking the time away from business projects to focus on their own development for a period. Alternatively, you could allow your staff members to work from home a couple of days per week, and use the time they save from not having to commute, to study instead.
A benefit that not enough companies consider is that online learning can actually be more effective than classroom-style education. For example, through eLearning, students can spend time reading, listening to or watching content when they feel fresh, awake and able to best concentrate.
They can also customize content to suit their learning style. This means they’re better able to understand and retain the information presented. For example, some people are visual (spatial), preferring to use images, maps, pictures, and colors to organize information; they have a good spatial sense. Others are aural learners, needing to work with sound, music, rhythm and rhyme. Verbal (linguistic) learners learn through both the written and spoken word, while physical/bodily/kinesthetic learners like to use their bodies and a sense of touch to learn.
Other learning types are logical (e.g. mathematical, recognizes patterns and connections); social (interpersonal, prefers learning in groups, likes to bounce ideas off others); and solitary (private, introspective, independent, and need to retreat somewhere quiet to learn and work through problems). If unsure of their preference, there are numerous quizzes online which employees can take to discover their individual learning style. This BuzzFeed option is just one example.
Online learning is also helpful because, in standard classroom settings, there can be many distractions, such as loud noises, other people’s questions and the like. Students may also miss information because their mind wanders, or they just don’t hear something properly. In a classroom, it’s not possible to revisit these details again but, via online learning, people can rewind a video or re-read the information to learn at their own pace. Plus, they can lock themselves away in a quiet, distraction-free room, and/or put on headphones to concentrate better.
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