Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience. ~ Denis Waitley

Your most productive investment lies in employee development. In a highly competitive workforce, it is important to attract, engage and retain skilled professionals. You don’t usually see bored, highly skilled employees in your cubicles because they’ve already moved to an exciting or more nurturing company – organizations which favor employee development as part of their company culture are the choice of the new generation of workers.

Research indicates that workers have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company. ~ Zig Ziglar

If you’re starting a new company or going through a re-org, make sure you keep enough funds for employee learning and development to retain and attract talent – the most valuable asset.

Use Learning Management Systems for Training Employees

With the average age of your employees below 30, it is quite evident that technology based learning would be more appreciated and well received. There are countless innovations that can help you manage and train employees. By investing in the right software or app, you can make the most out of your employees’ talents, which can result in increased customers and profits.

A learning management system (LMS)is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, and reporting of training programs, classroom and online events, e-learning programs, and training content. A robust LMS should be able to do the following:

  • centralize and automate administration
  • use self-service and self-guided services
  • assemble and deliver learning content rapidly
  • consolidate training initiatives on a scalable web-based platform
  • support portability and standards
  • personalize content and enable knowledge reuse.

[Source: Wikipedia]

If you’re looking forward to using a learning management system (LMS) to train your employees, make sure that you spend some time scouting and compare your options. The LMS you choose should contain all of the items mentioned in the list and, most importantly, should be suitable for your business needs. These are important factors to consider to ensure that you can eventually earn something from your investment.

LMS usually provide access to discussion forums where the instructors and employees can post messages and have access to chat rooms and webinar tools.

The existence of this communication channel will make it very easy for your employees to voice out their concerns and ask help whenever they need to. This will also ensure that your employees are actually learning through the platform provided.

Virtual classrooms offer interactive learning and can get as creative as you are in designing the learning modules.


Benefits of E-Learning

Reduces travel time, improved performance and learning, training at your own pace empowers and motivates employees. It is critical and essential in the competitive times of fast evolving tech front that learning and career development must be a well set process which adds to your current skill set and improves your productivity at work.

Investing in learning and development is reinforced in growth oriented companies. Management of many Fortune 500 companies have seen that providing coaching, training support and efficient learning has resulted in employees excelling at their work and many sales reps surpassed their goals by as much as 30 percent.


Best Practices to get the best out of the E-Learning Programs

  • Introducing gaming and other motivational strategies that suit your audience is an excellent way to engage your employees in e-learning or self-learning programs. Gaming style- short instructional video with more interaction is often preferred by learners and the key to sustain the learning process.
  • Giving a customized solution is not easy but that’s where the true effectiveness of any solution or learning begins. All your employees are not at the same performance level; they have different skill set and expertise – and that’s exactly why they cannot be on the same level of learning and development.
  • Seeing how their learning can be applied to the actual workplace scenario by examples and case studies offers better results in learning acceptance. Share best practices that are being incorporated in your company culture – employees love to see the bigger picture, how their long term goals match up to the company’s vision.
  • Foster collaboration and interaction, self-learning for longer lengths of time can be boring and de-motivating making it a social experience can take it to a different level.
  • The learning process must be a part of your career development and performance evaluation system to make it more accountable and result oriented. Not something to be checked off a checklist but seen as a process that grows on a continuous rhythm or learning on different levels.
  • Instructors must often assign work assignments, tests on every module or level of progress. It’s important to know where the learner is struggling and which topics seem easy or less relevant.
  • Regular feedback on the e-learning sessions is a must. Your goal is to keep the learner positively engaged in the learning experience.
  • Extend these e-learning sessions to the next level of earning certifications. Clearing through a few levels of learning the learners can be offered to pass a proficiency exam to proceed to another level or earn a certification. Rewards and recognitions are motivating.
  • Be versatile and get your e-learning modules mobile. Can your employee access all information on the web, smartphones or tablets? Use the new tools to get ahead of the game, in fact in the fast changing landscape soon enough it would be the only way to get on demand learning exciting to your employees. Many universities (especially business schools) across the globe are launching iPad pilot programs extending their learning programs beyond the classrooms and enterprising companies would not be far behind.


Using Effective Social Media Learning Techniques

According to the CARA Group:

Despite concerns that expertise through social media is hard to verify, security is challenging to maintain and risks of distraction are high, social media’s strength and popularity continues to grow. In fact, this resilience despite marketplace concerns is often the hallmark of technology adoption. With the very large and influential millennial generation joining the workforce in a marketplace rife with social media tools and technologies, employers cannot afford to ignore its influence in the workplace and on employee habits and skills.
To make the most of social media-sponsored informal learning, CARA advises employers to consider the following strategies.

Strategy One: Choose Your Tools

Identify the social media tools you feel are most beneficial to your enterprise and endorse them as workplace friendly learning retargets. If employees know that LinkedIn is considered a work-friendly workplace tool, but not Facebook, they have guidelines for their informal learning choices. Some businesses—especially those with heavy regulatory restrictions—will choose to create internal collaboration and social media applications that allow for the rich networking and information-sharing abilities while minimizing security and confidentiality risks. Others will align social media sites and tools with their industry and guide employees to the retargets that offer the most learning potential.


Strategy Two: Begin to Build a Code of Conduct for Social Media

Employees, like employers, are still learning their way around social media. Recent court cases regarding what can and can’t be said via social networks are just one piece of evidence that this is very new workplace territory. CARA advises businesses to work in partnership with employees to define how social media can and should be used in the workplace for learning purposes. For every organization, this process will be different so it is important to incorporate learning teams, employees and management into the collaboration process.

Rather than looking at this from a Draconian perspective—what cannot be done, what rules should be in place, what punishments should be—CARA encourages businesses to embrace the knowledge opportunity.  Find out from employees how social media are enhancing their productivity. Find out how to encourage more self-directed learning and ideas for maintaining focus and security integrity.


Strategy Three: Social Media Lunch and Learn

Consider hosting some lunch and learn sessions via an internal social media tool. For example, every third lunch and learn could occur via webcast as a way to include colleagues from many geographies and increase the use of new media workers across all generations. This approach will not only help workers across generations increase their comfort with web-based collaborative learning, but will also give learning leaders ways to analyze the pros and cons of in-person versus online informal learning events.


The target for the social media information is an amazing survey report by the CARA group.


What Learning Management Systems have you found most effective for employee development?