L&D Programs: Make Them Engaging

Why Corporate eLearning Fails And How To Prevent It

The human brain is a complex organ [1] that never stops growing neurons [2] and requires continuous learning to build and recondition neural pathways [3]. But it also needs novelty to memorize new concepts easier and understand how they work. That means that humans are innately curious and willing to learn. The problem arises when the content structure and allocation of rewards aren’t motivating or appealing.

Predictable and monotonous patterns cause boredom and reduce dopamine levels, making the learning process dull [4]. But humans also become demotivated if they don’t understand how new skills or knowledge could lead to positive outcomes and enrich their lives. Yet, Learning and Development (L&D) professionals often overlook the importance of creating engaging and innovative programs. Instead, they take a generic approach that makes no difference and leaves employees tired and disappointed. But efficient corporate training and reskilling programs are crucial for combating talent shortages and filling job openings. Here’s why.

What Makes Employee Reskilling Your Most Powerful Tool In The Post-Pandemic World?

The aftermath of the pandemic continues disrupting the world. Remote work has become the new norm, and office workers are no longer the majority. Many companies now allow work from home and flexible schedules, making it easier for employees to decide what’s best for them. The traditional approach to work has changed, but job seekers also expect more from employers.

The COVID-19 crisis increased existing inequalities and created new ones, disproportionately affecting some groups more than others. For instance, racial and ethnic minorities were laid off more often and found new work harder [5]. Many are frontline workers, resulting in fewer opportunities to work remotely [6]. These causes contributed to job seekers demanding better workplace conditions, fairer salaries, and equity.

The aging population and the Great Resignation made it significant to address talent shortages and improve employee retention. Companies now take more time to attract and hire qualified candidates, resulting in a long time to hire and increased recruitment costs.

Even though many employers underestimate internal hiring, this is the most efficient way to overcome talent shortages and find high-quality workers. They don’t have to go far and invest resources in external recruitment because the most compatible candidates might already be in front of them. Reskilling programs help these employees adopt the necessary skills and knowledge to perform different job roles and transform their careers. Besides being a stellar method to create a trusted talent pipeline, this rewards workers’ contribution and loyalty.

However, the goal shouldn’t only be to create a reskilling program, ask people to participate, and hope for the best. Instead, this initiative should be intentional, well-thought-out, and tailored to your hires. Otherwise, your efforts are not likely to have the desired effect and lead to a sustainable L&D program. Start by understanding the most common mistakes learning developers and HR professionals make when developing reskilling training.

Why Learning And Development Programs Fail

When employee training and reskilling fail, business leaders often say that workers hate these programs. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. 92% of employees say that well-planned and executed training positively impacts their engagement level. Moreover, 60% began their own skill development, indicating an unsatisfied desire in the workforce for more knowledge [7].

Efficient employee training also improves retention because it shows that a company invests in its human capital and cares about its progress [7]. It’s no surprise the market size of the global workplace L&D industry is over 357 billion USD.

Despite substantial investment in corporate training, 70% of employees say that they don’t have mastery of the skills they need for their jobs. 52% also report that they need better upskilling [8]. That means that numerous companies get training wrong, while workers must sit through multiple inefficient lessons and workshops. So, what causes these programs to fail?

1. A One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Generic employee training and reskilling that should apply to every worker, regardless of their job role and skills, exist for the sake of existing. The best way to close skills gaps and combat talent shortages are to create personalized L&D programs.

Understand your employees’ needs and address them authentically. Avoid using the same formula for everyone because not every worker has the same flexibility level, access to technology, and time to participate in the training.

Overlooking the unique factors that affect your staff and their learning ability is the same as condemning your program to disaster. You will waste resources, hinder internal mobility, and force your employees to endure training that sucks.

2. Content That Is Basic And Dull

The learning process itself isn’t the problem, and neither are the employees. The core issue lies in how you structure the program and the content you provide. Everyone wants to learn something that helps them perform their jobs better and advance their careers.

On the other hand, people loath irrelevant training that doesn’t add value to their job roles or apply directly to their work. It’s a waste of time and drains energy. Moreover, reskilling programs that rely solely on abstract theory and outdated will not prepare employees for practical work. If they struggle to sit through the training, they will likely not learn much and feel ready for a new job.

3. Long And Overwhelming

Reskilling can take time, but if employees must spend weeks or months sitting and learning the same content, they will get tired and lose interest. Thus, their performance and productivity will decrease, affecting their existing jobs.

However, avoid overwhelming employees with complex data and skills in a short time because that leads to burnout and stress. Presenting large amounts of information causes cognitive overload and reduces learning efficacy. Even though participants might complete reskilling training, knowledge retention could be poor.

4. Unimaginative And Unattractive

Having employees sit and listen to facilitators explaining relevant concepts for hours are outmoded and tiring. However, sending online presentations and expecting people to understand the new job role without practice is inefficient.

Despite the prevalent belief, learning shouldn’t be ugly and tedious. Instead, employees should be excited about participating in the program and find the delivery enjoyable.

How To Develop Engaging And Successful Learning And Development Programs

Here’s how to unsuckify the learning process and create efficient employee training and reskilling programs.

1. Flexible And Personalized

Identify your company skills gaps and compare them to your workforce’s affinities and abilities. Understand where your employees see themselves in the future and how you can help them get there.

Address their needs and goals and create customizable solutions that resonate with them. Consider involving employees in reskilling program development to maximize the best outcome and effectiveness. Their insights can guide you and help you tailor the content to their individual learning paces and styles.

2. Relevant And Engaging

Reskilling programs should address the company’s skills gaps and prepare employees for their new job roles. Otherwise, they have no real purpose. Because of this, the learning content should be relevant, up-to-date, and applicable in real life. Participants should understand how every training block helps them in their daily assignments, making it easier to absorb information and memorize key points.

But lessons should also be engaging and stimulate knowledge retention. Otherwise, employees could struggle to immerse themselves in the program and focus on content.

3. Inclusive And Accessible

Every employee should have an equal possibility to participate in the program, regardless of their tenure and job position. However, it’s also necessary to ensure everyone has the technical equipment needed to join the learning process. Discover whether your employees require support and help them by providing tech appliances and making the training accessible and inclusive.

4. Time-Efficient And Concise

Avoid overwhelming employees with irrelevant and redundant information. Break the reskilling program into smaller sessions to reinforce engagement and give them time to assess every block and come up with questions.

Combine the quantitative and qualitative methods and create shorter lessons. It’s also beneficial to shake up presentation methods to make the training more engaging and stimulate the employees’ focus.

5. Beauty Is Nonnegotiable

Regardless of the method you choose, make your reskilling program attractive and creative. Leverage storytelling, visuals, and technology in your lessons. Eliminate boredom by showing employees how they can apply the training content in real life. For instance, Gen Z prefers video lessons and first-hand experiences [7].

Conclusion

The market has never been so competitive, and finding qualified candidates has become increasingly challenging after the pandemic. As a result, many companies struggle with a long time to hire and invest a fortune in finding the best match, with no luck. This affects their strategic plans, business objectives, and employee engagement. However, corporate training and employee reskilling enable companies to close the talent gap and fill job openings.

Helping workers transition into job roles that fit their affinities and potential reduces recruitment costs and ensures high performers stay. But it’s crucial to develop relevant and engaging L&D programs that stimulate knowledge retention and provide first-hand experiences. Otherwise, employees will likely struggle with training and loathe the learning process. Invest time in well-thought-out lessons and offer personalized solutions to maximize reskilling efficiency and ensure people enjoy participation.

References:

[1] Brain Anatomy and How the Brain Works

[2] The human brain never stops growing neurons, a new study claims

[3] 7 Interesting Facts About the Science of Learning

[4] Let Your Brain Rest: Boredom Can Be Good For Your Health

[5] The unequal impact of COVID-19: A spotlight on frontline workers, migrants and racial/ethnic minorities

[6] Frontline workers in the US: race, ethnicity, and gender

[7] 57 Employee Training Statistics in 2022: Investing in Employee Development

[8] Setting L&D Leaders Up for Success

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