We’re happy to have a guest blog today from Christopher Pappas, founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Christopher holds an MBA and MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU. eLearning Blogger | EduTechpreneur | eLearning Analyst | Speaker | Social Media Addict
Your employees are your most valuable asset. So, how do you keep them happy and productive in the workplace for years to come? In this article, I’ll share 7 tips for improving employee retention through online training.
It’s a simple fact of corporate life that it takes time and money to train your employees. Every time you need to fill a vacant position and bring new hires on board, it takes a bite out of your L&D budget. But online training can offer your employees the skills and knowledge they require to be confident and fulfilled on-the-job, and it’s key to prioritize learning. As a result, they are more likely to be loyal, long-term employees who give your organization 100 percent. Here are the 7 top tips for improving employee retention through your online training program.
- Get Your Employees Involved in the Process
Employees need to know that their voices are being heard and that their input matters. Thus, you should get them involved in the training process, even as early as the planning stage. Conduct skill assessments and interviews to find out what they think of the current training strategy and what they’d do differently. This also allows you to identify their goals and preferences so that you can personalize the online training experience. If you’re working with a distributed workforce, questionnaires, forums and video conferences are invaluable feedback tools.
- Provide Consistent Feedback
Gathering employee feedback can help you identify performance gaps and training needs. However, feedback is a two-way street. You must also provide your employees with the feedback they require to increase their productivity and maximize their training benefits. Furthermore, the feedback should be individualized and include suggestions for how employees can improve. In other words, don’t leave them in the lurch by pinpointing their problems and then sending them on their way.
- Offer Personalized Online Training Plans
We’ve all participated in “one-size-fits-all” courses at one time or another. It gave us information, but not necessarily the information we needed to achieve our goals. Thus, it didn’t offer any real world value. This is why it’s crucial to provide your employees with personalized online learning paths that address their individual needs. Give them the chance to choose their own activities and create their own schedules. Encourage employees to set personal goals based on their job duties and performance gaps. This helps them form a deeper connection with your training program, which enhances the benefits. They will also appreciate the fact that their employer cares enough to personalize the experience. As a result, they are more likely to stay on with the company.
- Choose the Right Incentives
There are times when employees need some added incentive to participate in online training. Maybe they’re too busy to train or aren’t aware of the benefits. Whatever the case is, the right rewards can make a world of difference. First and foremost, you need to emphasize the perks of active participation. Some employees just need to know what’s in it for them. Knowing it will help them achieve their learning objectives and seize new workplace opportunities is a reward by itself. In other instances, you may need to use game mechanics, friendly competition and tangible incentives, such as printable certificates or even gift cards. Just bear in mind that intrinsic rewards trump extrinsic motivators. Your employees should be fueled by their need to succeed and reach their true potential, not the promise of free merchandise.
- Provide Optional Online Training Resources
Top performers and those who are falling behind benefit from optional online resources. Employees who excel can use these tools to challenge themselves and explore sub-topics and tasks on their own. Team members who need extra support and guidance have the opportunity to target specific problem areas and skill gaps. The fact that they’re not mandatory makes them even more appealing. Employees don’t feel as though they are being forced to learn. Instead, they are expanding their knowledge and brushing up on skills of their own free will.
- Develop an Online Mentorship Program
I mentioned earlier that employees are your most valuable asset. But that doesn’t just apply to your organization and its profit margin. Your staff members have a wealth of knowledge and expertise to offer their coworkers. But how do you facilitate information sharing and skill exchange? The answer is developing a mentorship program. This pairs experienced employees with new hires, or even those who need one-on-one support. Set some ground rules beforehand to keep conflicts to a minimum and clarify expectations. In addition, try to match employees based on their interests, goals and personality traits to open up the lines of communication.
- Create a Thriving Online Training Culture
Employees want to feel like they are part of a larger community. One of the best ways to achieve this is by creating a supportive training culture. Stress the importance of ongoing online training and let employees know there are resources that can help. Reiterate the benefits of getting involved and participating in optional activities. Be open and up front with them about what they can expect and what’s expected of them. You can even set up social media groups and corporate elearning blogs where employees can ask questions and share their concerns. It’s imperative that they feel connected to their peers and the organization, as a whole. This fosters a community of trust and loyalty that leads to higher employee retention rates.
Online training is flexible, versatile and mobile-friendly. Your employees can get the information and skill development they need to be top performers. More importantly, they’ll know their organization cares enough to offer them the very best. This leads to a dramatic increase in employee retention rates.
One of the most effective ways to improve employee retention is making it personal! Read the article 6 Tips to Create Personalized Online Training Experiences for Your Employees to discover some tips for creating relatable experiences that offer real world benefits and resonate with employees on a personal level.