The appetite for learning and personal development has grown since the Covid-19 pandemic landed last year. And perhaps it’s not surprising. Out went the daily commute and in came remote work, which gave team members extra time for learning new skills.
Learning something new also allowed people to stay focused during a time of crisis. It’s human nature to cling onto things that bring stability during uncertain times, and there were plenty of those during the height of the pandemic – including constantly changing social distancing rules, little-to-no social interactions between loved ones, and the resulting impact this had on mental health.
Despite the yearning for learning, it’s an area that’s been hit hard by budget cuts. Research shows that over a third of organisations have cut back their L&D budgets in response to the challenges of the pandemic, and only 18% think investments and resources will return to normal post-pandemic.
However, there is hope in the form of digital learning. Typically more economical than classroom-based training or hiring external consultants, learning management software provides business leaders with the means to upskill their teams without the prohibitive cost. In fact, a report by CIPD found that 80% of employers who already use digital learning were likely to increase their usage over the next 12 months.
Learning management systems also enable those who work from home to improve their knowledge at any time and from any location. No longer restricted to attending in-person training courses – which often include additional travelling time and significant chunks away from work – remote team members can dip in and out of their learning program when it suits them.
Expanding learning has been vital for teams over the past 18 months, and it’s an important strategic direction for organisations to take post-pandemic. Here are some ideas about how to build on that momentum and encourage teams to keep on learning:
How to encourage post-pandemic learning
Promote learning opportunities on your intranet
An easy way to encourage post-pandemic learning is to promote the opportunities available on your intranet.
Use tools such as intranet news to create engaging content that showcases the e-learning courses on offer, and invite feedback from teams by opening up comments.
You could also create collaboration spaces for teams to share their ideas for improving knowledge, such as interesting blogs they’ve read, webinars they’ve attended, and podcasts they’ve listened to. By providing an open forum for staff to communicate their thoughts and stay connected, the learning process becomes a lot more collaborative and social.
Link training to company values
Use intranet ‘thank you’ tools to share kudos to team members who have recently completed a training course. The added recognition will boost morale and encourage further learning.
You can also assign company values to thank you messages, so that staff can get an insight into how their skills are directly contributing to the company – which is a strong motivator.
Use gamification techniques
Gamification is an important feature of online learning. The technique is inspired by video gaming conventions – such as earning points or winning trophies – and works by tapping into people’s desire to be instantly rewarded when making progress or achieving a goal.
These methods can be applied to your employee learning program to provide a fun and engaging work environment that encourages teams to expand their knowledge. Try incorporating digital rewards such as badges, personalised learning paths, and social tools into your training program to see participation rates soar.
Allocate team training days
If you need to keep training budgets temporarily tight, consider, in the meantime, giving staff allocated “learning days” that can be used in whatever way they choose.
For instance, teams can use these days to read a book or listen to a podcast related to their role. Or, they can spend time researching ideas for a new project, share the findings with their line manager, and create a plan that will boost their personal development.
Giving team members time to continue learning during difficult periods ensures they don’t miss out on opportunities to upskill. It also prepares them for the time when budgets are reinstated and training gets back into full swing.