How to Make Learning and Development Effective in a Hybrid Work World

Posted in Best Practice Research Thoughts & Culture

Now, more than any other time in history, people need Learning and Development...

 

...and engagement in L&D programs is simultaneously plummeting.

 

See the problem?

 

The workplace is evolving at lightspeed to the point where 59% of L&D professionals have identified upskilling and reskilling as the top priorities of their training programs in 2021, and 99% agree that their organizations will be negatively impacted in the coming years if these necessary skills gaps aren’t closed.

 

...add to that the shrinking labor pool, which is leaving well over half of employers struggling to find skilled workers, and it’s clear that effective employee Learning and Development initiatives are the hero we all need to survive beyond 2025.

 

Deep down, your people can sense this too. 

 

...so why aren’t they participating in your Learning programs?

As expected, almost half of employees say that they’re too slammed to squeeze training into their already overloaded schedules, but we all know that’s the easy answer. The problem is much more complex, and it needs to be solved. Quickly.

 

At Enboarder, we spent the past several years interviewing thousands of employees, speaking with *real-life* HR thought leaders, and studying alongside behavioral scientists to discover how to use the science of influence, persuasion, and motivation to make Learning and Development initiatives effective and easy (...and even a little fun) for everyone involved.

 

The result?

 

The People Activation Model.

 

(Want to know more about the model? You can read all about it here.)

 

The 4 Components of People Activation

Basically, for your company to survive, you need your people to take meaningful action on your Learning and Development programs right now, and the science shows that this timely, meaningful action only happens when you have 4 specific components in play at the same time:

 

Engagement

woman placing sticky notes on wall

Think of your last un-engaging course at Uni. 

 

...Painful wasn’t it? 

 

You probably found it super hard to concentrate and found it even harder to muster up the energy to go.

 

If that’s how you felt, it’s no surprise that not finding L&D offerings engaging is the number 1 reason why people don’t participate in L&D programs (...and lack of personalization in L&D courses was number 2).

 

To get true engagement on our learning programs, we need to address those two main issues. Here are some simple ways to make that happen:

 

  • Build custom “learning journeys” for each role and individual.
  • Incorporate real-time coaching for employees who need additional help.
  • Make learning more fun and memorable by adding an element of play to the experience.
  • Ensure your trainings and programs answer the “Why do I need to know this?” question to help emphasize the greater purpose.

 

The moment your employee thinks “this doesn’t apply to me”, is the instant you lose them. Keep them engaged by ensuring your content is personalized, relevant, and meaningful.

 

Nudges

shallow focus photo of white paper sheet mounted on cork board

Most of us can’t remember what we had for breakfast, let alone remember to log in to our L&D system and see what trainings are due this week.

 

...and that’s why nudges are so great! They’re helpful, bite-sized, and relevant communications, delivered at the right time, with the right information. 

 

Sending nudge reminders means that your people don’t have to expend the mental or physical energy to block out time in advance for their training and development initiatives - They just get a quick note with what they need to do, right when they need to do it.

 

Nudges are also ‘lighter’ reminders, so they feel more like a helpful touch than a command.

 

Try this:

 

  • Gently remind your employee of a bite-sized training module that would help them complete their current Leadership Development program.
  • “Nudge” an employee to complete a relevant learning task when they have a free spot on their calendar.

 

By sending nudges you help keep personal development top of mind and greatly increase the odds of your people completing their learning goals, which is a win-win for everybody.

 

Ease 

woman browsing on the internet

Friction comes in handy when you’re trying to light a match, but it will absolutely kill your L&D process.

 

Every extra link someone has to click, task a person has to plan for, or login someone has to remember, is another opportunity for them to get distracted or give up on the process entirely. 

 

In fact, 43% of hybrid workers said they gave up on a task in the last year because they couldn’t remember their password, and more than a third of employees say they haven’t made the most of the Learning & Development programs available because they don’t fit into their schedule or they’re not sure how to use them.

 

Just like in all other areas of life, if you want someone to do something, make it easy for them to do it:

 

  • Use their messenger of choice (Does your employee prefer Slack? Email? Text?).
  • Reduce the number of different system log-ins (Can you send a direct link to content instead of sending them to your training system?).
  • Break up large trainings into bite-sized pieces. Employees have a hard time carving 1-2 hours out of their schedule, but can more easily make time for a 15-20 minute training module.

 

Every step you take to remove friction, helps your employee get one step closer to accomplishing their Learning and Development goals.

 

Connection

two men laughing white sitting on chairs

Ok, Engagement, Nudges, and Ease are great tools, but to implement them by themselves would be to neglect the single biggest factor that can boost your Learning and Development program’s effectiveness: Connection.

 

We know that peer-to-peer connection greatly improves our people’s ability and motivation to complete their projects (82% of employees say they’re more motivated to work on a program - and 84% find it easier to do their best work - when they feel close to their team), so why do we think Learning and Development should be any different? 

 

It isn’t.

 

In fact, 71% of employees agreed that to learn something new or change their thinking, they need to discuss it with someone.

 

...but, while our employees are begging for peer-to-peer learning opportunities, less than half of organizations have actually instituted any such P2P learning program.

 

It’s clear that we can’t subject our people to L&D programs in a silo. We need to incorporate Connection:

 

  • Set up learning mentor/mentee programs or buddy systems, and send nudge reminders to mentors/buddies to encourage and challenge each other to achieve their Learning goals.
  • Create and encourage peer-to-peer learning opportunities.
  • Create a ‘Culture of Learning’ in your workplace, where Learning and Development is looked up to, celebrated, and rewarded.

 

When learning is ‘just another task to complete’ it will get lost in the shuffle. Use Connection to make learning more meaningful, engaging, and rewarding.

 

...Oh, one more thing.

The 4 tactics we covered are incredibly useful, but if you really want to hit the next-level of Learning and Development success, they have to be done the right way.

 

Yep. For these elements to work most effectively, you have to implement each element from your people’s perspective! 

 

(We’re serious. This is huge - No skipping this section.)

 

Put yourself in your people’s shoes by asking yourself these questions:

 

  • How are their work schedules arranged and what is their workload like?
  • How much can they absorb at once?
  • What’s their learning style? What learning format works best for them?
  • How would they like to receive updates on new trainings and development programs?
  • What are their personal goals and where do they want to be in 5 years?

 

Remember, your people want to learn and grow (A whopping 94% of employees said they’d stay at a company longer if there is investment in their learning and development!), they just need our help to implement a program that’s built for them...not the other way around.

 

Now you have the elements, you’ve seen the tips, and we’re sure something’s cooking.

 

Go build a People Activation-enabled Learning and Development program and save your company by helping your people level-up!

Want to see results faster?

We got you.

 

We built our whole platform around this very psychology and the 4 elements of People Activation, so you can build and deploy effective human-centric journeys from day one.

 

Watch the quick, 5 minute video below to see Enboarder in action, and find out why our customers love Enboarder as much as you’re about to.

Whether it’s onboarding, learning and development, change management, diversity and inclusion, or employee transitions, we’ve reimagined HR.

 

Come join the People Activation Revolution