Your cell phone can do hundreds of useful things you know nothing about. But just how much time are you willing to invest in learning about all these features and functions when there’s so much else to do?
It’s rare to find an employee who gets excited about training. For most of us, it’s a chore. And that’s not good for business because your company is only as effective as your people are knowledgeable.
The payoff of continually adding to your employees’ skill sets is huge. They’re your most valuable (and expensive) resource, and the imparting of new skills they can apply to their jobs pays off many times over in increased productivity and the ability to take on new responsibilities. Training and promoting people from within is significantly more cost-effective than bringing in skills from outside.
That’s why there’s been such a big buzz across American industry lately about the “gamification” of learning, based on the same psychology that causes us to enjoy racking up points in trivia contests or Fantasy Football. We like rewards, we like to achieve, and we like to win.
Gamification rarely involves physical rewards or prizes. It’s built around the fact that intangible rewards such as points, badges and other markers of achievement are plenty motivational for most of us. That’s the key – motivation is for everyone.
Katie McCaslin, Senior Director of Product Learning Solutions at RealPage, says there are different types of learners, and an effective training system must appeal to all of them, whether new hires or long-time employees.
There are those who are naturally curious and like to explore; they’re the easy ones, and the training system should make it simple and inviting for them to jump in. There are people who are naturally competitive, and they’ll be attracted to things like badges, points, and progression to higher levels. There are collaborators who enjoy gaining knowledge in common with peers. Then, of course, there are those who will take the training only when dragged to it, and for them, last place on the leaderboard or an email from the boss might be just the right medicine.
An eagle’s eye view of who’s learning what
If you’re using multiple systems to train your employees, how can you ever really have insight into the pulse of your learning strategy? To really get those eagle eyes in focus, all your training needs to be accessible in a single system. This includes both software and non-software related training, along with custom training you create.
RealPage’s EasyLMS, for example, gives leadership a complete picture of where each and every employee stands with all of their learning activities. You know when one employee is dragging their heels in training, and when another is obviously going above and beyond requirements to really dig into their job.
The system also incorporates all the latest gamification/motivation techniques: badges, points, achievement levels and so on.
If you’re considering making learning more of a priority at your company (and you probably should be!), here are some things to think about:
3 tips for continually improving employee skills
1. Provide consistent training
Don’t rely on ad hoc, random training, or just train new hires and then neglect ongoing training. Implement a formal, organized training solution that helps make ongoing training a priority.
2. Choose a solution that incorporates active engagement
An interactive approach has been proven to greatly increase employee motivation to learn.
3. Consolidate ALL your company training into a centralized system
Avoid having training from different companies, and your own custom training, in various silos. A single solution platform offers not only simplified access to all training but gives leadership an easy way to monitor where each employee stands with every sort of training.
“It’s hard to overestimate the payoff of motivating employees to continually improve their skills,” McCaslin says. “Fostering and monitoring ongoing learning should be among the core functions of any great learning strategy.”
Interested in exploring ways to improve your training program? Learn more about learning management tools available to you.