An organisation is only as good as the staff who make everything happen. For that reason, it’s important you hire carefully to ensure you’ve got the best talent. But does that always mean finding the very best, ultra-skilled people to join the company? Often, companies get blinded by a desire to recruit people who already have years of experience or certain degrees under their belt. In reality, those people aren’t always the best fit for your culture or organisation.
Another way to build the workforce you really want is through upskilling. If you’ve already got a talented crew, you can use corporate e learning courses to enhance their skills even further. This opens up a whole range of flexibility in your workforce and even allows you to change your recruitment strategies. Imagine being able to recruit for personal qualities such as drive, determination and loyalty while training for excellence in specific fields.
What is upskilling?
Upskilling is exactly as the name suggests, the process of increasing one’s skills. People can upskill in various ways. Some may choose to continually grow their existing skillset to become an expert in one area. Others view upskilling as a chance to learn new skills and expand their scope. By learning new skills, many people are even exposed to different career paths they hadn’t thought of before.
Upskilling your existing staff is great because you end up with a multi-talented workforce that you can move and deploy where demand requires. Ultimately, people become better at performing their own jobs, and they also learn skills that can progress their career.
What is eLearning?
eLearning is short for ‘electronic learning’. Now, that description is quite broad and might not reflect how people actually view eLearning in today’s world. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so much learning and education have moved online. While some of that is traditional eLearning, some also encompass virtual classrooms, lectures and study groups for example.
eLearning, as most people know it, is self-paced online learning. It’s usually small learning modules that people can complete online at their own pace. Generally, and eLearning package includes a mixture of text, images, video, and interactive features like quizzes. It’s so popular among organisations and individuals because of flexible delivery. People can log in and participate when they have time.
Promoting upskilling in a busy workplace
It’s great to decide you want a more highly skilled workforce. It’s even better to make the decision to build that through learning and development. But it’s not quite as simple as buying a few eLearning packages and asking staff to complete them. Like anything, upskilling your staff needs a certain plan.
Everybody learns differently, everyone has different aspirations. So, it’s important to find a way to make upskilling not just appealing to staff, but also meaningful. Here are some tips on how to encourage upskilling in the workplace with online digital learning courses.
Provide dedicated learning time
One of the reasons people avoid training is because they feel they’ve got too much work to do. Even when your boss encourages you to do eLearning, it’s hard when you’ve got so many competing priorities. Firstly, as a manager, it’s your job to promote upskilling and provide support for that to occur. Staff need to know that their eLearning is important, and if other tasks have to take a back seat, that’s ok.
Secondly, if eLearning is still getting pushed aside for other deadlines, you can try creating some dedicated eLearning time. It might be a specified 30 minutes every week, where all staff forget what they’re doing and participate in some eLearning. Or, you can arrange it individually with your teams.
Listen to staff learning needs
When introducing eLearning training courses as a way to upskill, you need to do a bit of planning. As part of that planning, you need to listen carefully to what staff actually want. As leaders, you’ll have plenty of ideas of your own. There may even be some skills refresher courses you make mandatory for all staff to complete. But ultimately, the upskilling process should be driven by staff.
What types of skills do they want to develop? Where do they see their career in 5 years? These questions help to inform the types of courses you make available for people to access. Like anything in the workplace, staff are much more engaged in a process when they feel they’ve been listened to.
Make training personalised
Since you’ve spoken to staff about what type of training they want, you’ve now got an opportunity to truly personalise the process for everyone. The worst thing you can do, especially in a large organisation with so many job roles is to force everyone into the same eLearning modules. While some topics like building resilience and time management can benefit everybody, it’s not likely that Sandra, the head of Accounts, needs a Microsoft Excel beginner’s course.
If you already hold monthly performance meetings with staff, make upskilling a part of each conversation. Agree on an eLearning module or two to focus on for the coming month, and discuss again next month. This way, staff can see that eLearning is really about their career and where they want to go. If you have a quality online digital learning course provider, you’ll find plenty of variety to choose from.
Offer bite-sized eLearning modules
The beauty of eLearning is the modules are quite small. Their bite-sized pieces of information people can digest easily and put into practice straight away. Many courses can be completed in around 30 minutes, and staff can get back to their normal work. This takes away that stress about their workload, while also ensuring they get the learning and development they need.
It’s worth noting that using bite-sized modules doesn’t stop someone from working towards a larger goal. For example, you might have them complete a range of Microsoft Excel short courses, rather than one 2-day course.
Allow staff to utilise their new skills
As with any learning pursuits, it’s important to let people put their new skills to the test. Sometimes this is simple. If they’ve learned a few new email tricks and they use email every day, they can put their learning into practice. But what if they’re eLearning focus is more around leadership?
You might not to be able to facilitate something instantly, but if you can give that person a chance to job-shadow with a leader, or even give them a project to manage for themselves, they can start consolidating their new skills.
Promote from within
This may seem a strange suggestion because it’s not obvious how this helps to promote upskilling through eLearning. However, let’s picture a scenario where you speak regularly with your staff about their aspirations. People want to try different roles, gain new experiences, or be promoted when the time comes. You’ve offered eLearning as a way for those staff to increase their skills and work towards their career goals.
Then, somebody leaves the marketing department and a position opens up. All your staff who have been working towards an opportunity in marketing are excited because this could be the perfect next step. But you decide to go and hire an experienced marketing professional externally instead. If you had promoted within and trusted your own training programs and employee support to get that person up to speed in marketing, people would continue to trust that upskilling works. If you hire from outside the organisation, watch how quickly people start looking elsewhere.
Create a culture of learning and development
Ultimately, it’s all abut creating a culture of learning and development. If eLearning courses for upskilling aren’t personalised for each staff member, they lose interest. If you ensure that learning opportunities in your workplace are all about the individual, rather than the company, people will be so much more engaged with the process.