Category Archives: Corporate Learning Best Practices

The Best Ways to Improve Employee Learning and Employee Training

Looking to establish suitable training methods? Trying to teach new skills? Well, here are the best ways to improve employee learning and training in a company.

Every company has its own set of requirements and rules that help it climb up the success ladder. And the best way to go up is with proper foundation and establishment among the employees. This is only possible with a precise regimen of employee learning and training.

Training programs help them improve their skills and stay ahead in the corporate world. With this attitude, you would be able to take your company to the next level. It is the best place to invest. Dive right in and find out the best ways to boost employee learning through training. 

Best ways to improve employee learning and training

Training and learning programs play an essential role in shaping an employee according to the company’s needs. The programs give a clear picture of what the team expects from them and how they can reach the goals without any errors. Quodeck can aid you in finding the best training and development methods. But here are a few ways to improve your employee learning and training programs:

Offer professional training

Every organization runs on different priorities. What better way than to learn from older colleagues? Professional training is the best way to teach employees new ideas, the company’s methods, and objectives. It can also imbibe all the procedures and projects the company works on.

With professional help, the employees can clear their doubts, learn critical information, and even grow as a team. Professional training will guide you about the precise way to grow a company. Besides that, it helps to find your employees’ true potential and recognize the crowd’s best talent.

Emphasize soft skills

What’s the point of having excellent knowledge when you cannot share or help others? What’s the point of thinking of a great idea if you cannot voice it out? Soft skills are often neglected in many companies, but they help build strong bonds and help people and the company grow together.

Soft skills include having healthy communications, table etiquette, ability to collaborate, and work in harmony with other employees. It helps them to create a unique personality and contribute better to the company.

Occasional training programs

Every employee needs to learn to grow. The company can hold occasional training programs for all the employees. They can get on good terms, break some ice, and learn new things from each other. 

With evolving technology and competition, there is always something new to work on. So regular training programs will keep the employees up to date and equipped with new knowledge. 

These training programs can also help older employees come to good terms with younger employees. The programs also involve games and tasks to build strong bonds.

Cross department collaboration

Employee learning can also happen when an employee works in all departments. Moving across the departments will train the employee according to the company’s methods. The diversification will increase the exchange of knowledge and help employees find their passion.

At the same time, it can increase good bonding between the departments, leading to better productivity. For example, marketing teams can consult and have healthy discussions with the sales team before making a market campaign and work in one direction.

Develop managers into personal coaches

Managers play an important role in the employees’ life in the company. They guide, help, control, and assign tasks to all their employees. That way, managers have a clear picture of employees’ strengths, weaknesses, and what motivates them.

Making managers a personal coach will help them groom the employees and hone their skills in the right direction. They can even assign tasks according to their potential. They can test their employees with quick questions or assignments to prepare them better. Having regular conversations with employees will also help establish strong bonds.

Employee development is same as personal development

Personal health and development play an essential role in their growth as an employee. Positive minds and healthy bodies can contribute better to the company. They can become eager to learn new things and stay active in the workplace. You can have an in-house therapist or an approachable HR. They can help employees talk about everything that’s troubling them.

Conclusion

Employees are the foundation of any company. Thus making their well-being an essential thing. Employee training is an ongoing process as the industry is evolving and growing. It helps them set their career on the right path and helps the company climb up the success ladder.  

What you need to know about sales enablement: 3 crucial steps for success

 Sales Enablement can change the growth story of your company boosting revenue by at least 20%. Here’s what you need to know. 

Sales enablement has been an integral part of growing companies, especially in the latter half of the decade. Organisations have been subscribing heavily to the concept of an enablement team purely because of its conversion potential.  

Even though the idea is almost a buzzword nowadays, it’s still widely misunderstood. There’s a lack of clarity on what sales enablement actually is and how it impacts the overall KPIs. And believe it or not, this murky distinction hurts the potential that sales enablement could have. 

We’ll be clearing the fog and shedding some light on what sales enablement in reality is & why it is an absolute necessity in today’s conversion-focused business environment. 

How to define sales enablement? 

Sales Enablement is a term loosely used in the context of an overlap between VP of sales & sales manager, which is somewhat true but not entirely. 

By definition, it is a strategic placement that focuses on increasing the numbers and productivity of sales teams by providing tools, content, and resources across the buyer’s journey. 

Of course, this is an immensely broad definition of sales enablement, presented just to give you an outline. It’s way more nuanced than this. Here’s what sales enablement teams do on an average day: 

A day in the life of a sales enablement team

The role of Sales Enablement would be different for every organization. But the purpose is more or less identical. In most organizations, Sales Enablement bridges the gap between Marketing & Sales by: 

  1. Crafting sales assets & trainings
  2. Leading new hire onboarding and continuous learning of the sales reps
  3. Heading the evaluation of the reps’ product & user knowledge 
  4. Paving the way for cross-functional communication
  5. Managing all the sales tools & resources
  6. Creating reports measuring sales enablement impact

Who heads the sales enablement team? 

Now that’s a bit tricky because this is not a traditional function. So it can be very contextual. The head of sales runs almost 40-50% of the functions, the rest being accountable to any of the executives from the management or marketing depending upon the organization’s needs. 

You must have a fair idea by now of what to expect while building a sales enablement team. So let’s move on to the meat of the matter – does sales enablement actually impact the bottom line, or is it just another frivolous corporate jargon? 

What makes sales enablement so crucial (and an absolute must-have in 2021)

In plain numbers, organizations have witnessed up to 15% more success in closing deals. 

Companies like Ringcentral, a business communications SaaS, saw a massive revenue run rate of $775M. The stock shot up to $126 from $22 in about two years of the sales enablement settling in. 

Other than that, some companies have also experienced stronger customer relationships & higher quota attainment. 

Here are three direct practical benefits of sales enablement

Maximum Sales Potential at each touchpoint 

An essential part of sales enablement is sales readiness. It’s the strategic orientation preparing reps with all the armor they require before going ahead and making a sale. The resources can be anything, from the intricate details of the product to the competitive positioning.

Usually, if done right, clients end up having memorable experiences even if the sale doesn’t go through. It’s potentially a candidate for word-of-mouth. 

The process includes some strategic activities like: 

  • Onboarding
  • Sales coaching
  • Materials for consistent & updated knowledge 
  • Reinforcement 

Engaged Salesmen are Productive Salesmen

The main goal of any Sales Enablement team is to aid sales reps in closing better. Subsequently, it also plays a crucial role in keeping them better engaged & equipped. 

There was a report by SiriusDecisions that mentioned high-performing organizations having high rates of early enablement adoption, as compared to the low-performing ones. 

Better pre-qualified leads, Increased conversions

Sales teams always complain about the quality of marketing qualified leads. According to Market Sherpa, most sales teams report that only 27% of b2b leads passed from marketing to sales are actually really qualified. 

With transparent & consumer-centric resources answering all the generic questions ideal buyers have – the tedious part is cut in half. Now, salespeople have to cater to prospects that are pre-educated. This saves a lot of time & effort, leading to better conversion rates.

Best practices include: 

  • Working in sync with the sales team to prepare the resources 
  • Focusing more on the present-day immediate buyers’ needs than long-term traditional pieces

Moreover, your salespeople are allowed to focus on the meat of their job, i.e., selling, and the tedious parts of their job is taken away. This has a minimal but effective impact on the conversion rates. 

These were the top three benefits that having a sales enablement team can incur. Here we conclude this edition on sales enablement. 

Final Words

Conclusively, Sales Enablement is an efficient sync between the marketing and sales departments. It’s an absolute must-have in today’s tech-oriented times where the scope of marketing & sales has changed. They are codependent more than ever but still can’t function appropriately in sync with each other. That’s why you can’t miss out on sales enablement. 

The Top 5 Ways to Transform Your Sales Team into a Sales-Enabled Organization

Wondering why your team is lagging behind in sales? Here are some tips to transform yours into a sales-enabled company!

The sales team of any organization is a crucial driving force for good business. While standard sales strategies are used by a majority of organizations, the sales aspects are often undermined with more focus on enhancing your brand identity and other peripheral aspects.

For a business, at the end of the day, sales stand to be the most important. Even if you’re a brand that believes in making an impact or looking at the larger picture, you really can’t keep your vision going without having the basic funds for it. Many businesses fall to their ends due to the lack of a prompt sales team.

But the question is – how to make your company a sales-enabled one at large? Here are the top 5 ways with which you can transform yours into a sales-enabled organization:

  1. Modernize with CRM and collaboration tools

As much as you’d think your sales reps can handle it all, making their lives easier with some modern sales elements is always a good idea. Sales-friendly CRM systems can help to manage quality leads and target relevant consumers. Interactive and collaboration tools for your sales team can also do wonders for an effectively managed sales funnel. 

  1. Automate administrative and mundane tasks

Do everything you can to ensure your reps are focusing on sales and not mundane paperwork or other administrative tasks that could be managed digitally. If you’re still doing things the old-fashioned pen-to-paper way, it’s time to upgrade. Incorporate apps and devices into your workspace for digital signatures, cross-platform networking, and centrally updated data. In fact, handling mundane things electronically ensures not only saved time but improved security, privacy, and authenticity of data! 

  1. Use gamification strategies to encourage competition amongst reps

The sales playing field has traditionally been a competitive one. Who can finish their targets first? Who can get that promotion? How about easing the pressure-based competition and gamifying the competition between reps. Quodeck is a one-of-a-kind SaaS tool that allows you to create a gamified interactive interface that can be the next big thing to keep your sales reps engaged and on their toes. 

  1. Invest more in sales training and enablement

The businesses that experience a dip at the earliest are those that don’t train their reps well. You can’t expect your employees to deliver if you don’t provide them with the best training and set of resources to close the most number of deals! It is high time to invest in more effective sales training strategies, new technologies, and sales-enablement platforms for your business. 

  1. Analyze data to optimize strategy

Last but not least, fine-tuning your strategy as per your prior performances will truly make an impact. Insights from performance data can greatly transform your sales team and fine-tune their responses for client conversions. Classify and recognize aspects that are working and figure out strategies that are not working. You’d be blown away by how much data can reveal about your organization’s performance! Employ effective data analytics tools to reap the benefits of this. 

Conclusion

A few steps in the right direction can change your existing team into one with a little more perspective on sales. Assess your organization and shortlist what would work for you to boost up the potential of your sales department. Jump into these top options and find out what works for your business!

5 mistakes to avoid while making a sales training course

Sales skills are not magic. You acquire a skill after you have practiced techniques and studied a rulebook. We are here to share all that with you today! 

The best salespeople are not born; they have to be made. If you are one, then you definitely know what you sell. You understand your market and the requirements of your prospects. And, you also know how to predict questions and counter challenges that surface during the sales process. 

But, what happens when you do not know how to create training courses but only know sales? Is there any shortcut that can make someone an expert from an amateur? Yes, there is! 

This blog will educate you about the mistakes that must not be made when creating an online sales training course. So here we go.

  1. Making the course a complicated one 

Everyone wants an all-in-one training system online that makes it easier to create training content, walkthroughs, and guides in minutes. But, often, sales training courses are designed using a maze of learning management systems and software.  

Some even end up hiring instructional design and software experts. But, none of us realize that finding experts can overwhelm trainers besides being tedious and expensive.  

We recommend creating eye-catching and interactive content in a snap. Once you do that, all trainees can log in with a web browser without following any installations, downloads, or clunky integration steps

  1. Not making the course handy or ready-to-take  

If you have never created a sales training course before, we have you covered. The first thing you need to do is go through training content that is updated, carefully written, and researched. Handle the objections, pronto.  

Customize the course to make it your own so that it covers the common objections of sales, typical mistakes, and techniques to convert grievances into wins. Test the understanding of your learners with hypothetical scenarios, flashcards, matching activities, and MCQs.  

All in all, try your best to make a course that is ready-to-take so that it can be kick-started without any worries.  

  1. Not gamifying the course 

The biggest blunder you can do is not adding mechanics of the game to your sales training course. Thus, we recommend adding anything from points to unlockable objects to badges. You can give Quodeck a try

As this simple platform builder gamifies micro-learning platforms and helps learners with interactive experiences. You will be amazed at the way the trainees access the course whenever, wherever and however they want it.  

Remember, your goal is to enhance participation and motivation so that employees derive full benefit from your course. As an additional bonus, you have the preparedness to maximize ROI by making the training program effective and efficient.  

Your sales trainees will race to the finish line by outperforming their partners, passing exams, and finishing their online modules. You do all these using a powerful game mechanic.  

It does not have to include any visible rewards. But, when they make it to the top by trying their best, it will work as a fundamental motivator for them.  

  1. Not designing and integrating a tracker for a trainee’s progress  

If you create a sales training course that no one enjoys taking, it will never be worth your while. Thus, you have to make your training an effective one. How do you do that? It is simple. All you have to do is integrate a tracker that will track the progress of the trainees.  

Make sure that the tracker you design provides you feasible reports. Once that happens, you can easily witness the impact of your course.  

Reports must include: 

  • Course reports that present in-depth insights into how the learners deal with individual classes 
  • Activity reports that will show who all are attending the course and when. 
  • Learning track reports will help you understand what courses have been completed by learners and what they have started with.  
  • Learner reports help in finding out how the learners are performing and progressing.  
  1. Not developing actual-world simulations 

Not providing real-world experiences to your trainees is the worst mistake you can make when designing a sales course. Thus, we suggest providing online training simulations that mimic the environment of a workplace and are interactive.  

This step will allow a sales employee to investigate every aspect of the job, from punching in to applying sales terminals every day. Creating an online simulation like a “typical day at work” can help them practice every duty and skill they need on the job.  

Incorporate realistic challenges and workplace images to assist employees in relating or connecting to a subject matter.  

Parting Thoughts  

A sales course development is an ongoing process that will never really stop. However, it would help if you aimed at making the training engaging and convenient. Host monthly or weekly webinars to get personalized feedback and to keep everyone briefed  

We hope you know what mistakes to avoid now and will make a terrific course in the future. If you feel there’s anything we missed, do let us know in the comment section below.

One size fits all learning platforms are a thing of the past

When five fingers of our palm aren’t the same, then how can one can education style fit all learning platforms? Keep reading to know more about this! 

For many years now, education has been adhering to the “one size fits all” model. What everyone meant by this model was that students would be taught using the same styles of teaching and scored using the same evaluation methods, regardless of their interest or ability. 

But we all know that each student is different and has a different learning style. Each one of them has varying weaknesses and strengths. Besides, how many of us receive the same parental support back home? Does it make any sense to paint every student’s life with the same brush? The answer to all these questions is an echoing NO! 

Thus, when you select a learning platform, you must consider multiple aspects. These aspects include usability, ease of use, compatibility, and, most importantly, your needs. Honestly, go for a platform that implements a tailored solution that covers all your requirements.  

Have a read of this blog in its entirety to know how you can choose a learning platform that can be customized to fit your needs. 

Must be easy to use  

Any online learning platform you choose should never have a stiff learning curve. It must be easy to use for the administrators, students, and teachers alike. Meaningful options of support, precise controls, and intuitive systems must be a pivotal aspect of your selection norm.  

This is the reason Quodeck makes simple but powerful platforms that you can engage with. They go beyond the LMS and introduce gamified micro-learning platforms that help you understand a course better.  

You will only have to click on rich media like quizzes, videos, and animations to learn. And, clicking does not require any skill, does it?  

Must be compatible  

By compatibility, we mean how easily and seamlessly the platform integrates with other devices you use the application on. This means if you are a user, then your experience of using the app across all different devices must be the same; think laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.  

We recommend selecting a web platform that is accessible 24×7.  For instance, QuoDeck, with its template authoring system, authors mobile responsive content. All you have to do is upload the existing PPT or PDF content and make a micro-learning platform with the inbuilt authoring tool.  

Must be customizable  

The training platform you choose must allow customization. After all, branding is crucial. You must be able to reinforce the platform’s strength and credibility by maintaining the visual identity.  

QuoDeck lets you customize the branding, look and feel of a platform in a few easy steps. 

Must be able to accept different formats  

Training platforms must be able to accept a variety of formats, especially video. We can present numerous reasons why nothing beats video training when it comes to tutoring your prominent people.

 

Must impart an enjoyable experience  

Choose a platform that gives you all that you are looking for. Make sure you select a learning platform where you can enjoy an intuitive and beautiful interface. You must be able to offer feedback, interact, and get certifications that you are proud of.  

Overall, the learning platform you choose must impart a fun experience and make you feel welcomed.  

Must have interactive features  

Add a game to anything, and that becomes super fun. How many of you remember only loving textbooks with big colorful pictures and hating books that only had text? Must be many of you, we believe! 

Similarly, when you select a management system of learning, make sure some features engage you. Opt for the one that educates you effectively by giving you the chance to answer Q&As, surveys, play challenges, and quizzes. 

QuoDeck creates stellar mobile experiences by offering a library of ready game structures that course designers can pick and use. You will be impressed by the way they design learning paths as stories. And, to harness your competitive spirit, they reward you with badges, certificates, and leaderboard positions after you finish a quiz. 

Conclusion  

You must also consider platform reliability and security besides the budget before you sign-up for an e-learning platform. See whether the software is stable. Check whether the customer support executives are responsive and look at how long the platform takes to fix the bugs. We hope that you will make an informed decision with great confidence with all these points in your mind

7 Ways to Maximize Learning in your Training Programs

Training programs are a collection of instructions or procedures that are designed to help people improve their abilities. Skills and knowledge, mentality, attitude, and efficiency of a person are important in any profession.

Every person receives training at some point in their lives, whether formal or informal. How many times have you gone to training programs as a student or a professional and been able to recall or put what you learned into practice?

If your answer is close to zero, this was most likely because you were forced to attend the training against your will due to institutional obligations. It’s also conceivable that you received general training with no actual or direct application to your topic or career.

Whether public or personalized, any activity will undoubtedly provide value to individuals in some manner, either directly or indirectly. The only stipulation is that you must be able to benefit from it.

Now check out the tips listed below on how to get the most out of any training program and improve your learning retention:

1.   Clear your mindset:

The majority of individuals do not benefit from any training courses (primarily generic ones). They already have a terrible impression of the session.

This kind of training is of no benefit to them in their career or at work, because they do not concentrate on learning and application, any activity they get will be useless to them.

The primary source of this issue is a preconceived mentality. This mentality is formed as a result of previous experiences or disinformation. So, if you want to learn and have a good belief system, you must not use these filters.

2.   Finalize the pre-work:

Many training courses contain a pre-assignment or pre-assessment exercise that you must complete before the course commencement.

Many individuals do not want to complete this pre-workout, but it is critical for you to self-analyze your present abilities and create a route to your goal talents. It enables you to assess your current abilities and knowledge gaps to succeed in your profession.

3.   Determine the aim of training programs:

It is critical to determine the purpose of training, or in other words, the goal of the program. What are you expecting to gain from the training? Find out what’s in it for you, what skills you’ll get, what information you’ll gain, and what new learnings you’ll accomplish.

This way, you’ll be able to pinpoint your specific objective and concentrate your efforts on achieving it.

4.   Match your learning outcomes to your objectives:

Establish a clear link between what you gain in a training course and your desired outcome. Determine which learnings are linked to your desired abilities. This will encourage you to participate actively in the program and strive to improve your abilities.

5.   Focus on analysis:

What you can’t define, you can’t improve. You must first evaluate the efficacy of your staff training and development program before you can enhance it. Fortunately, current training systems make it simple to get a wide range of data about your learning program’s success. While smaller businesses may choose to forego utilizing training analytics, more prominent companies cannot afford to do so.

It’s difficult for educators and training managers to remain ahead of training innovations on an individual level as the amount of students and courses grows, perhaps spanning several training groups, divisions, and branches.

Make it a habit to track your training data to enhance your business training program. This will assist you to:

  • Gain a sense of your training program’s overall development
  • Find and fill skill gaps, detect issues in your courses (e.g., challenging lessons)
  • Identify parts of your training program that need improvement
  • Recognize and appreciate training effort, locate your top talent

6.   Attend follow-up meetings:

Many training providers schedule follow-up sessions for their students to address any issues they may have when putting the ideas or learnings into practice. Attend these seminars to receive answers to your questions and get additional insight into putting your skills into practice.

Even if you don’t have any questions, you may still learn something new by attending to or studying other people’s problems and solutions.

7.   Add ‘Social Learning’ to your training:

You learn more when you exchange your experience with others, when you have a mentor to assist you, and when you have a model to follow.

Learners and mentors are connected via social learning, allowing them to talk and share their thoughts and problems. Chat rooms, forums, online communities, video conferencing, and other methods are crucial.

This social learning method is an excellent technique to stay motivated, passionate, and eager to learn more.

In conclusion

To advance in your professional job or company in today’s competitive world, you must surpass others. You must have a good attitude and understand your learning style to get the most out of it. These tips will help you get that extra knowledge from your training programs, and you’ll see the change in your learning methods from day one.

The key to success is to put your plan into action. So, put everything you’ve learned in class into practice, and keep brushing up on your abilities.

Podcasts: Effective ways to train your sales team

Podcasts aren’t just entertainment, but also informative. We summed up a 3 minute write-up to explain how these mini audiobooks can affect your overall sales. Few things might surprise you. 

A podcast is  an audio/video transcription of information that can be downloaded and played anywhere and anytime—it’s like satellite radio, but in pre-packaged and time-limited format.  

  

Podcasts are recorded using certain software online recording programs, exported to a digital warehouse like Spotify, and then downloaded/streamed by anyone who searches for that topic or anyone who has a direct link to the podcast itself. 

The popularity of podcasts have exploded and are now considered a conventional mode of media, easily accessible to everyone. You have podcasts available for every topic under the sun, from gardening to mental health to project management. The ease and mobility of podcasts make it a perfect medium for conducting sales trainings.  

Sales professionals are usually exposed to a lot of content, sometimes too much. Yet, finding accessible and correct content to read can be struggle. Especially if you are an incentive driven sales professional, every second not spent on a deal could feel like a useless second. Apart from being incredibility popular among the current generation, podcasts are turning out to be an effective way for sales trainings. The 5 top reasons to use podcasting for sales training are listed below: 

  1. In most companies, sales professionals don’t have a stationary office job in-front of a computer or at a desk for most part of their day. Creating secure mobile podcasts can make it easier for the field sales teams to have access to the content on their phones, away from their office and home networks. Podcasts allow representatives to have access to the trainings offline, on the road, or anywhere they can multi-task. 
  1. In a podcast episode, business guru Tim Sanders says that our capacity to   understand information when reading text is 7% but increases to 38% in an auditory setting. This would mean that shifting from an email-based culture to an audio-based culture, would improve the understanding by almost 500%. For sales representatives, or anyone for that matter, this jump in efficacy is critical. 
  1. Mobile training methods for sales reps don’t just improve accessibility to content on the field, but are also a good way to generate quantifiable productivity gains. According to research, sales reps spend at least eight hours per month in transit. Extrapolate this number to all the sales representatives, and the company loses a huge amount worth of productivity every month. Mobile training methods easily engage the reps to continue learning, especially in the field, or even behind the steering wheel. Hence, this makes podcast trainings an exceptional choice to turn the wasted downtime into productive opportunities.  
  1. You can’t deny the fact that podcasting is already incredibly popular and has seen a sharp growth due to the pandemic. After the US and China, India happens to be the third-largest podcast market in the world, and the estimation states that the country would see 17.61 million people listening to podcasts by the year 2023. 
  1. Highly successful organizations usually provide its sales representatives with ongoing training throughout the year. This can become extremely easy with 5-minute daily/weekly podcasts in keeping the sales representatives up to date. The minimal effort required in the production of these podcasts, makes it an even easier tool to work with.

Podcasts are proving to be efficient micro-learning solutions as they produce bite sized episodic content which are short, information heavy and engaging. And although podcasting for training is still at an early stage, this could be the perfect time to initiate and experiment with it. 

BONUS READ 

How to Record a Podcast from your Mac 

1.) Open Garageband. Click on “Podcast” when it asks what to record. 

2.) Click the record button to record your voice. Click it again to stop recording. To playback, click the rewind button.  

3.) To add artwork, just select “Artwork” section on your podcast. Then, from the right sidebar, select “Photos”, pick one and upload.  

4.) Select the “Jingles” section on your podcast to add them. Then, from the right sidebar, select “Audio” and find a sample you’d want to use. Shorten it by selecting the track.  

5.) After you’re done saving, go to the top and under “Share”, click “Export Song to Disc”.  Now, you can upload the exported file to your platform.  

REMOTE WORKING: IS IT TIME TO GO DIGITAL ON LEARNING?

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic forced nations of the world to go into complete (or partial) lockdown. As a result, industries worldwide either shut down their operations or switch to remote working. 

Organizations and people have struggled to stay productive while working remotely due to the lack of social life or personal touch. It is debatable if the new-normal will stay normal even after the lockdown measures are entirely lifted. However, there will be a significant fundamental shift in the work cultures of organizations across the globe

Remote Working: A Necessity

Remote working was desirable with the majority of the population even before the pandemic, though not most of them got it. Few companies were digitally ready to implement the work-from-home strategy as they used to practice it pre-pandemic. However, companies worldwide were forced to move to full-time practice of remote working and struggle.  

To stay functional and productive, organizations help their employees with all sorts of information and training, which is also done remotely. At least some of these practices will probably go on even after the pandemic is over. Fortunately, there are tools of digital learning that can ensure success. 

The Changing Mindsets 

Before the pandemic hit, most managers believed that it is impossible or way too challenging to achieve high productivity levels while working from home. For them, there were no two ways for it. However, they are now beginning to see a change in their long-held believes, as they see the results of the employees working at their own places. It is more apparent now that the employees will perform when they are trusted for responsibility. 

The managers can now see that any mandate of having all of the employees in one place together is pointless. People still work well when they do not see each other all the time. Besides, did we always meet everyone in the office on a daily basis? 

Although there are jobs that require people to meet and work together, we might not need to meet our colleagues or our teams daily. We may still gather, but not with the same people every day. 

Digital Learning: The key enabler 

For an organization to succeed at these fundamental shifts in an organization’s culture, the employees are at the core. The companies have to create a collaborative and learning culture for their employees to be efficient at these. On top of that, the companies need to change  the learning style from the one-size-fits-all format to a more personalized mode for the employees. Engaging learning integrated into the day-to-day work is even better. The rise of digital tools is making learning shift towards the concept of individualized learning. 

Traditionally, digital learning has been dull, even after being a revolution. One could not imagine oneself being involved in digital learning regularly, more so on a daily basis. A teacher in front of a camera, running through a series of PPTs, has been the norm. Fortunately, there has been much evolution in this area – game based learning and mobile learning. Learning is now interactive, engaging, at the learners’ convenience, and as a part of their day’s work. 

Few companies were enabled with the WFH model, and others were forced to adopt it. In both cases, the usual 9 to 5 daily office routine is likely to be disrupted with remote working becoming a part of the norm, if not the norm itself, with the employees demonstrating productivity at the comfort of their homes even more than they did being in their cubicles. The corporates will have to deliver the training that is personalized to the employees to keep their employees up-to-date, engaged, and skilled digitally.

How To Enhance Virtual Learning With The Help Of Social Learning

A virtual environment is a medium of learning where learners go through courses, study materials and learning aids through an online medium. It can be browser-based or a virtual training session through Zoom. Virtual learning offers activities, interactions, and resources within a course structure and provides different levels of assessment. Given this context, learners can access learning materials through peer-to-peer collaboration networks such as forums. As social learning is a continuous process of learning from other people within and outside the organization, it can be integrated into virtual learning through various means.

At the present virtual learning also happens through social technologies like blogs, wikis, discussion forums, messaging tools, conferencing tools, subject-matter directories, and videos. Organizations are increasingly using social learning in their training methodologies for improved learning retention, increased learner engagement, and reduced training costs.

The 70:20:10 Learning Framework

In traditional classroom training, most learners recall only 10% of what they have learned after 72 hours. Such lack of knowledge retention can harm the business of your organization. For example, a salesperson may face trouble recalling the knowledge learned at the appropriate time the next week, which could cost them a sale.

As per this methodology, about 70% of learning happens through on-the-job training and practical experiences, 20% through interaction with peers and colleagues, and just 10% in a traditional, instructor-led classroom training environment.

Why Social Learning?

Social learning helps employees with enhanced retention of knowledge, which is the primary goal of any training program. Social learning encourages learning in a working environment and allows learners to apply their knowledge to work. They can learn from peers, senior employees, or experts within the organizations. People learn from real-life scenarios/examples and by direct experiences. Research studies also indicate that social learning methods deliver a better ROI (almost 75:1 ratio) when compared to traditional classroom training.

Here are a few strategies on how to enhance virtual learning with the help of social learning.

Enhance Learner Engagement

A virtual learning environment allows you to manage the learning activities by using various means such as an LMS for learner administrations, learning platforms, and virtual instructor sessions. In social learning, employees can either start or take part in a discussion, training or coach others as and when a situation arises. This type of freedom to engage in their learning will directly impact increased engagement in their work.

As part of social learning, provide a network of mentors and peers, where information is created and distributed easily to employees. Thus, employees can obtain more practical knowledge and make better decisions through increased engagement with others.

Collaborate Proactively With Learners

Communication and collaboration among the participants with emails, chat, wikis, blogs, etc., are other key components of a virtual learning environment. Social learning is collaborative in its approach, happens in real-time, and has a direct relation to an employee’s work. Learning can happen anytime, anywhere, and by using any device. Organizations that support social learning need to have learning environments that foster conversation, discussion, and collaboration between learners across the organization.

Social learning involves knowledge sharing in a joint effort between peers, and between peers and facilitators. It promotes high-level thinking, good relationships, oral and written communication, self-management, responsibility, and leadership skills.

Encourage Peer Learning

Peer learning is a great way in which learners learn from each other. Participants connected can observe and learn from others, helping each other in the virtual session. Learners can directly learn from seniors and experts who have been in similar situations. In peer learning, learners receive more time for individualized learning, and interactions between employees promote active learning.

Learners get a chance to reinforce their learning by instructing others. Also, learners feel more comfortable and open when interacting with their peers. For companies, peer learning is a financially efficient alternative to hiring trainers or instructors. Research studies indicate that peer learning activities yield more benefits to the organization, such as enhanced team-building spirit, more supportive relationships, greater psychological well-being, and improved communication skills. Thus, organizations should encourage peer learning to achieve greater productivity.

Add Simulations And Gamification Elements

Simulations and gamification help facilitators turn their virtual learning into a more interactive experience. Simulations can turn virtual learning sessions into more interesting and fun learning sessions. Mock trials and digital simulations are great ways to enhance a virtual learning session and engage the participants more.

Gamification involves turning an activity into a competitive game for the learners. You can take learning concepts, assignments, and activities and convert them into interesting games. The facilitator can announce badges and rewards for winners and create that unique spark that attracts the learners’ interest. Gamification and simulations allow learners to observe real-life scenarios and examples.

By Suresh Kumar DN, CEO at Tesseract Learning

On-boarding for a Job Role STACK

Unless you have been living under a rock through the last decade, you have heard of tech stacks. A tech stack is the set of underlying elements of a software application. These are the frameworks, languages, and software products that everything else is built on. Every developer who joins a tech team needs to learn his stack.

Similarly, I believe that every business role has a stack. A stack that has to be mastered by anybody looking to do that role.

Skills

Skills are what we all need to know how to do in order to our job effectively. There are two broad categories of skills – Soft Skills and Functional Skills. In the context of this framework, the “Skills” being referred to are Functional Skills only. Every role demands certain core functional skills, that are essential for the employee to function in that job.

Good examples of these are Javascript expertise for a ReactJS developer, Negotiation and Presentation Skills for a salesperson and Accounting Skills for a credit analyst. While such skills can be trained for, true expertise comes only from experience. This is why expertise in such core skills is typically evaluated during the recruitment process itself. And once in the job, organizations trust employees to progressively get better the longer they perform the role.

In the context of role on-boarding, there is very little that can be done in a short duration program to build up these core skills. Instead, what is recommended are skill assessments and quick refreshers. Essentially, just show them a mirror and jog their memory.

Don’t spend inordinate amounts of time (not more than 10%) on skill training during on-boarding.

Tools

Can you imagine a carpenter without a saw or a blacksmith without a hammer? A skill is useless without the tools that go along with it. Similarly, every job role typically requires an employee to use a set of software and hardware tools and systems to perform their jobs.

Good examples of these are IDEs for developers, Canva and Amplayfy for content marketers and Microsoft PowerPoint for salespersons. Apart from industry-specific tools like these, most companies also have their own company-specific ERP, CRM, LMS, HRMS, etc. that the employees need to familiarise themselves with.

In the context of role on-boarding, expertise on industry-specific tools is akin to having the core skills. It is not recommended that any industry-specific tool training be undertaken during the on-boarding program. Instead, it is recommended to focus on providing primers for company-specific tools. Most people are hesitant to learn new systems, and the on-boarding program is the best place to manage this trepidation through these introductions to the tools. Giving them access to manuals or help videos in a repository format will encourage deeper self-training at a later date.

Spend more time on training on tools (about 15%) over training on skills during on-boarding.

Attitudes

Attitudes are a mixed bag of soft skills, beliefs and habits that are required for working in a role. These dictate how well you can work or interact with others to form relationships, create trust and dependability, and lead teams.

Good examples of these are leadership abilities in team leaders, assertiveness in analysts and persuasiveness in salespersons. Beyond the role requirements, all companies have a clear set of values, principles and guidelines that they look to inculcate in their workplace. Every employee must learn, internalise and display these attitudes to fit into the company culture.

In the context of role on-boarding, such attitudes need to be communicated right up front. These are best done through meet and greets, icebreakers, evangelical sessions and value discussions with the employee. Given that these require significant face-to-face interactions, it is perhaps the most expensive part of an on-boarding program in terms of time and effort and might seem to have a lower direct benefit in role on-boarding.

However, attitudes are critical in integrating a new hire into the company on the whole, and deserve significant resource allocation (about 20%) during on-boarding.

Customers

Customers are the only purpose for existence of any business activity. Customers can be internal or external, depending on the nature of the job role. But in all cases, knowing about and understanding customers is critical to performing the job well. Such customer education is unique to role on-boarding, differing from organisational induction in its application.

Good examples of these could range from retailers for front-line FMCG sales, website visitors for SaaS inside sales teams and company employees for an HR team. A stakeholder mapping exercise would be a good starting point for identifying the customer for a role.

In the context of role on-boarding, the difficult question is determining the best approach for the customer familiarisation exercise. In the case of institutional sales, it could be one-on-one meetings with the clients and account planning exercises. In the case of B2C sales, it might be participating in surveys, focus groups and interviews. Attending reviews and meetings might be a good way to familiarise the employee with internal customers.

Customer familiarisation during on-boarding requires significant time expenditure (about 25%), but reduces the need for on-the-job training in the long term.

Knowledge

Knowledge required for a job role spans a matrix of Industry-Company-Employee and Information-Concepts-Expectations. This has been explored in great detail in the ICE Cube induction framework I and II which are linked here and here.

Good examples of knowledge needs are company background, regulations, company policies, business concepts, etc. A larger part of required knowledge are job role specific knowledge of concepts, processes, products, expectations etc.

In the context of role on-boarding, the knowledge requirement takes up the largest chunk of time. It is recommended that to the extent possible, the knowledge sections should be administered through e-learning and not instructor-led training. The knowledge content should be structured as a combination of course-ware and reference learning centers, with a focus on on-demand learning and personalization. Try and find ready learning resources on LinkedIn, Coursera, Udemy, etc. before starting to create your own learning resources.

Knowledge training forms the base of the entire role on-boarding program (about 30%) and needs to be planned smartly to manage time, cost and effectiveness.

* * *

The Job Role STACK approach integrates really well with competency mapping and organizational development. Ideally, we typically recommend getting veterans of each job role in the organization to define the STACK and its constituents. Post that, taking the common elements of multiple Job Role STACKs into a common company induction program becomes easier. The remaining STACK components then move into a relatively shorter role on-boarding exercise that finally gets integrated with on-the-job training and coaching.

Do let us know your opinions on job role stacks and whether you see them being applicable in your businesses. And if you are looking for an easy to use tool to create interactive content for such programs, do consider giving Amplayfy a spin…

P.S. This was first published on LinkedIn – Click here to see the original post