In today's challenging business environment, it has become more important than ever for organisations to work smarter, rather than harder, and to fully maximise the value of all of the assets at their disposal.
Nowhere is this more readily apparent than in the realm of workforce management, where performance improvement has become a vital priority. With many sectors and industries still experiencing skills shortages, it has become increasingly difficult for companies to simply hire more people to address critical knowledge or productivity gaps, meaning upskilling existing staff members is now considered essential.
However, investing in e-learning shouldn't simply be looked at as a matter of pragmatic necessity. Instead, managers should be making a positive case for using these versatile tools to bolster staff engagement, as doing so can have a major impact on keeping your workforce happy and productive, while also improving retention rates at a time when competition for the most qualified workers has never been more intense.
A recent survey conducted by the international polling company Gallup indicated that only 13 per cent of the world's workforce considers themselves to be actively engaged by their work, compared to 63 per cent who said they were not totally committed to their jobs.
Given that this poll involved around 180 million workers from 142 countries, this is clearly a widespread problem, and not one that should be taken lightly. When staff are not fully engaged by their work, it makes it much more likely that they will miss their performance targets, or pass up opportunities to go the extra mile; it's also likely to mean they feel dissatisfied in their roles, and will be looking for a chance to jump ship, taking their essential skills with them.
One of the most common reasons for poor employee engagement is a lack of training or progression schemes - which is where e-learning comes into the equation. Perhaps the single most important benefit of e-learning tools is how flexible and versatile they are, as these digital training resources can be applied in a number of forms, depending on your organisation's needs.
For example, they can be used to provide routine introductory training for new starters, but can also be applied to ongoing development and support programmes, giving staff constant access to resources that allow them to acquire important new skills and learn new aspects of their craft on an ongoing basis - an important consideration for companies seeking to foster long-term engagement.
Moreover, the format of the e-learning experience is also geared to deliver a more stimulating experience than reading from a static textbook, or simply listening to a seminar delivered by a tutor. Instead, e-learning can be sliced into micro-sized chunks, including interactive games, simulations and multimedia content, all of which engages the brain in an active way that's much more conducive to learning and retention.
There are all sorts of ways in which the e-learning approach can deliver more tangible improvements to staff performance than more conventional forms of training. Instead of having to design training sessions that meet the needs of an entire group, managers can utilise individually-tailored e-learning courses that specifically address knowledge gaps in a modular fashion, yielding better results.
This bite-sized approach to learning is also key to why e-learning is seen as such a flexible option by workers themselves. Instead of having to block out a chunk of time for an extended talk or training video, they can access the information as and when it's convenient for them, making it more likely that they will be able to absorb the lessons being taught.
Moreover, most modern e-learning tools come with tracking features built in as standard, meaning learners and managers can both trace the progress of the course as it progresses, giving real-time insights into the user's strengths, weaknesses and pace of learning.
Taken together, these advantages mean that e-learning can deliver real value to staff and encourage them to progress, develop and aspire, while providing the company as a whole with the kind of engaged, loyal workforce that is so vital in a competitive business environment.
Summary: Organisations looking to improve staff performance and engagement could find that e-learning is one of the most flexible and versatile methods of doing so.
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