Employee training and skills
Traditional skills strategies result in unhappy learners, unhappy managers and terrible datasets. It's time to upgrade to something better.
Mark Ward Co-Founder
The listicle of a lifetime to help you encourage great learning habits.
Ryan O'Connell Chief Operating Officer
While we all follow our own life pursuits, the desire for self-improvement and knowledge is something we all have in common. As L&D teams we have the duty to not only walk the walk ourselves but empower others to continuously grow and learn in all aspects of work and life.
We know the ability to learn better, faster and even focus on learning for longer can lead to greater self-awareness, better pay, promotions, a new hobby, or simply new knowledge for the sake of knowing stuff.
So, we put this listicle together for you to help your teams understand what ways of learning works best for them and how to encourage them to do even more of it.
Warning: Some of these tips may surprise you!
1. Reward learning engagement: If your learners aren't engaged, you're going to have a bad time. A quick contest can spark interest and fuel curiosity.
2. Trending topics: Everybody’s talking about it. You should be too! Whether it’s pride month, mental health awareness, or even a new Netflix documentary, there’s a reason everyone’s interested in it. Get that trending content to them quickly before it dies out.
The best learning platforms do this automatically using features like homepage components and campaigns.
3. Stream learning: Your CEO is hosting a broadcast on how they make critical decisions. Interested in joining live? Of course you are. So are your learners.
Today's learners expect the opportunity to learn, develop and grow as a part of their work. Power a culture of continuous learning by setting aside some time each week or month for focused learning.
5. Culture of continuous learning: Related content can be magic for the engaged learner or the relentlessly curious cat.
6. Get to the point fast: Ditch the fluff and strip content back to its core principles and focus on the practical advice people can take away and apply there and then.
7. Give your learners the opportunity to teach: Teaching others is a proven way of learning. By creating forums for teaching others you can help your learners learn themselves while also building new skills.
8. Focus on user experience: Almost 80% of respondents in our business resilience research told Bersin they are burned out, busy, and overwhelmed with work.
A next-gen learning platform makes it easy and intuitive for a learner to get in, get what they need, and learn like it's going out of style. Anything less is like wearing white after labor day. No. Just no.
9. Tags: Not using tags on your learning content is like sending your learners to a Home Depot that doesn't have signs. What they need is probably there but they are definitely going to get lost in power tools.
10. Notifications: We know 94% of business executives get news via email and although it might get saturated, it’s never gone out of style. It’s still one of the main channels for learners and leaders to see your content.
11. Timing is everything: Just like scheduling in marketing, there are key times of day and week where your people are more likely to be engaged with your content. One of the easiest ways you can understand when is by analysing your email’s open and click through rates to understand which times pop.
Another option is using THRIVE’s learning analytics which do all the hard work for you. Leveraging heatmaps to showcase actionable insights.
12. Sharing is caring: 88% of executives are likely to share good content. If you build it, they will come but if the game sucks they're heading to the bar. To get the highest engagement out of learners and the executives that lead them, build it and then make sure you have great content to keep them in the stands.
13. Enable learning in the flow of work: This is all about getting the right answers to the right people at the right time they’re looking for the information. So, make sure your content is well signposted, tagged and searchable. A solid personalization engine in your learning platform also helps with this a lot.
14. Mobile Discovery: This is going to surprise you but people use their phones a lot. Like A LOT. 3.6 hours per day on mobile devices to be precise. So, if you want to meet your learners where they are you need to make content and learning discoverable and easy via mobile 3.6 hours per day on mobile devices,
15. Mobile First: On the topic of mobile, your desktop content isn't likely to crush it on the go. Don't forget to curate some mobile-first content and make it easy to find on the go.
16. Virtual training: As the pandemic subsides it can be tempting to return to the in-person days of old. Don't forget the lessons of 2020. Virtual training, when done right, works.
17. Microlearning: We know there’s a 20% improvement in information retention by using microlearning compared to long format training. So, keep content fresh, modern, and short. Today's learners appreciate and learn more effectively with bite size content.
18. Variable content types: PowerPoints all day are a total snoozefest. Mix up your content types with video, PDF’s, audio, elearning, articles, infographics and even listicles like this one to help your employees find the content that scratches their learning itch.
19. Analyze what works and double-down: It can be as simple as that. If no one engages with PDF content, don't create a bunch of PDF content. If everyone loves video, yes, more. How do you find out what your learners like and don’t I hear you ask?
20. Survey what people want to learn: Yep. Just ask them! The main question you want to know is “what type of content do you prefer to learn from?” Your audience majority replies with animation, then the answer’s obvious.
Here’s the best bit. If you have learning analytics within your learning platform, you can see what content is actually most popular, not just what they think they like too.
21. Consistently provide fresh content: No one likes stale learning content. Keep it fresh by adding and curating new content regularly.
22. Add practical tips on how to apply learning: Learners retain knowledge they can apply far better than simply reading and trying to remember it. Add a quick tip on how to use the learning you’re sharing to help your learners actually retain it.
23. Create paths to find mentors: 83% of employees believe mentoring is an effective way to learn, and we’re with them. The hobbits needed Gandolf to get to Mordor. Your learners might need a guide of their own, especially if they don't understand Tolkien references like this one.
24. People to know experts: Who doesn't want to phone a friend when they’re trying to learn something new. People learn better together, especially if the people on the other end actually know a thing or two about the topic.
25. Experiment with new learning resources: Do you know who the first person to use video for learning was? Me neither, but someone did. Keep experimenting and someday we can all be trying to remember your name too!
26. Generate discussion: Activate learning through discussion. Sometimes you need to start the thread but engaging learners in a discussion can help reinforce learning and introduce new ideas on the application of learning.
27. Add a bit of emotion: Learning shouldn't make you want to cry but when it does, knowledge retention improves. Try adding some emotionally-driven scenarios to the mix.
28. Get comfortable with the struggle of learning: If it was easy everyone would do it. To build a better learning experience, find the balance.
29. Generate curiosity: Build the discipline of curiosity by encouraging your people to ask questions.
30. Leverage the power of stories: Stories stick. Would you rather watch a 15 minute video on IT compliance or hear the story about the social engineering hack that broke Sony Pictures?
In a program at Stanford University, students were asked to give one-minute speeches that contained three statistics and one story. Only 5 percent of the listeners remembered a single statistic, while 63 percent remembered the stories.
31. Harness music: Content with music can increase productivity and support memory recall.
32. Post learning surveys: How did we do? Post-learning surveys can help drive an L&D culture of continuous improvement. So, ask the question, what can we do better and then act on the feedback.
33. Train the trainers: Creating super engaging content that drives engagement and produces positive business outcomes is easier said than done. Don't forget to put some time into training up the trainers to keep their modern learning skills sharp.
34. Reinforce learning: Connect learning content to business objectives to reinforce learning via application.
35. Social engagement with learning: Bersin's latest research found that 35% of companies now operate as a network of teams. Digitally likes, shares, comments fuel our Tik Tok lives. Great learning isn't really all that different. Add a beat and give your learners some room to engage.
36. Executive sponsorship: Follow the leader. It's not just for kids. Drive on-going learner engagement by partnering with key executive leaders to sponsor and actually engage in your employee's learning experience.
Hot pro tip: Get your execs to post and engage with content in your learning platform.
37. Alignment with career mobility: Deloitte surveyed more than 60,000 people and found that 49% of Millennials and Gen-Zers plan to leave their jobs within two years because they’re always looking for new opportunities. Aligning learning to a career progression, a promotion or pay related incentive is always a great motivator.
38. Provide learning goals by individual: Only 31% of companies offer continuous learning opportunities. But your learners want more! So try working learning opportunities into personal development plans, objectives and goals.
39. Create a learning accomplishment checklist: Learning can sometimes go unnoticed. Working with your teams to create development plans that track everyday learning moments is a great way to help them feel accomplishment, progress, and create a real culture of continuous learning.
40. Provide real learning objectives: Does anyone in the office today know how to put out an electrical fire? Asking for a friend.
Seriously wouldn’t it be great if you could tie health and safety training to a reduced number of accidents in your warehouse? Or GDPR training to increased number of Subject Access Requests completed on time?
Free template >> This listicle’s already long enough. If you want the details for how to do this, we built this template to help you plan it out. Thank us later!
41. Application of learning: Really, no one here knows how to put out an electrical fire? Ah, it’s because when you got your training last year that knowledge wasn’t applied and we forget 75% of new information if it isn't applied within six days. So, without actually starting a fire, of course, how can you make sure that training’s applied?
Tip: Discussing it with peers on your learning platform is a great start!
42. Resources to help create a productive environment: Are we living to work or working to live? Content that puts the employee's whole life in clear view will resonate. Get them to the weekend faster and well, does the word hero sound like a title you would like?
43. Connect learning opportunities to standard processes: Hosting a virtual company meeting? Using comms tools like THRIVE’s broadcast feature can drive organic utilization of the platform and ensure learners are continuously exposed to your learning content.
44. Provide on-going support after key learning initiatives: Think of a learning journey, not a learning pit stop. There’s always the next step.
45. Develop a growth mindset: Nurture a growth mindset from day one and your learners will never stop learning.
46. Measure and share the wider business impact: Improved time to productivity, reduced accident rates, improved key employee retention... Uh, tell me more! Your learners want to know what’s in it for them. So, tell them what you’ve achieved by taking part in a learning initiative. It’ll keep them going!
47. Test your knowledge: It doesn't have to resemble a thunderdome but testing your knowledge is a great way to ensure it sticks. Adding a quick quiz to a pathway is an easy way to help your learners ensure that what they just learned is going to be around in end-times.
48. Budget and budget assessment: "I was at this casino and put it all on skills and well..." Not a conversation you want to have with your CEO. Understand and diversify your bets. Not all roulette. Hit the slots too.
49. Check your L&D priorities: Only 4 in 10 respondents in an L&D survey identified preparing for the future as a high or top priority for their organization, and only 30% of respondents were confident in their ability to meet future skill needs.
50. Switch it up: This list is bonkers awesome but you know what, things change. Tik Tok is already five years old! So, remember to test out the new, switch it up and keep it fresh.
Information overload definitely wasn’t part of the list, but we wanted to pack in enough to keep you going through the year and beyond! I think you noticed that we also couldn’t help ourselves but mention THRIVE Learning and Skills Platform a couple of times. That’s because, well, it really does make your life easier when encouraging all these good learning habits. So, if we've managed to pique your interest, we’d love to speak to you about how we can help, you can even request a demo to see how to bring all of this to life.
Consistently brilliant. Often unsung. Support teams contribute so much to customer happiness, and at THRIVE, that’s never rung truer.
Ben Cooper Awards & PR Specialist
Innovation and inspiration
Evolving your skills strategy from top down to bottom up ⬆️
Cassie Gasson Chief Marketing Officer
Sumo scooped silver in 'Best Use of Digital Technologies' at the 2022 UK Employee Experience Awards.
Ben Cooper Awards & PR Specialist