Business Uncertainty – 5 eLearning Categories For Continuous Professional Development
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How eLearning Can Offer Continuous Professional Development And Help Employees With Business Uncertainty

Two topical examples are the impact of the US presidential election and the ongoing implications of Brexit. Both campaigns had long, drawn-out, and often very critical and derisive elements. Both campaigns have divided national opinion. Both campaigns had surprising results which defied predictations and expectations. Both campaigns have created a significant amount of business turbulence and business uncertainty around the world. So how should businesses react, what should they do? What is the best way to react to uncertainty? Any business, small, medium, or large, needs to try and predict their business horizon and then appropriately plan for it. There are many top line and established methods to do this in terms of forecasting, budgeting, strategic review, and so on. Whilst these are often appropriate and required, nevertheless, they often tie up significant management time and effort. eLearning can help in some obvious and some not so obvious ways. One of the most obvious ways in which companies react to unexpected events and uncertainty is to cut costs. Companies generally recognize the value of Continuous Professional Development (CPD), whether it is on-the-job learning, formal courses, more flexible eLearning options or, indeed, a blended approach.

However, in stagnating or uncertain business conditions, Continuous Professional Development is often one of the first areas to have its budget frozen or cut. eLearning provides an excellent cost-effective solution to maintain Continuous Professional Development during difficult times so that ongoing personnel development is not compromised.

1. Office IT Skills

It may seem strange to suggest developing these as a good cost-effective reaction to uncertainty. However, it might, for example, be the maintenance of standards of commonly used business programs such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Improving understanding as well as developing learning tips and shortcuts should help employees become more efficient and more productive. eLearning really lends itself to such topics allowing employees to learn at their own pace and master a technique before moving onto the next one. Greater confidence in day-to-day tasks helps with employee resilience, motivation and ability to manage change.

2. Business Forecasting And Risk Management

Alternatively, there are more in-depth courses available, designed to replicate the feel of a longer workshop, but again with financial and time advantages versus classroom training. Examples might include Management of Risk, Project Management, Finance for Non-Finance Managers and so on. Such courses can help develop a broader understanding among employees enabling them to better plan for and manage business uncertainty.

3. Soft Skills

Some soft skills, such as sales and marketing knowledge can have direct impact in mitigating the effects of difficult market conditions. Sales (and marketing) skills development can often require more direct classroom or on-the-job interaction such as role play. However, eLearning courses can provide a great platform to introduce new ideas, techniques, and best practices as well as encourage employees to actually take the time to think and plan.

4. Languages

Learning a new language may not seem an obvious response to business adversity or uncertainty, but for companies dealing with Europe, perhaps Brexit provides a timely stimulus. It is unlikely that an employee is going to become a language expert through eLearning. However, a basic level of introductory conversation demonstrates a willingness and commitment which could be appealing to potential customers and provide them with some reassurance and the company with a point of difference.

5. HR

Often less thought about, business uncertainty can also have a direct impact on employee satisfaction, engagement and commitment. When people are unsettled, this can affect their concentration and output. There is a more well-known selection of HR eLearning focused on managing employees, grievances, and so on. However, there is also eLearning focused on change management and coping with business uncertainty which is available for companies to use in managing unexpected business situations and change.

In summary, business uncertainty can lead to reservations and caution with companies putting employee training  on hold as a protective step. Given the strategic importance of employees and their performance within an organization, this can be damaging. eLearning provides a great platform to maintain Continuous Professional Development during difficult periods and to explore and implement new programs to help improve performance and even benefit from uncertainty.

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