Key Employee Needs That You Must Incorporate Into Your Learning Design

Key Employee Needs That You Must Incorporate Into Your Learning Design
Summary: To increase the effectiveness of training and achieve a better ROI, organizations must incorporate critical employee needs into their learning designs. In this article, I show you how you can successfully meet this mandate.

Employee Needs You Should Use In Your Learning Design

In the last 2-3 years, we have seen a significant shift that is impacting the way online training must be delivered.

Modern learners are moving away from traditional and prescriptive learning. For example,

  • They want the learning to be in sync with their lifestyles. The learning should be integrated seamlessly into their workday.
  • They understand the value of “continuous learning” and expect the L&D teams to provide this environment in the workplace. The content should be searchable and must be packaged to address specific needs and trigger the desired action.
  • They are not satisfied with the access to “learning pathways” but they need these to be highly personalized “career pathways.” The learners want learning designs and experiences to echo the way they access Google, Amazon or Netflix.

Essentially, they want the flexibility to get the right learning resources fast, easily and on-demand. They want access to the learning content and resources on the go, on their devices, and they do not want to log on to an LMS every time they have a need. Additionally, they want meaningful recommendations that keep them connected and encourage them to come back for more.

As a learning consultant, I see L&D teams feel challenged by this shift. As I see it, this is the new normal, and L&D teams must re-strategize to meet this mandate.

The crucial change is from a “push” based training that is mandated on an LMS to a flexible “pull” based training that aligns with learners’ lifestyle and workday.

The Next-Gen platforms, like the LXPs, are leading the way in offering this learning experience wherein the learners can define their own learning path. There are many other measures that you can adopt that will help you successfully meet this mandate. Let us begin this exercise by looking at the different perspectives from key stakeholders (L&D, business as well as employees). From this analysis, we will identify the critical employee needs that you need to incorporate into your learning design, and then, I list the possible approaches that will enable you to create effective and high-impact training.

The L&D Team’s Perspective

From the L&D perspective, their mandate is driven by Training Needs Analysis (TNA) and typically includes:

  • Trainings for upskilling
  • Trainings for reskilling
  • Cross-functional training
  • Training to fix an identified gap
  • Practice sessions to hone skills or for proficiency gain

To support the primary training, they also need to provide for:

  • Just-In-Time learning aids that are available in the learners’ workflow (so that they do not need to go to the LMS) and can be easily accessed at the time of their need.
  • Reinforcements to avoid the “forgetting curve” setting in.
  • Challenges that push learners and act as nudges to review, refresh, or practice.
  • Other supporting measures like coaching and mentoring.

Increasingly, they are adding measures that can foster a culture of continuous learning and these include:

  • Leveraging on platforms for social or collaborative learning.
  • Offering curated content to ensure learners explore and keep coming back for more.
  • Encouraging learners to upload content (User-Generated Content).

The Business Unit’s Perspective

The business unit looks at the training investment as a key measure to ensure that their teams are well-equipped to meet business goals.

They want to see the investment of time and money spent on training results in a demonstrable gain, most notably on:

  • Acquisition of new skills
  • Enhanced skills (performance improvement)
  • Application of the acquired learning on the job
  • Behavioral change
  • Self-directed learning

However, their crucial need is to see:

  • The alignment of employee skills to meet the business KPIs.
  • The ability to measure the impact of training on employee performance as well as on the business.

The Employees’ Perspective And Their Critical Needs

The employees want organizations to provide:

  • Training on-the-go.
  • Training on-demand.
  • Varied design formats to address the diverse expectations of today’s multi-generational workforce.
  • The flexibility to consume training on the device of their choice and be able to move seamlessly across devices to complete it.
  • Content that is sharp and focused and can be consumed in short bites.
  • Options to “pull” content based on their needs, aspirations, or interests rather than mandated courses on an LMS.
  • Controls to decide the quantum of time that learners choose to invest in the training and what works best with the learners.

They want learning designs that are:

  • Accessible
  • Available on demand
  • Available within their workflow
  • Motivating
  • Engaging and immersive
  • Relevant, relatable, and personalized
  • Intriguing, and that encourage them to explore and come back for more
  • Challenging
  • Rewarding

To meet the employee needs, you should adopt learning designs that:

  1. Boost learner engagement.
  2. Ensure knowledge acquisition happens.
  3. Facilitate the application of the acquired learning on the job.
  4. Guarantee the desired performance gain and make sure that ROI occurs.
  5. Certify a positive ROI on training.

How Can You Accomplish This?

Here are my recommendations that will address the needs of all three stakeholders and also ensure that the critical employee needs are fully met. I have layered them into 3 steps that you can build on from one to the next.

Step 1: Opt for training delivery approaches that help learners learn. More specifically, add approaches that enable them to apply this learning to show better performance or the desired behavioral change.

These should include:

  1. Mobile learning
  2. Digitalization of ILT (to blended or fully online)
  3. Performance support tools
  4. Informal learning
  5. Social learning
  6. Self-directed learning

Step 2: Leverage learning strategies that have a proven track record of delivering a high engagement quotient and can create a sticky learning experience. Integrate some of the new or emerging ones to meet your employee needs and create highly immersive learning designs.

Some of my recommendations are:

  1. Microlearning
  2. Gamification
  3. Video-Based learning (videos and interactive videos)
  4. Mobile apps for learning
  5. Personalization
  6. Curation and User-Generated Content
  7. AR/VR and MR for immersive learning

Step 3: Invest in tools and platforms to measure, enhance, and maximize the impact of their training.

These could include:

  1. Learning Engagement Platforms - LXP
  2. Learner analytics
  3. Big Data-reporting and analytics
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in learning

I hope this article provides useful insights into your employee’s needs and how you can incorporate them into your learning designs. My inputs will certainly help you create and deliver training that addresses employee needs and will also help you show demonstrable gain that business units seek. The overall impact will be reflected in creating a more engaged team and you will see your ROI on training spend improve.

If you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.

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