Overcoming e-Learning Inertia: How to motivate IT employees to upskill?
By Arijit Banerjee
While investments in disruptive technologies such as cloud, AI and IoT are delivering significant benefits for businesses, including improved productivity, efficiency and reduced costs, it is important to remember that technology is only a tool. Its effectiveness depends on how successfully it is used, making upskilling an urgent priority. One would imagine that employees in a tech and innovation-driven sector such as IT would be open to adopting the e-learning format, but the reality is far from it. According to an online survey of about 400 IT professionals, 42% of employees give up after initiating to learn a new technology. The primary reason cited for this was lack of motivation to learn. This raises serious concerns for leaders on the readiness of their current crop of employees to navigate the technological revolution sweeping across industries.
So, how can IT organizations overcome their employee inertia towards e-learning to better prepare them and the organization for a successful future? Here are 4 ways to motivate your workers to adopt online learning programs more openly.
1. Make learning bite-sized and interactive
The whole point of having e-learning programs is to do away with the shortcomings of offline lecture-based formats of learning. Heavy content-based programs with a long series of questions can make your employees lose interest from the get-go. Instead, offer programs in a bite sized and more interactive format, of no more than 20 minutes, that can engage participants until the very end. Micro learning creates 50% more engagement and makes transfer of learning 17% more efficient. Clearly, easily digestible modules help employees learn quickly and better retain the information learnt during the sessions. Gamification is another way to engage IT specialists. Cisco is a great example of a company implementing gamification to successfully train more than 650 employees in over 13,000 courses.
2. Leverage online training to personalize the learning experience
The ability to customize training, at least on some levels, can be a powerful motivator to overcoming eLearning intertia. Tata Management Training Centre (TMTC), set up by the Tata group, has developed a democratized e-learning module for its employees. The company is able to make these sessions more cost and time-effective with the help of personalization. TMTC offers virtual learning sessions, some of which are offered via LIVE online sessions. Free from any location-restriction, these sessions are driven by a ‘self-paced’ approach. Tech-savvy employees can attend them from anywhere, at any time, and at their own pace, making these programs very popular and successful.
3. Align eLearning courses with your organizational goals and employee development plans
One of the major reasons why employees are not motivated enough to leverage e-learning programs is because they do not clearly understand the benefits of such programs. Train your managers to better explain the outcomes of such programs to individual employees and how it can help further their career goals. A leading example of a digitally-driven business that is able to motivate its IT professionals to tap into eLearning is Amazon. The e-commerce giant prepays 95% of the tuition for its employees to take a month-long training and leadership program offered prior to hiring. The company’s ‘Virtual Contact Center’ offers training in a ‘work from home’ format. These courses on trending topics are used to upskill and even empower employees to own the products and services they work on. The result: Amazon employees are able to clearly visualize a career path for themselves in the organization, leading to higher engagement with the learning process.
If you are looking to improve engagement of your IT employees with e-learning programs, take a leaf from At&T’s playbook. The company offers self-paced technical credentials called Nanodegrees that Make training more goal-oriented, measurable and multi-beneficial. And don’t forget to assess the effectiveness of your eLearning programs. Companies that maximize ROI on their e-learning programs are those that monitor their employees’ response to each online module and regularly measure their success at periodic time periods.