Guidance Combined With Freedom
We all know the feeling that when something is mandatory many of us feel discouraged to do it simply because we must. On the other hand, when we have the freedom of choice and many possibilities we feel demotivated by having to search and filter a number of options. It is already a common phenomenon that an evening plan of watching a movie on Netflix often turns into endless browsing through all available titles, ending up exhausted from scrolling and simply not watching anything.
How We Unintentionally Cultivate Training Fatigue In Our Organizations
Sometimes this feeling of being overwhelmed can happen even in the corporate virtual training environment. Every company has a regular portion of mandatory training that all employees must undertake to keep up with company culture and strategy. Completely understandable and inevitable. Frankly, though the design of these courses is often quite appealing this usually does not engage employees enough to compensate for the fact that it’s mandatory . Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report shows that 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work .
Companies need to change it up and motivate workers to play an active part in organizational knowledge creation and their personal growth. By forcing your employees to participate in training when they do not identify with it or feel any valuable knowledge transfer is taking place, nor that it is adding value to their daily work, you might easily create training fatigue. Among other effects, training fatigue leads to a lack of motivation for continuous learning. Sure, some might argue that it’s up to every individual if they want to enhance personal development; nevertheless, every employer is no doubt seeking effective and best-in-class employees regardless of the industry.
How To Create A Training Balance Between Mandatory And Optional Learning
How to find a balance between continuously educating your employees on necessary topics, while keeping their hunger for learning intact? Beyond corporate mandatory training, many employers tend to collaborate with external providers to offer employees the possibility to participate in additional learning programs. However random, not-thought-through collaborations often lead to situations where the company offers too much training, not necessarily relevant for their employees—who are then demotivated by having to filter through them to potentially find a course of their interest. Therefore, before setting up a partnership with a third-party training provider it is important to keep in mind your L&D strategy, identify main areas of employees’ interest, and check the quality of the provider’s content in those fields. In an innovative work environment that cares about the professional development of its employees, it should be the employees who have the freedom to decide in which training by which provider they would like to take part. Being both idealistic and realistic, these choices should be aligned with the allocated resources for training purposes.
1. Try To Introduce A Mix And Match Approach
As an old proverb says, usually the golden middle way is the best way to balance between two extremes. The same applies to corporate training. In our case, the golden mean would be combining guidance with the freedom of choice. In other words, to foster a supportive and motivating learning culture at your organization, think about the following:
- Having a suite of mandatory courses combined with the possibility to sign up for courses of the employee’s choice.
- Navigating learners through the large pool of available trainings, by including an entry poll to identify every individual’s background and motivation. This should be an integral part of every company’s L&D policy as well as every open sourced learning platform.
- Helping employees to identify their strengths and areas for further improvement by conducting personal profile analysis and behavioral assessments.
- Formally dedicating a part of their working hours to training participation will make learning integral to the current daily workflow. Your employees would then find it easier to juggle training with their daily work activities.
By dedicating a specific percentage of the work schedule to training, you show the employees that continuous learning shouldn’t be neglected. In parallel, you are also demonstrating that you not only care about the numbers generated by your organization but also about the well-being and professional growth of your employees.
2. Motivation And Recognition Is The Key
Motivating your employees to actively take part in continuous learning is another tricky point, hard to manage or maintain. Nevertheless, given the new technologies and tools that digital education possesses, it is possible to cultivate an engaging learning environment in your company. Most important is recognition—showing your colleagues that their effort is seen and acknowledged! For starters, introducing basic gamification elements such as:
- Badges of participation
- Contests with regularly published leaderboards for specific departments and regions
could be a nice way to stimulate your learners and recognize high-performing employees. These days thanks to available EdTech tools it is relatively easy to deepen training personalization and attract learners’ attention in a painless way. In the end, it is not possible to teach new skills while using old tools.