I’m not talking about creating a training course about employee engagement and happiness. I believe the training department can directly impact employee happiness and satisfaction by empowering employees to teach. And you need a cloud based LMS platform to do it.
Employee engagement is a hot topic. There’s a lot of data to support the steady decline of employee engagement across the board. Overall, you’ll discover that it has been dropping for several decades. And the keys to an engaged employee are well known. Some of the elements of the happy employee are; feeling valued, challenged, rewarded, and given freedom to experiment and even fail. This blog post is not about creating a course to improve engagement. It’s about providing the space and the opportunity to foster an environment that supports the elements of happiness.
The training department can do more to improve employee engagement than simply delivering courses. With an easy to use, cloud-based learning platform, the training department can empower employees to create and deliver their own training. For decades, training departments have been the gatekeepers of corporate training. And they should continue to be diligent in supporting compliance issues, and maintaining consistent messages delivered across the company. But supporting a learning culture is important too. And allowing employees freedom and access to create and share their knowledge as needed is a win win for everyone.
How Your LMS Can Improve Employee Engagement
Many employees get great satisfaction from sharing what they know, and collaborating with others. By empowering employees to create their own courses, you are addressing one of the main concerns of increasing employee engagement.
Traditionally, the training department is engaged when training needs to be delivered. Training teams are very good at creating and launching courses that support large corporate wide initiatives. This is often the case with enterprise wide rollouts of new strategies and initiatives. Employee engagement initiatives often include a training course for management on how to improve the engagement of their teams. But training departments can do more.
Give employees the ability to teach and create instructional content. Teach them to teach. Open up your LMS, and see what happens. You probably have employees already teaching others, and creating instructional content. You just don’t know about it because the business needs it faster than most training departments can deliver it. So they do it themselves.
Chief Learning Officers and Directors/Managers of training need to embrace the fact that there will never be enough time, money, and resources, for their training teams to get ALL the work done. Not only are there too many learning experiences that need to be created, but the existing courses need to be maintained, updated, and improved. Empowering employees to create and deliver training on their own is a win-win for everyone.
Open Content Creation Can Be Scary
Are you old enough to remember when only executives were allowed to have email accounts because rank and file employees couldn’t be trusted to stay focused on their jobs? And then the internet came along and leadership feared a complete and total breakdown of all productivity. They would say, “There is no way regular employees could handle getting their work done with the distractions of the world wide web.” I’ve heard the same concerns about wikis, blogs, and every other tech innovation over the last 20 years. Fear of the unknown is natural. But you’ll notice that all of these examples are now, for the most part, common place and an accepted part of the workplace.
The first thing to remember is that learning is occurring without you already. Employees share knowledge with each other all the time. As a matter of fact, most of the learning occurring in your company is NOT coming from the training department. Some even estimate over 90%. Sadly, that knowledge is rarely captured and those sharing the knowledge get little reward other than feeling good about helping a colleague. Giving your employees a platform to create, and officially be recognized, for their contributions makes everyone happy with little to no downside.
Is it possible that someone could create a course with content that is incorrect? Absolutely! But that same person is sharing that incorrect knowledge right now anyways. At least, through the course creation process, now you know about it and can correct it.
Not everyone will take the opportunity. But the ones that do will be happier. The ones that don’t do it may decide to try after hearing about the experiences of others. Change is hard and scary. But increasing your training output should make you and the execs you report too happier as well.
Think Differently About Your Training Department
This requires a mindset shift. You need to be okay with course quality being good enough…or even bad. Embrace an iterative process. Reward the fact that SOMETHING was done. Don’t criticize the outcome because it’s not what you believe is quality training and might reflect poorly on you. It’s perfectly okay to have your formal courses in one place, and “Employee Generated” courses listed in another. Technology can solve the issues you fear most, so let it.
Another benefit for you is increased data. The more training course content you have available, the more options your employees have to choose from. This gives you a larger data set on which to base decisions. If an employee creates a course that gets a lot of attention, you can use that data to make your case for more funding to improve and extend the topic of that course. No matter how good your instructional analysis is, you can’t get it 100% right every time. The wisdom of your employee base will add value to your analysis.
Everyone is both learner and teacher. Allowing your employee base to engage both sides of the equation will improve employee engagement and increase your department’s total output and impact on the business.
If your current LMS can’t do this for you, then check out a free trial of Litmos and see how easy it is.