Few of us were prepared for the changes 2020 brought to the working world. Though most workplaces were running on digital tools and digital communication, few had the infrastructure to sustain long-term work-from-home or hybrid work schedules. Now companies have begun to reimagine how their offices operate and what a post-pandemic future will look like.
Value systems have changed and companies are focusing on one key factor: employee satisfaction. While the volatile business market caused company leaders to reevaluate their finances, business structure, and perhaps even overall sales strategy, it has most affected how company leaders understand the lives, habits, and needs of their employees.
This new value system has transformed how we do business, but in many ways, it has changed us for the better. And while no one could have predicted or prepared for the challenges and stressors of the pandemic year-plus, we can predict and prepare for the challenges ahead as we re-evaluate our habits, both corporately and personally. Investing in learning and development (L&D) is the best way companies can prepare for the changes and challenges coming in the next year. Utilizing digital-first training tools and a comprehensive workforce learning strategy, companies can facilitate employee engagement and retention, and build better futures for their team members and the company as a whole.
Set Employees Up for Success with Flexible Digital Tools
With the advent of 2022, most companies have determined whether they’ll continue with remote, hybrid, or in-office work this side of the pandemic. Even still, companies should consider how they can set their employees up for success regardless of their office (or home-office) location. Digital tools can support companies as they make these transitions to new work styles, or as they revitalize their pre-pandemic workstyles for greater efficiency, productivity, and overall employee satisfaction.
Whether your company is hiring droves of new employees or has retained a solid set of existing employees through the pandemic, this is an opportune time to train or retrain team members. Digital learning tools can maximize productivity and streamline the process so employees can learn in any environment, at their own pace, and for their own benefit. Companies that invest in digital learning management system (LMS) tools and implement effective training and messaging strategies will see growth at all levels as employees, leaders, and even board members and customers because they all will share a unified vision, strategy, and understanding. Companies should invest in digital learning management systems because they will yield the greatest reward: flexibility. Mobile-friendly, intuitive platforms that integrate with common workplace apps (such as Slack, Salesforce, or Microsoft Teams) will prove their value for years to come as companies shift, grow, and adapt to post-pandemic life.
Offer Opportunities in Upskilling
Show employees that you want to invest in their whole career by offering opportunities for upskilling. This goes much further than initial onboarding or updated certifications. Upskilling can be a key strategy for companies looking to boost their employee retention rates because it shows employees the company wants to invest in them beyond their 9-to-5 hours every day. Companies investing in learning and development should look beyond typical onboarding courses and consider what additional learning opportunities they can offer employees, such as leadership training or an upper-level certification that boosts their title to the next level.
One study by the Harvard Business Review indicated that 82 percent of employees and 62 percent of HR directors believe workers need to upskill every year in order to stay competitive in their fields. Even further, McKinsey reported that a factor in employee satisfaction is whether or not they believe there is an opportunity for advancement in their fields.
If we learned anything in the last year-plus, it’s that employees have immense value, and their individual success impacts the success of a company as a whole. As we move out of pandemic-era volatility and into greater stability, investing in employee retention (and overall satisfaction) by offering opportunities for upskilling is a practical first step toward future-proofing.
Create a Collaborative Work Environment Using Engaging Digital Tools
Cultivating a healthy, engaged, and collaborative work environment proved challenging during the pandemic and, perhaps even more challenging, as we’ve returned to a state of semi-normal. Some companies have maintained monthly virtual events, while others have foregone them as they returned to their previous work schedules. But collaboration and interaction are the keys to individual and corporate success in the coming years. It’s all because companies have recognized that workplace culture affects company outcomes.
Investing in work culture can feel like a theoretical, somewhat impractical idea. Of course, every leader wants employees to thrive, to enjoy their work, to feel a sense of belonging—but those are feelings, and they are deeply personal. How can companies make those intangible elements, that positive culture, a tangible investment? Corporate training and development is the practical, straightforward answer to the question of workplace culture. Companies can implement tangible, active steps that ensure collaboration across teams, communication within departments, and positive interactions between individuals.
Learning and development can be used to cultivate workplace engagement in two ways: in the actual manner that employees learn, and with what is taught. Companies must choose learning tools that promote engagement, whether with in-app messaging or interactive lesson plans that employees can discuss with other team members. This could take the form of videoconferencing or even gamification capabilities so employees can learn alongside their peers and engage in healthy competition. Second, companies can cultivate workplace engagement through learning and development by offering courses related to workplace communication, productivity tips, even health or work-life balance training and development.
Invest in Your People and Their Futures
To make a company fit for the future, you must invest in employee development. And to invest in employee development, you must have the right tools. Successful L&D strategies are supported and sustained by digital LMS platforms that offer flexibility, customization, interaction, and the ability to facilitate engagement. We can’t predict the whole future of business, but we have learned that investing in people and their futures is the thread that sustains healthy companies. Invest in employee training, LMS platforms, and digital learning strategy as you look toward the future. Continued learning is the key to our success, now and in the years to come.