You know the value of having knowledgeable, skilled employees as business professionals. Your employees’ expertise makes them good at their jobs, and confidence in their abilities yields a more positive and productive work environment.
However, employees don’t always feel prosperous or secure in their roles. As your organization’s industry adapts and changes with technological advancements, employees’ skills and knowledge also need to evolve. In these situations, your business’s responsibility is to implement workplace training that can get employees up to speed with the skills required for their roles.
Fortunately, courses like micro-credentials, a young instruction design trend, can help fill in the gaps in your employees’ core education and what they’ve learned with your organization. In this guide to using micro-credentials in your organization, we’ll cover:
- Microcredentials Basics
- How to Use Microcredentials in Your Organization
- Benefits of Using Microcredentials
Not only are micro-credentials highly effective for your employees’ learning, and they can be more affordable than other training resources like extensive workshops. Let’s get started with a breakdown of what these courses are.
Microcredentials are short, stackable courses individuals can take to learn specific skills. Unlike traditional credentials such as college degrees, these courses don’t require admission to a university, technical school, or other educational institution. Microcredentials are also much cheaper than paying tuition at a traditional college.
Microcredentials tend to be hyperspecific in their focus, especially compared to a college degree. Let’s say an employee at your organization feels like their range of skills is becoming outdated. Your organization can work with a service to create a customized micro-credential course in anything from data analytics to graphic design.
How to Use Microcredentials in Your Organization
Cultivate an environment that promotes continuous learning.
Almost every industry or specialization experiences change over time. Most industries constantly change due to technological advances, economic and social influences, or other external factors. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic forced industries around the globe to take their operations online.
These ongoing developments mean that your organization must remain flexible and willing to adapt. One of the ways you can ensure that your organization stays on top of current trends is to encourage continuous learning. A workplace culture that encourages continuous learning motivates employees to maintain cutting-edge knowledge and skill sets within your industry.
Your organization can work to build an environment that pushes for continuous learning in many ways, including:
- Create a library of open educational resources.
- Schedule meetings between new hires and knowledgeable mentors.
- Build micro-credential courses for your employees.
Avoid becoming out of touch with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in your industry. Inadequate, outdated training can lead to low productivity, employee dissatisfaction, and even loss of customers. Instead, encourage your employees to stay on top of the trends and expertise they should keep in their toolkits with continuing education opportunities.
Improve and update onboarding materials.
Regarding training, your organization’s onboarding materials are one of the most critical focus areas. Your onboarding process should provide all new hires the resources they need to perform highly in their role. While employees should work to improve and build their skills as time in their role goes on, onboarding materials provide the foundation for this.
One way your organization can help set employees up for success is to update existing onboarding materials. Audit your current onboarding process by reviewing it with team leaders and asking new hires for honest feedback on the process. If you find gaps in your onboarding materials, the training has weak areas, or it needs a significant overhaul, micro-credentials could help improve the quality of your onboarding.
While various micro-credential courses online could fit your organization’s onboarding needs, why not take it a step further and create your own? With a custom micro-credential course, your employees will get a course tailored to teach them the skills and knowledge they need to perform highly.
Meet legal requirements with micro-credentials.
Many industries require employees to complete additional training hours to comply with legal mandates regularly. In cases like these, it’s extremely important to have high-quality educational resources, mainly when the safety and well-being of your employees and customers are on the line.
While many fields require additional training or testing regularly, some of the most common professions include:
- Physicians and nurses
Depending on your organization’s industry, there may already be required courses in place for your employees. However, sometimes training culminates in an assessment that the provided learning materials don’t prepare test-takers. Microcredentials can be a good way to both deliver the knowledge your employees need and prepare them for the testing itself — for example; you could have them take a course that teaches the best test-taking strategies.
A proven instructional design method can help make your courses more effective for learners. For example, Skyepack’s Agile Instructional Design method holds benefits like prioritizing the learner and encouraging collaboration among your team members. When relying on learning materials to keep your employees legally compliant, it will likely be best to use a service that knows how to make learning more effective.
Benefits of Using Microcredentials
Increased employee retention.
For starters, low retention can hurt your organization’s bottom line. Retaining current employees is much less expensive than hiring new ones to replace them, as new hires often need new equipment and extensive training. Onboarding and giving new employees time to learn the ropes can also reduce your organization’s productivity levels — a new employee might take an hour to complete a task that a seasoned staff member could do in 20 minutes.
Investing in your employees’ continued education and career development with micro-credentials can increase retention rates because:
- Employees will feel happier and more competent in their roles.
- They will feel valued as a part of the team because their employer is choosing to invest in them.
- They will feel more motivated because they have an opportunity to advance their skills and career.
- They feel like they have a reciprocal relationship with their employer because they receive benefits like paid learning opportunities in return for their hard work.
Increased employee retention rates save your organization money over time and help build a positive workplace culture. Investing in your employees shows them that you value their contributions and career development.
Improved compensation plan.
Within the past few years, many employers have faced significant employee shortages. While there are many reasons for this, including issues like the COVID-19 pandemic and economic hardships, the Great Resignation had a significant impact. Over the past few years, this trend of mass resignations arose as a response to factors like climbing inflation rates, stagnant wages, and frustration with workplace conditions.
To combat these issues within your organization, consider your compensation plan. Is it competitive? Does it hold up to the ongoing shifts in the economy? If not, consider sweetening the deal for prospective and current employees.
Improving your compensation plan doesn’t always mean you need to increase salaries across the board. For example, Astron Solutions recommends a “total rewards approach,” meaning that your organization should focus on creating a comprehensive compensation plan that has more than just a great salary. Implementing continuing education opportunities like micro-credentials can bolster your compensation package’s offerings.
Micro-credentials are a great, cost-effective way to add value to your compensation plan. Remember that prospective employees and current employees scrutinize more than just salary. In today’s labor market, it’s more important than ever to exceed their expectations regarding compensation.
More skilled employees.
With micro-credential courses, your organization can help employees add new skills to their resumes. Best of all, these skills are tailored to your field and their specific roles, meaning they can get more out of each course.
While having more skilled employees is an obvious benefit to providing micro-credential courses, the perks of expanding their skill sets go beyond increased productivity:
- Become more self-sufficient as an organization. Your organization can complete more in-house activities with employees with access to continuing education opportunities. For example, if one of your employees develops their graphic design skills with a micro-credential course, your organization can cut back on using external graphic design services.
- Cultivate high-achieving employees. Employees with increased knowledge and abilities tend to feel more empowered in their roles. They will build the confidence to take on new challenges and responsibilities they may not have considered before earning their micro-credential.
- Expand your client-facing offerings. With micro-credential courses under their belt, your employees could offer your organization new services or even build a new department. This increases the range of services you can offer your clients, boosting your organization’s market value.
These benefits can give your organization the boost it needs to reach ambitious goals and expand in new ways. Motivate your employees to go the extra mile in their roles by helping them develop their skills and confidence in the role.
Whether your organization is working to retain employees, struggling to fill out its compensation package, or looking to expand its offerings, continuing education opportunities like micro-credentials could help you reach these goals. No matter how you choose to incorporate micro-credentials into your organization, these short courses can significantly impact your organization’s bottom line, workplace culture, and employee satisfaction.