TWO EXPERTS DISCUSS THE IMPACT OF CONSUMER APPLICATIONS ON ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE, AND HOW LEARNING LEADERS CAN LEVERAGE THE CONCEPT. 

BY JERRY ROCHE

It's a new day in the field of corporate e-learning. Improving employee engagement, personalizing learning and improving leadership skills are now the top drivers for investing in learning today, according to the 2015 E-learning User Study conducted by Elearning! magazine. 

An industry pioneer is offering learning leaders a single strategy for improving engagement and personalizing learning options that can be applied across all types of content — including leadership training. 

'We say it with a touch of irony, but the idea behind the following phrase is very real and already proven,' says Chip Ramsey, CeO of Intellum. 'You have to consumerize the enterprise.' 

THe ANSWER LIES IN THE APPS 

When we look at the trends associated with the meteoric rise in the consumer adoption of application software, when we dig into why we all seem to gravitate toward the same applications in our personal lives, four key points of interest emerge, according to Ramsey and Intellum co-founder Matt Gilley:

 1They are mobile. The amount of time spent with digital media on mobile devices surpassed desktop usage last year and is continuing to climb.

2They offer high-quality user experiences. According to a recent report from Forrester Research, on average, we spend more than 80 percent of our mobile time using just five apps. To retain our lucrative attention, the consumer market demands these apps consistently deliver a great experience. 

3They are hyper-focused. The most popular apps exist for a very specific purpose — to share photos, to listen to music, to take notes, or even to 'knock down buildings with birds.' 

4They value the power of design. The applications that succeed in delivering a 'must-have' user experience share common traits: thoughtful, purposeful, elegant design. 

So what do the common attributes of the most successful consumer apps have to do with the recently identified hot buttons driving learning investments? 

'If the best consumer apps can secure a lion's share of our total mobile engagement, if they can succeed at presenting a daily news feed tailored to our individual interests, if they can be used to significantly boost productivity,' says Ramsey, 'we should apply the same approach to developing learning tools that can, for example, address the issues identified in the E-learning User Study — tools that can drastically improve employee engagement and that allow companies to offer personalized learning experiences, even when focused on a specific topic like improving leadership skills.'

EXPERIENCE, INNOVATION, INSPIRATION

Intellum was founded in 2000, providing an early software platform for learning and training. By 2004, the company had fully developed the first iteration of its flagship product, the exceed LMS. In 2014, it launched Tribe Social, a private activity stream, a video app called Reels, and a performance tracking app called Level, currently in beta. 

'We have witnessed multiple transformations in the learning industry and have always prided ourselves on staying ahead of the curve,' says Ramsey. 

His team believes that learning, social collaboration and performance tools should be as powerful, enjoyable and easyto-use as the consumer applications we rely on every day. 

'I think the only way you can stay informed and understand where the learning technology market is headed is to understand how people use technology in their personal lives,' says Ramsey. 'Playing with Instagram and Snapchat, checking out the Fitbit app, looking at how content is shared on Reddit — these exercises all provide a great deal of insight. Consumer apps have been born out of fierce competition for peoples' precious time and in many cases have evolved into highly valuable and engaging experiences. This is where we look for inspiration, and the result is evident across all of our tools.'

IN THE REAL WORLD

When AT&T's Aio Wireless merged with Cricket Wireless in March of 2014, the new company wanted to provide its learners a consumer-like experience. 

'With 20,000 employees, contractors and merger-related personnel in the mix, there was a plethora of Cricket communication needs, ranging from corporate updates to sales promotions to breaking news on network outages,' observes Gilley. 'Cricket realized that email was not going to cut it. The company needed a communication tool that allowed it to touch employees in real time, while encouraging and supporting employee participation as well.' enter Tribe Social. 

'We rapidly got this large audience up and running on Tribe, and users immediately found the tool familiar, like the other social networking tools they use everyday,' notes Ramsey. 'As a result, teams were communicating instantly, engaged, sharing merger-related information and even crowd-sourcing support issues. The new tool played a crucial role in what would prove to be a very successful merger.' 

AdvancePierre Foods is a $1.5 billion food processing company and the No.1 maker of sandwiches in the U.S. Leveraging Intellum's exceed LMS and Tribe Social, AdvancePierre conceptualized a theme for its overarching learning environment that cleverly played off the company's position in the food processing and manufacturing industry. They call it 'The Learning Cafe.' 

Imagine a cafe chalkboard menu, divided into two main sections: entrees and Á La Carte. This is the visual AdvancePierre associates encounter when they log into the learning environment. Mimicking the cafe menu, entrees include leadership courses, foundational courses on things every AdvancePierre employee should know, elective courses and 'monthly specials,' which allow the company to push out time-sensitive and relevant content. The Á La Carte portion of the menu leads to the entire AdvancePierre training library and personal development resources. It also includes the Virtual Coffee Break, 'which allows the company to create a dialogue where associates can discuss courses they've taken or articles and books they've read,' says Gilley. 'In a way, it becomes a more modern version of the proverbial office water cooler.' 

Waffle House, known for 'Good Food Fast,' may soon be known for 'Bitesized Content Quickly.' Like many other companies, Waffle House recently began moving toward shorter segments of content throughout its learning environment. One goal was to find a way to deliver bite-sized videos that better aligned with how its employees create and consume certain types of information in their personal lives. 

While the exceed LMS seamlessly handles a wide variety of training and learning video, the team leveraged Reels, its private YouTube-like video platform, to help Waffle House open up the way this specific content is created and shared.

 'Imagine that a location's freezer, or 'chiller,' suddenly goes down,' says Gilley. 'A Waffle House maintenance expert can go to that restaurant, shoot a two-minute video on his mobile device detailing how to reset a chiller, and upload the video to Reels. In the future, if a chiller in another restaurant goes out, other Waffle House maintenance team members can open Reels, search for 'chiller' and have immediate access to that same video.' 

Waffle House employees have created more than 1,000 videos inside their Reels environment since the launch of the tool — and it has been a huge collaborative success. 

'This is no different from how we create and share video in our personal lives,' says Ramsey. 'But the traditional learning systems are top down and do not allow the actual users to create and share content. So all of the knowledge that resides in your employees remains locked up. You should be striving to develop a culture and secure the tools that allow your users to create and share this incredibly valuable knowledge.'

FROM SWOLLEN TO SKINNY

Today, many learning ecosystems are closed; managed by a traditional LMS and linked to an HRIS system of record. So how does the learning leader attempt to move to an 'app for that' environment without disrupting the underlying enterprise systems? 

'We started thinking about this five years ago and noticed that the tendency of enterprise apps, even our own, is to get into a features arms race,' says Ramsey. 'Bloated and monolithic seems to be the natural progression in the enterprise space. To fix that, we built a platform that would allow us to add features without adding bloat. Social, for example, is a stand-alone app for us. 

'We can then leverage the platform to create a single sign-on experience that is similar to Facebook Connect or Google Login. This allows users to access all the applications with one login. The apps all work together, utilizing each other's functionality and data. This approach provides the same benefits touted by more traditional, all-in-one enterprise solutions without all the bloat.' 

For example: 

>> You could have your CRM recommended courses in your LMS.

>> You could have your LMS announce the addition of a new course in your social tool. 

>> You could have your social activities fed into your performance tool as part of an engagement score. 

'When smaller, more consumer-like enterprise apps are really working together, you can even choose which apps work best for you, like we do with apps on our phones,' says Ramsey. 'It removes the necessity of locking yourself into a single provider. That's consumerizing the enterprise.'

Published in Top Stories

Vubiz’s new e-learning course is titled “Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action for Managers and Supervisors in the United States.”

It helps companies comply with government regulations. All companies that hold federal government contracts and subcontracts are required to comply with U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regulations. Failure to comply could result in significant fines and lost government contracts, or suspension of a current contract.

This course reportedly increases awareness and helps companies stay in compliance, given the risks and active government enforcement. It also helps managers comply by giving an introduction to EEO and AA requirements and an understanding of practices that help with compliance.

This one hour elearning module is available now.

—More info: www.vubiz.com

Published in New Products

 

With Namely, you can onboard new employees, set goals, conduct performance reviews, and give recognition for great work. Namely is designed to help growing companies manage their most important asset: their people. Here are the product’s features:

>>Onboarding: With Namely, you can engage your new employees from the get-go, import all of their documentation, and welcome them on your company feed.

>> Cascading Goals: Align employee goals to team and company goals. Track progress, make notes, and show people how they impact your company's mission.

>> 360° Performance Reviews: Get the full picture on your employees' performance. Namely manages your entire performance review cycle to help improve individual and company results.

>> Competencies: Competencies are a critical component of many companies' performance management processes. Use competencies in Namely for skill assessment and succession planning to cultivate and identify leaders.

—More info: www.namely.com/talent

 

Published in New Products

Don’t want to get left behind? View your employees as consumers, and introduce new organizational possibilities.

By Jerry Roche

There has been a lot said and a lot written — in this magazine and elsewhere — about the “consumerization” of learning. But knowing the definition without knowing its business applications is like being a carpenter who has a pocketful of nails but no hammer.

Let’s start by finding the most learning-specific definition of consumerization possible. Here’s the perfect reference, from Gartner — the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company: Consumerization is the specific impact that consumer-originated technologies can have on enterprises. It reflects how enterprises will be affected by, and can take advantage of, new technologies and models that originate and develop in the consumer space, rather than in the enterprise I.T. sector. Consumerization is not a strategy or something to be ‘adopted.’ Consumerization can be embraced and it must be dealt with — but it cannot be stopped.

Consumerization is impacting you and your company, whether your realize it or not. As people have access to better technology, the lines between work and life are becoming more blurred. How and where people work and the new technology they use to get things done are changing. So, as learning is further consumerized, you and your employees will have to adapt to those changes.

Rather than viewing learning as a singular, isolated activity on a talent management wheel, John Ambrose, a senior vice president at Skillsoft, says organizations need interactive tools that make learning a consumerized experience as inviting as Amazon or Netflix: “The final mile is to create rich, dynamic experiences for learners, including the many different forms of learning that occurs outside of [a course in a learning management system]."

Much of the impetus to adopt consumerized learning comes from younger, computer- savvy workers. And by 2020, Millennials will comprise 50 percent of the domestic workforce. Fifteen percent of them will work for someone at least 10 years younger. Those trends will force work to be more open, collaborative and social. Gamification, interactive learning experiences, and the growing number of social media elements in performance and learning management indicate that the technology employees expect to find in the workplace is evolving.

THE ‘HOWS’

In today’s world, according to Wayne McCulloch of Salesforce University and Walter Rogers of CloudCoaching International, “learning needs to be woven into the fabric of what employees are doing, not necessarily as a separate activity. Elements of consumer technologies — like social media, gamification and mobile — are integral.”

Five current trends can enable your enterprise to further consumerize your learning:

1 Mobile learning: Just 10 short years ago, nobody would have imagined the possibilities of mobile learning. But with the introduction of smartphones, it has become not only possible but pervasive. If employees can learn new job skills or knowledge wherever and whenever they want, they have the potential to further integrate learning and work with their home life — and vice versa.

2 Social collaboration: By 2016, 50 percent of large organizations will have internal Facebook-like social networks, and 30 percent of these will be considered as essential as email and telephones. “The popularity and effectiveness of social networking sites as a group communication tool among consumers is prompting organizations as well as individual employees to ask whether similar technologies can be deployed privately,” says Nikos Drakos, research director at Gartner. “There is increasing interest for using social technologies within organizations to connect people more effectively, to capture and re-use valuable informal knowledge, and to deliver relevant information more intelligently where it is needed through social filtering.”

3 BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): Granted, BYOD is a disruptive phenomenon. But managing growing workforce expectations around mobility can further integrate employee work life and home life. Your employees use many devices, and they expect to use any device or application anytime, anywhere.

4 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses): These courses promote unlimited participation and open access via the Web. MOOCs — first introduced in 2008, emerged as a popular mode of learning in 2012 — further enable employees to integrate their work lives and home lives.

5 Independent contractors: As a company gets “flatter,” use of experts, contractors and consultants become more the norm. If the needs and wants of an organization can be perfectly matched with the products and/or services of an independent contractor, both the organization and the contractor can profit.

In today’s world, according to McCulloch and Rogers, “learning needs to be woven into the fabric of what employees are doing, not necessarily as a separate activity. There will always be a need for classroom, focused learning, particularly around formal recognition (like certification). The only true competitive advantage employees and employers have is the ability to learn and then apply that learning for success.”

Algorithms And Analytics

Forward-thinking corporations can take a hint from some of the most popular technological advances that are today being offered to consumers. Services like Yelp, Netflix, Kickstarter and even Match.com can have productive and profitable business applications.

YELP is a peer-group rating system with 138 million monthly users who post 61 million reviews and ratings.

Corporations have begun using this kind of technology for projects that are enhanced by initiatives utilizing crowd- sourcing. Just think about how employees are currently working on projects. Even on an individual basis, group ratings can be instrumental in helping solve problems, and they give other employees the opportunity to congratulate a peer on a “job well done.”

With this technology, an HR director can also make performance reviews very dynamic on a yearly, quarterly or even project-to-project basis. Potentially, a company can ultimately get all the “star-system” ratings incorporated into one rating for a particular employee or contractor.

NETFLIX, the motion picture and TV show “smart” service is what’s called a “conscious delivery mechanism.” It’s used by 44 million subscribers.

Because subscribers can comment on what they watch, it’s also has an extremely social component. And the system itself can also make recommendations based on an individual’s viewing habits.

The algorithms that drive Netflix are the same kind of algorithms that can drive career-development components of a learning or talent system. Employees interested in adding to their education can get courses or MOOCs tailored to their new-found interests. Such a system could also recommend other courses that are pertinent to what that employee needs to get to the next level.

One other benefit of this type of technology is that it is a perfect vehicle for making peer and social recommendations (“I loved this class,” “I hated this class,” “Take this class instead”).

KICKSTARTER is a technology that provides revenue crowd-sourcing for unfunded or under-funded but otherwise worthwhile and/or popular projects.

So far, Kickstarter has provided more than 70,000 projects with $1.3 billion worth of funding. And Kickstarter projects not only potentially repay with interest, but the technology allows for a reward system (for instance, a red carpet pass to a movie opening that has been produced with Kickstarter funds).

In the enterprise, you might have a project for which volunteers are needed. The project itself might help those volunteers skill-build and can provide rewards by participating in the project.

One of this magazine’s Learning! 100 companies is an interesting example. Its global leadership development program builds teams of managers from all over the organization who don’t even know each other. The teams are charged with recommending new corporate initiatives. At the end of the project, instructors and managers vote for the program that has the most business impact, and that program is actually funded by the enterprise. This particular Learning! 100 company had two business lines for 50 years; as of this year, it has five business lines. It was this kind of approach that helped the company jump-start new ideas.

MATCH.COM is an online dating site. Surprisingly, 17 percent of all marriages are results of online dating sites.

The assumption is that if you can find your life partner with Match.com, why can’t a company use the same algorithms to find the next great candidate or the next great employee?

Even more than that, enterprises are using Match.com-style algorithms for internal purposes.

Employees who are very knowledgeable but on the cusp of retirement are mentoring employees who want that ame career path in virtual e-spaces instead of being in the same office. The HR Department matches up these players, based on personnel profiles.

These types of algorithms also come in handy for individual projects. An example could be selecting an LMS. There are within a 50,000-employee organization maybe five or ten people who might have that expertise. But when the responsible manager has to select an LMS for the first time, having access to pertinent employee profiles — with experiences and ratings — can identify who he or she can reach out to, in order to assist in that project. Some forward-thinkers in the learning profession even envision that, some day, employees, contractors and board members will help vote for the next CEO.

Where’s It All Heading?

All these new consumerizing technologies are really applying pressures on learning professionals to keep up. Organizations will have to figure out where they are and where and what they want to be. Because all the behaviors and practices in the consumer space are now driving new learning technologies.

 

Published in Top Stories

E-learning could help prepare more health-care professionals, according to a recent review of research projects carried out by Imperial CollegeLondon by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.).

More than 100 studies found that undergraduate students acquired knowledge and skills through computer-based e-learning (CBL) as well as - or better than - they do through traditional teaching.

Eleven of 33 studies demonstrated statistically significant knowledge gains for students engaged in CBL methods. Eight of 13 studies found a statistically significant difference in skill acquisition favoring the participants allocated to the CBL group. And five of 12 studies found more favorable attitudes among CBL group students. There was also found to be statistically significant knowledge gains for students using 3-D enhanced visual aids compared to students using standard 2-D.

The report concludes, "Information and communication technology (ICT)…called e-learning or blended learning…offers promising new modes for the delivery of education."

The report, edited by Najeeb Al-Shorbaji, Rifat Atun, Josip Car, Azeem Majeed, Erica Wheeler, with 31 contributors from around the globe, is titled "E-learning for Undergraduate Health Professional Education."

—Full report: http://whoeducationguidelines.org/sites/default/files/uploads/eLearning-healthprof-report.pdf 

Published in Latest News

E-learning has grown in complexity due to the introduction of mobile devices and the growth in operating systems. With the increased demand for mobile learning, clients in turn need to understand the complexities and requirements involved in creating mobile learning courseware.

On the flip side, the rapid increase in the use of mobile devices opens a new world of training opportunities to organizations that have not considered mobile learning. This short mobile learning infographic highlights the important changes and aspects that organizations need to consider.

—Source: http://www.pulselearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/mobile_infographic_final.pdf

Published in Latest News

The learning industry came together during the Enterprise Learning! Conference, a three-day live event held in Manassas, Va., June 8-10, and a two-day virtual follow-up held July 16-17.

Cutting-edge keynoters addressed the crowd. Keynoter Wayne McCulloch revealed the future of learning by showcasing the learning ecosystem of Salesforce, an organization named the Most Innovative Company four years running by Fortune magazine. Dr. Jennifer Golbeck shocked attendees by revealing how much of our personal data is available to virtually anyone, unbeknownst to most of us. Keynoter Col. Ronald Dodge disclosed that the greatest threat to a company’s cybersecurity is actually the users. McCulloch is senior vice president of Salesforce; Golbeck is director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland; Dodge is CIO and associate professor at the West Point Military Academy.

The on-site event was held in Manassas, Va. June 8-10 while a live virtual edition was held July 16-17. A combined 1,897 learning professionals registered for the hybrid event.

The conference theme of “Building Smarter Organizations” provided four distinct learning tracks that examine learning ecosystems, smart connected things in learn, big data and learning analytics and best practice of the Learning! 100.

“The way we conduct business and train our employees in today’s world is different than any other era, and the popularity of having the option to attend an on-site or virtual, from-your-desktop learning event was reflected in the robust attendance for both events,” notes Catherine Upton, group publisher and event producer.

The July online event featured six live sessions and video broadcasts of the most popular onsite sessions. A live Q&A opportunity was made available to all virtual attendees during the keynote address by Wayne McCulloch as well as a learning CEO panel featuring Todd Tauber from Degreed and Malcolm Lotzof from INXPO.

Another important function of the annual conference is presentation of the annual Learning! 100 awards. The honorees represent 60 corporate enterprises and 40 public-sector/nonprofit organizations. The top winner in the corporate enterprise category was Salesforce, and the public-sector winner is Defense Acquisition University. (See article beginning on page 24.)

The conference programming was designed by George Mason University, Defense Acquisition University and Elearning! Media Group. Those that missed the event can still view content, Q&A and chats on the ELC online platform through Oct. 16.

              -To register: https://presentations.inxpo.com/Shows/ELearning/Microsite/registration.htm

Published in Latest News

There's No One Answer, Since Audiences Are Diverse But There Are Pitfalls.

By Matt Gilley

Many organizations often want to explore how to engage, communicate and train “external audiences.” Generally, requests are focused on students, or potential students, who are not employees of the company and reside outside of the organization’s physical footprint and technological infrastructure. This scenario certainly presents a series of unique challenges.

Five common misconceptions and pitfalls that, when avoided, lead to much more successful external programs.

#1: Don't Recreate The (Content Strategy) Wheel

Companies sometimes overanalyze the needs of their external audiences. They mistakenly assume external audiences require a level of engaging, entertaining content that is somehow different from what they provide their internal audience members. Before you worry about internal versus external audiences, you should develop an over-arching content strategy that results in creative, modern, engaging training material. Then you can determine how to present the appropriate content to the appropriate audience. If you’re considering content for external users that is superior to the content you present to internal users, you’re doing something wrong.

#2: Don't Ignore Student Segmentation

Even the organizations with great content strategies sometimes neglect to plan ahead when it comes to segmentation. You would be surprised by the number of companies that allow external students into their learning environments without a clear way to identify or track them as such. If you can’t tell at a glance which students are internal and which students are external, how can you expect your learning management system to deliver the appropriate content? Develop an efficient way to designate a new user as internal or external during the registration process. You certainly do not want to try and identify them once they have become active users. If security becomes a big concern, you can consider pushing the two audiences into separate accounts. Over-complicating the structure and security requirements of a single learning environment in order to accommodate
both internal and external audience members can divert attention away from the primary training mission. Instead, think: “Same great content, same variety, same over-all approach, different accounts.”

#3: Don't Overcomlicate Registration

The registration portal is the first thing external students encounter. It should mirror the kind of simple, clean and intuitive experience the entire learning environment offers. Too often, registration pages and processes are bulky and confusing, forcing external users to jump through too many hoops before accessing the learning content. Difficult registration processes will result in significant drops in user activity. Consider the simplicity of the registration process for the majority of the consumer apps we rely on everyday. Are you thinking about single or social sign-on to simplify registration? You should be.

#4: Don't Undervalue The User Experience

A large number of external training initiatives rely on the “selfpaced” model, allowing students the freedom to move through topics and access modules at their own speed. Amazingly, many organizations do not consider the student’s actual experience when they build out an external, or even internal, learning environment. Students expect to find
the content they are looking for immediately, and with little effort. This means search functionality must be exceptional. Key words, course descriptions and summaries need to be less clinical and neutral, and much more strategic and engaging. The affect that images have on user engagement numbers, positive or negative depending on the quality of the
images, are staggering. It’s time to ditch the outdated clip art in your catalog and course descriptions. Work with marketing to develop an image strategy for the entire learning environment that not only aligns with your content, but helps “sell it.”

#5: Don't Forget To Ask, "Why?"

External is definitely “trending up,” but first, companies should really evaluate what they are trying to achieve. Perhaps more importantly, why? Some organizations have the kind of content that external audiences are already demanding. Some companies view external training and education as a way of strengthening or securing their already strong brand ties and audience relationships. Either way, these organizations typically have external audiences in place, audiences that already perceive value in the content and
justify the required resource investment. If you don’t have a good answer for why the content should be offered to students outside of your organization, there is no reason to
further explore the how.

                                 —The author is the CRO for Intellum. More info: www.intellum.com

Published in Ideas

How Do You Improve Employee Engagement? Laz Parking and Randstad Reveal Their Learning Philosophies.

By Matt Gilley

Let’s start with an openended question: How do you define and measure "employee engagement"?

Andi Campbell, VP of Human Resources, LAZ Parking: At LAZ Parking, we measure engagement by asking employees their sentiment toward topics like tenure, effort, communication, management and culture. We are concerned with things like how likely employees are to work for us long-term, how likely they are to say positive things about LAZ, how well they think leaders demonstrate the LAZ values and how inclined they are to exceed job expectations.

Rick Maybury, director of Learning & Development, Randstad U.S.: When we think of employee engagement at Randstad, we are really trying to assess the ability and interest our folks have in being creative, and innovative and going beyond the basic expectations. We are focusing on how we encourage employees to become more selfmotivated and self-driven when it comes to their work, their own personal development and even driving innovation.

How do traditional training tools, like an LMS or a private activity stream, play into your strategies for improving engagement?

Campbell: We don’t think of the Intellum Exceed LMS as "an LMS." It is a strategic tool for delivering results. If we are continuously improving the learning resources and tools we offer our employees, we are going to continue to see improvements in employee engagement. The LAZ Parking Learning Center is powered by the Exceed LMS, but it has become the launch pad for everything related to talent, and by extension, engagement. So you go to the Learning Center, you can view your talent profile, then fill out your performance review, check out upcoming training opportunities, visit your team's Tribe (Intellum's private activity stream). It all starts from the Learning Center. 

Maybury: We believe there is tremendous value in creating curriculums, on-the-job training and career-development opportunities that empower individuals to drive their own careers. If employees are creating a portfolio of capabilities that are truly transportable, even ultimately to other companies, they become more dedicated to our company. Our openness and focus on their personal development, as opposed to focusing only on what we can get out of them, is the key. The Exceed LMS is the tool that enables them to pursue these developmental opportunities effectively.

If you were going to offer a peer one piece on how to achieve the kind of engagement results you have achieved, what would it be? 

Campbell: Don’t over-complicate things. If you mirror employee behavior outside of work as much as you can inside of work, you will absolutely witness positive change. We know that people in “the real world” expect to Google information and get immediate access to quick, bit-size chunks of information at the exact moment in which they need it. We know that people enjoy “liking” photos on social media. Give them the tools to apply this consumer technology experience to their business lives and people will become more involved'  

Maybury: Begin by selecting the tool that enables selfdirected development along a broad base - development that is both career and personal. Then embed within the tool the ability to self assess and track growth. Provide employees with a transportable portfolio of capabilities that becomes applicable through out their individual careers. One of the prime motivators for an employee to engage and dedicate superior effort while they are with you is directly correlated with what that individual perceives as her or his professional and personal development opportunities. 

                             —The author is the CRO for Intellum. More info: www.intellum.com 

Published in Ideas

SUCCESSFUL ORGANIZATIONS SEEK (AND FIND) EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND ENTHUSIASM WITH INNOVATIVE LEARNING PROGRAMS

BY JERRY ROCHE

In this day and age, it's not enough for employees to be well informed and well trained. It's increasingly important for learners at corporations, non-profits and in the public sector to be engaged and enthusiastic - and maybe even entertained.

Of all the commonalities in this year's Learning! 100 competition, employee engagement from training and development was a major driver of these organizations' successes.

The American Heart Association's vice president of HR and Corporate Learning Katherine Neverdousky says participants in the AHA's new mentoring program "are very excited. They appreciate the opportunity for them and the SMEs assigned to them, and they also get peer networking, which makes for great conversations and discussions."

Shaw's Chris Clement tells us: "We are constantly hearing from our audience" - meaning his salesforce. "We can’t design training how we want to deliver it, because people have different learning styles. So we've got to respond to their needs, or we'll be designing training that’s obsolete."

Vi Living's new open-enrollment benefits education program not only received rave reviews from employees, but it also drove improvements in business-related metrics: a 69 percent increase in flex spending account participation, a 40 percent increase in the enhanced vision program, a 7 percent increase in the medical plan, and a 9 percent increase in 401(k) program participation. "And employee satisfaction grew along with participation," Vi’s Judy Whitcomb tells us. "follow-up employee survey determined that 90 percent of employees had a good understanding of company benefits compared to 83 percent from the prior survey."

Like the AHA, the financial services company SWBC also has implemented a mentoring program. And, like the AHA, it’s finding increased employee engagement. "One hundred percent of the participants indicated their mentor/mentee was a good match," notes SWBC vice president of Training and Employee Development Mandy Smith. "The vast majority reported feeling more confident in their knowledge, skills and abilities. Six of the 30 participants reported receiving promotions during the program that they attribute to their mentor’s support and the mentoring program."

Learning! 100 applicants are evaluated across three criteria: Collaborative Strategies’ Collaboration Index, Darden School’s Learning Culture Index, and overall organizational performance.

But beyond those metrics, if there is one lesson to be learned from the 2015 Learning! 100 honor roll, it’s that engaged employees are informed employees are excellent employees. To find out more about how the leading companies are being so successful with their learning programs, review the list on the following pages and watch for upcoming sessions, Web seminars, articles and events hosted by Elearning! magazine.

Learning! 100

Published in Top Stories
Page 9 of 113

 


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