The way we work looks drastically different today than it did three years ago. Many of us spent 2022 adjusting to updated hybrid or fully remote work models as others returned to offices full-time. This shift begs the question of how leaders can continue to engage their teams in their day-to-day roles as well as their professional development ventures no matter where they are.
While we’ve seen in-person conferences and workshops largely reemerge over the past year, there is still a strong demand for online learning options to help employees develop their skill sets. Working in a fully remote or hybrid environment has become second nature for some professionals, and as we head into 2023, company leaders must consider their digital learning infrastructure and how best to support their employees.
Build a branded experience.
In 2022, several companies across Indiana and beyond doubled down on fully in-person work or hybrid/remote work experiences. Many employers embracing the work-from-home model found that this move didn’t hinder productivity. In some cases, it even boosted overall performance and created a valuable recruiting tool at a time when companies were vying for top talent.
With the question of productivity answered, the question arose about engagement: How can leaders ensure their team members feel engaged in the company and its mission? The COVID-19 pandemic prompted many businesses to take “soft dollars” off the table due to budget uncertainties. These funds are slowly coming back, but business leaders must consider how they can most effectively spend those dollars to ensure a better work environment for all employees.
One tactic is to build a more branded online learning experience across your company. Like external marketing, intentional internal branding creates a recognizable experience and comfortable landing pads at different points in workers’ careers while building connections to their organization no matter their location.
Find a way to measure success.
With any investment, we’re tasked with demonstrating its value and worth to our superiors. At the onset of the pandemic, many companies needed solutions immediately in order to move their operations to a fully online environment. Those off-the-shelf solutions worked in a pinch, but they were more or less a Band-Aid. After several years, these solutions are simply no longer up to par. Worse, they rarely have the right analytics to paint a picture as to whether employers are getting a return on their investment.
Now that we’ve had a chance to settle into this newer approach to work, it’s time to take a hard look at how we’re investing in this new or updated infrastructure and identify what’s working and what’s not. Measuring the success of employees’ learning and development outcomes – and by extension, online learning platforms themselves – will be critical in helping businesses understand what to invest in and why.
Move away from a one-size-fits-all approach.
Part of finding out what’s working is determining whether all departments within your business should even be using the same learning management software, let alone programs. Chances are, your HR department has very different learning and training needs from your engineering department. Therefore, industry leaders must move away from this idea that the entire company should use the same online learning platform for professional development opportunities.
This is not to say that organizations should invest in dozens of different tools. When you’re able to identify the opportunities for growth and match them with a learning management system best equipped to meet the needs of your workforce, you can invest in customizing and augmenting it for your needs and then generate a greater return on your investment. From there, your team will be better equipped to move your organization to reach its goals, as well as their own development goals.
This past year has proven that hybrid and remote work and learning environments are sustainable. But as we turn our focus to the year ahead, investing in the right infrastructure is the only way we can set ourselves up for success.
Phill Miller is Managing Director of Open LMS. He has nearly 20 years of experience in EdTech and is passionate about the benefits and logistics of digital learning.