According to an Ernst & Young survey, some of the top reasons why people quit their jobs are a workplace that does not encourage teamwork or allow for flexibility. Jobs in every sector are consistently changing to match the pace of technology, and unfortunately the onboarding process for new employees, and the training methods for existing employees haven’t been keeping up.
New Tech = New Possibilities
According to a report by The Aberdeen Group, 20% of companies surveyed allow only a single week for onboarding a new employee. It’s well-established that hiring and training new employees can be a financial black hole for many companies. However, this type of brief, rapid training does not put the employee in the best position to be successful.
Online communities are typically not thought of as training modules, however the use of forums in EdTech has been well documented. We’ve even covered How to Determine the ROI Behind EdTech Initiatives in a previous article.
The fact that community building has a positive effect on education and e-learning is nothing new, however the concept of using it for training purposes is still relatively young. However, it is gaining attention, even among large, international corporations.
A Community at Sea?
One great example of a large company that has effectively used community training, is Royal Caribbean. The cruise giant has been using an online community platform for over a year and has seen great results. What started out as an experiment to streamline communication between international offices has expanded into a full on forum for sharing ideas, plans, and projects.
Among the benefits cited by Royal Caribbean, adding an internal community to their business has led to:
- Greater communication
- More transparency
- Faster dispersal of information
- Less need for emails
- Increased engagement
Increasing engagement among the workforce and streamlining channels of communication is a great way to improve efficiency, especially during training. A study by Accenture shows that Canadian companies who are initiating a blend of on the job training and technology-based programs are finding a higher ROI with workforce training. Not only do the programs cost less, they’re found to be more effective. Among the various methods mentioned specifically: social media platforms and peer to peer systems that allow for employees to assist each other as well as offers concise explanations without the hassle of taking a full course of study.
Accelerating the Onboarding Process
Many of the concepts that work in community EdTech and E-Learning can be translated to workforce training. Ideas such as:
- Creating training modules with links to interactive resources to aid training
- Designating managers and supervisors to moderate discussion boards and training threads as well as being available to answer questions and provide guidance
- Through an educational approach to workforce training, the community building component can allow for a number of added benefits to the company:
- Less physical time and resources need to be expended for training purposes
- Through a web-based training module, employees can train from home. Whether preparing for their first day or taking the initiative to educate themselves, training no longer has to mean the workday is wasted.
- Employees can help one another, providing self-service style support that frees up the time and resources of management, human resources, and other departments.
- Employees learn from one another and establish helpful, positive working relationships.
- Employees from various departments have an opportunity to learn and interact with one another in ways that might not otherwise happen organically in the workplace. Through this, employees can gain a front-to-end perspective on the company as a whole.
As more tech-savvy employees enter the workforce, and with the continued integration of technology into the workplace, the demand for technology based training will increase. Online community building can be a crucial component to that training, as well as a great way to improve employee morale and promote workplace synergy.