Achieving high participation and engagement rates in corporate learning programs are two of the most challenging, yet valuable, attributes chief learning officers can boast when reporting on learning program success. Without high engagement, even the most well-designed L&D programs won’t produce the desired learning outcomes.
Qstream customers see a consistent participation rate of over 90% on average in its innovative microlearning programs, which are scientifically proven to change employee behaviors in minutes a day and provide a leading indicator for the return on L&D investments.
These record-high engagement levels are achieved by incorporating the five common program characteristics that are listed below. Which also can be attributed to improving employee proficiency, productivity, and performance.
1. Make it fun
Employees have enough on their plates, so their first retort to a new L&D program could be something along the lines of, “Oh great, another thing to do…” Prove their initial reaction wrong by making your program something they’ll enjoy doing, rather than just another task in the workday.
Proven features to work into learning programs and/or technology include:
- Make it a competition — You can pit teams or individuals against each other in a friendly competition played out on leaderboards, which not only taps into a human’s natural competitiveness but also inspires a sense of duty to complete the challenges and not let teammates down.
- Benchmark against peers — Set out scenario-based challenges and show immediate feedback on correct and incorrect responses, along with aggregated peer benchmarks so learners can see where they stand.
- Socialize the learning experience — Allow learners to comment, question, discuss, and share views on the learning content and experience with peers and managers as they move through the program.
- Involve managers — Give managers insights at individual and team levels to encourage participation and results and get the team revved up and working together to get to the top of the leaderboard.
“The engagement and feedback of our team, as well as the Qstream analytics, have shown this to be an effective method of building high-performance teams,” said Mark Romano, Senior Director of Education, Quality & Sustainability at illy caffè North America. “Our staff embraced the convenience of Qstream, and there was a general sense of camaraderie and friendly competition among individuals and departments. … It was a fun and flexible way to maximize staff knowledge essential to the customer experience.”
2. Align with company goals
While corporate L&D programs should be fun, they should also be professional and relevant to the knowledge-intensive or highly regulated markets in which they operate. Even the newest, most exciting initiative won’t keep employees fully engaged throughout the duration if the context is not explained or communication on progress is not given throughout the program. Employees increasingly demand a higher sense of purpose in their busy professional lives and need to know why they’re doing it and what’s in it for them.
Be open and transparent about the objective behind the program and how it relates to business goals and their own professional goals. If, for example, sales quota achievement dropped in the last year, explain to sales reps and sales managers that the program is designed to sharpen sales skills, help them achieve their quota, and ultimately meet the overall sales goal to release the end-of-year bonus pool.
3. Listen to learners
Qstream customers receive a wealth of insights on attitudes, behaviors, and competencies to focus their coaching for each employee. In this way, frontline managers and learning or business leaders are listening to their employees — by interpreting proficiency and learning engagement data — about which skills they need to improve. Using our previous example, perhaps the first initiative improved sales proficiency in discovery skills but also discovered a weakness regarding negotiating skills or the understanding of pricing structures. Thanks to your first program, you now can shape your next sales training.
And while Qstream provides empirical evidence of proficiency and engagement, don’t forget about anecdotal data. This can be captured in the ratings and commentary functions in the Qstream app, and can be supplemented by talking with learners and frontline managers about what they liked and didn’t like about the program and asking for recommendations on future training initiatives. Soliciting feedback and acting on it makes employees feel valued and part of long-term goals.
“It’s been a tremendously positive experience for us on several fronts, including cost reduction, engagement and an increase in knowledge proficiency,” said Bill Sellner, Director of North American Sales Operations for Philips Healthcare, who saw 99% engagement. “And best of all, feedback from the field has been very positive: managers and reps love it!”
4. Invest in frontline managers
Even the most thought-out L&D program won’t benefit your organization if supporting stakeholders aren’t part of it or engaged in the process. Frontline managers are as central to the success of learning programs as the program itself or the technology to deliver it. While you can’t ensure that every manager will “click” with each employee, equipping managers with objective insight into proficiency levels and engagement in learning programs give an unbiased and positive foundation for meaningful coach/learner interactions. If learning leaders can better enable managers and help them truly coach, employee engagement improves and so does the contribution to achieving business goals.
5. Embrace cutting-edge technology
As technology continues to become part of our everyday lives, it also plays a larger role in L&D programs to make them more efficient, engaging, effective, and measurable. Qstream makes it easy and engaging for learners to participate in learning programs in the daily flow of work, making job-related challenges accessible by phone, tablet, desktop, or within their CRM. Game mechanics foster competition and team spirit — which all lead to increased participation, proficiency, productivity, and performance.
If you’re interested in improving your learning program’s engagement rate, contact us today to learn more about how Qstream’s best-practice microlearning platform can help increase employee engagement, improve knowledge retention, change behaviors, and drive a learning culture forward.