As the economy continues to improve, companies are increasing their training budgets. According to TLNT, overall spending on workplace training increased 12 percent in 2012, with technology and manufacturing showing the biggest growth. The same growth is also expected in 2013.
Leaders of top-performing companies already know that training their people increases the company’s performance. A recent article in the San Diego Union Tribune noted that while people value compensation, they value access to training and opportunity for advancement even more. One way companies can increase accessibility to training is by implementing a learning management system (LMS) that employees can use anytime, anywhere.
Despite the hunger for training and personal growth, employees often struggle to find the motivation – or time – to fit training into their packed schedules. I’m often asked by companies implementing an LMS how they can encourage their people to take online training. Many of us can barely finish required job tasks in 40-plus hours per week much less find the inspiration to take a product or safety training. One way to address such challenges in employee motivation is by tying incentives to course completion.
Analyze motivators prior to launch
Successfully rolling out a new process or technology requires analyzing the motivators necessary to foster adoption and usage. The same is true for training. As noted by the Employer Solutions Blog, it boils down to knowing what encourages employees, what incentives will produce results, and how closely businesses can align those incentives to employee performance and company goals.
Not all employees need incentives to take training (such as if the training will advance their career or provide a needed credential). But in most cases, the use of incentives can be a key motivator in driving learner adoption, acquisition and action. Tying online course completion to an annual performance evaluation that provides a cash bonus is an obvious way to reward training. The best learning management systems have incentives built in to their platform to make integrating the technology—and the rewards—easy. Consider alternatives to cash as well, such as gift cards to popular retailers, extra time off and public recognition.
Ensure skill mastery
A final note on incentives and training: rewards are most effective when they are tied not only to course completion, but to meaningful completion and measurable knowledge transfer. A good instructional designer builds LMS courses that feature challenging assessments and quizzes and makes these assessments a required condition of successful completion. If the online course does not lend itself to quizzes or gamification, following up with on-the-job practical application to gauge skill mastery is also effective.
The most effective training incentive programs align closely with strategic business objectives and company culture. These types of programs help HR, training and sales departments ensure that employees are rewarded for expanding their knowledge and for doing so in a way that helps them sell to and fulfill customer expectations, in addition to improving their own performance.
Does your company reward employees for successful training completion? What methods have you found to be effective? Please share with us.
Looking for Learning Management System software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Learning Management System software solutions.