What Makes a Great Lesson?

Apple founder Steve Jobs once said, “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” We agree—the best work happens when it’s a team effort, and training is no exception. That’s why we’re committed to partnering with our customers to create industry-leading learning programs.

Here at Lessonly, we have plenty of practice building lessons and helping customers create their own. So, we’d like to share with you some of the insights we’ve learned along the way to make training engaging, interactive, and impactful for your employees.

Engage Learners with Simple Content

Tip 1: The first question most lesson creators ask is, “What should I include in my lesson?” Start by zeroing in on one idea or job function at a time. Since you can’t teach employees everything at once, focus on three sub-ideas or responsibilities, and build the lesson around that framework. Jump start this process with our employee training plan builder and tap into the expertise of your team members to identify important job tasks.  

Tip 2: When building a lesson, it’s crucial to capture and deliver work knowledge simply—this increases the effectiveness of the lesson. This is when the classic acronym K.I.S.S—keep it simple, stupid—is useful. Be sure the lesson includes only most important information in a concise and to-the-point manner so employees can clearly understand it.

Tip 3: In order to keep lessons interesting, look for ways to break up text with engaging elements such as images and video. This is an easy way to add context to the lesson or explain something in more detail. For example, we love using screen capture to show employees how to follow a specific process, such as adding a lead in Salesforce. Just remember to keep video content relevant and brief so employees stay engaged.

Tip 4: The most effective lessons are designed to be short and easy to complete. The “microlearning” format breaks training down into bite-sized pieces that educate employees on a single subject—increasing learning engagement. If you need to share a lot of information related to one subject, consider breaking lessons down into more manageable chunks within a learning path so employees can easily digest the information.

Test Knowledge with Quizzes and Practice Scenarios

Tip 5: Learning new skills and knowledge is important, but it’s critical to make sure that employees understand what they’re learning. Consider adding a few quiz questions throughout the lesson to ensure employees understand and retain the information before they move forward. Lessonly offers both short answer and multiple choice question for the flexibility and customization that work best for your lesson.

Tip 6: The best teams and employees improve their skills through dedicated practice. That’s why great lessons should enable employees to practice and perfect their skills. Video Response allows employees to roleplay common scenarios or rehearse their answers to hone their craft. With Video Response, managers can encourage team practice and offer constructive feedback so employees improve faster.

Improve your Lesson with Performance Data Measurement

Tip  7: A great lesson leads to improved individual and team performance. If your lesson doesn’t deliver measurable results, consider updating so it provides clear and actionable data in two key areas:

  • Business outcomes—Each lesson should be linked to business outcomes such as demos set or average call time for resolution. By measuring these objectives, managers will be able to see if a lesson is providing the knowledge and skills that are needed to drive these outcomes.
  • Learning metrics—Lessons also provide valuable insights that determine the return of learning (ROL). Take a look at lesson quiz scores, feedback, and completion rate to see if employees are engaged in the lesson and understand the materials. This will help identify gaps in the lesson that needs to be addressed.

While building a lesson may sound intimidating—it’s not! These seven tips are a great foundation to build a lesson that delivers results. When in doubt, remember that every lesson should help employees learn, practice, and perform. This model will radically improve your lesson, and place your team on the path to greater productivity.

Lessonly isn’t just online training software

Lessonly is a full-service solution for all of your training needs. Create content, deliver it to your team, and measure results—all in one place. Interested in learning more about what makes a great lesson? Join us for our exclusive pre-conference training at Yellowship, where we’ll walk through the best practices for forward-thinking training programs. Learn more and register here.

The 2018 State of Retail Employee Training [Infographic]

As we examine retail and consumer trends—both in-store and online—we’re convinced that better associate training leads to exceptional experiences for customers. We hope this infographic informs and inspires retail leaders as they equip employees with the knowledge and skills needed to serve consumers. Enjoy!

View on SlideShare or share this infographic:

Behind the Scenes: How We Do Employee Onboarding

Most companies recognize the importance of team training, but struggle to implement a training program or employee training software. This blog series offers an inside look at how the Lessonly team uses our own software to do better work. We hope these tips and examples provide a framework for effective and engaging team learning.

Over the last few years, the Lessonly team has grown a lot. We quickly learned that employee onboarding can make—or break—a team member’s success. Great onboarding improves employee engagement, ramp time to productivity, retention rates, and the company’s bottom line. Because of this, we’re always updating our onboarding program to ensure we provide the best experience to our new team members.

Here are a few ways that we’ve leveraged our software to drive exceptional employee onboarding.  

Provide Essential and Engaging Preboarding

I joined the Lessonly team just 90 days ago. There were plenty of new job jitters. A few days after excitedly signing my acceptance letter, an email hit my inbox that introduced me to Lessonly. Already sitting in my account were lessons like, “Welcome to the Team” and “An Introduction to Marketing at Lessonly.” These preboarding lessons jump-started my introduction to a new job.

Preboarding efficiently uses the time between accepting the job and the first day of work. When employers share information about their office, company policies, or work logistics, they more effectively prepare new employees for their first day. This process is extremely beneficial—reducing the nerves of new hires, cutting down on administrative tasks, and helping managers provide a better experience for their new employee.

Tactically—one week before their start date, new Lessonly teammates receive a lesson that shares our mission, vision, and values; how to be an ideal team player; and information about our departments and roles. Additionally, this interactive lesson informs employees what to do and bring to nail their first day at Lessonly. By completing my preboarding process, I knew exactly what to expect and was ready to jump right in to my new role.

Create Custom Employee Training Paths

When I walked in the door at Lessonly, my manager had a unique and custom onboarding path waiting for me. Lessonly’s Learning Paths made it easy for him to create a seamless experience that provided the knowledge I needed for my specific role and team. My custom training path featured lessons about key metrics, marketing team objectives, and helpful resources. Instead of overburdening me with too much information at once, my path was laid out over the course of a few weeks—allowing ample time to process information and ask questions when needed.

Onboarding should not solely focus on procedures, processes, and administrative tasks. The best onboarding programs integrate new employees into their teams and the entire company as soon as possible—without overwhelming them.

From providing useful content to outlining performance expectations, effective onboarding should be customized for employees across different teams and roles for maximum impact.

The marketing department isn’t the only team that creates custom training paths. New members of Lessonly’s sales org complete a structured onboarding program that maximizes ramp time to productivity. The program, targeted toward account executives and sales development reps, is divided into three detailed onboarding stages. Each stage has a key theme and clear objectives to ensure that new employees understand what is expected of them during each stage. Additionally, each path requires reps to complete quizzes and assessments to ensure they understand the information before progressing to the next stage. This path ensures a smooth onboarding process for new employees and their managers alike.

Don’t Stop Onboarding: Focus on Long-Term Development

90 days into my not-so-new job with Lessonly, I still receive onboarding lessons. These lessons have equipped me with the knowledge I need to go from new hire to a valuable team member. Recently, I completed a lesson that helped me understand the processes that I needed to complete a new project. The onboarding process continues to be a valuable resource as I’ve accomplished larger projects and taken on more responsibilities.

Unfortunately, many other companies don’t offer their employees an onboarding program like this. According to SHRM, only 15% of companies continue onboarding after six months and many programs end after an employees’ first month on the job. The additional training, check-ins, and coaching sessions can make all the difference in engaging an employee.

SHRM also notes that nearly 90% of employees decide whether to stay or go within the first six months—proving that continued onboarding can have a lasting impact.

The best part of using Lessonly is that every single lesson and piece of information I received during onboarding is still accessible. I can search Lessony’s learning library to revisit the content anytime and anywhere. Whether I want to refresh my memory or find an answer during a moment of need, Lessonly empowers me to do so.

An employee onboarding process is the first impression that new employees have of their new company (outside of the recruiting and hiring process). Astound new teammates with high-quality onboarding and you’ll see higher retention that positively impacts the organization for years to come. If your employees are anything like me, you’ll wow them from the start.

Create a Robust Onboarding Program with Lessonly

Creating custom onboarding at scale doesn’t have to be difficult. Lessonly makes the process easy. Quickly build an onboarding program, share lessons, and measure the results, all within one platform. Take a tour today and see how Lessonly powers game-changing employee onboarding and training.

How Trunk Club Powers Retail Staff Training with Lessonly

Ask any retail employee or stylist, and they’ll tell you the same thing: The fashion industry is constantly changing. So how should a company in the clothing industry deliver exceptional customer service, train their retail staff, and keep up with continuous change? Just ask Trunk Club.

Since 2009, Trunk Club has been disrupting the clothing industry, bringing the world’s greatest clothes straight to doorsteps. With ever-changing fashion trends, evolving customer needs, and busy associates, Trunk Club turned to Lessonly for training that powers change at scale.

“Trunk Club changes every day, by the minute. I love that with Lessonly, we’re able to update content as quickly as our business changes.”—Kathryn Pelino, Sales Training Manager

Not only has Lessonly made it easy for Trunk Club to quickly create and update content—it’s also allowed the team to provide retail staff training like never before.

Effectively transfer knowledge with streamlined training

“With Lessonly, we streamline communication, we make communication easier, and we make training easier.”—Brittany Jansen, Training and Development Specialist

Before Lessonly, Trunk Club ran training with a blend of in-person meetings, physical binders, and Google docs. To keep pace with change, the Trunk Club team needed a better way to communicate and train more than 750 reps and stylists. With Lessonly, Trunk Club associates get up to speed faster than ever. Streamlined training and communication with Lessonly ensures that every rep receives the same information, enabling consistent support across thousands of customers and stylists.

“Lessonly keeps us all on the same page. Lessonly isn’t just a learning resource for new changes, it’s a resource that, moving forward, you can always refer to. I have a whole library that I can access. If I come across a case where I do have to do something that I’m unfamiliar with, I know I can just refer to Lessonly. It’s all there.”—David Rodriguez, Service Associate

Engage employees with intuitive and interactive lessons

While conveying information is valuable, the interactive features of Lessonly are especially exciting for the Trunk Club team. As opposed to static, text-heavy and static training content, the Trunk Club team uses images, videos, flip cards, and more to create engaging and effective lessons. Trunk Club is also looking forward to using Lessonly’s newest features, Video Response, to help their team practice and improve their skills. The Trunk Club team appreciates Lessonly’s powerful simplicity, making it easy to create, edit, access, and complete lessons for the entire team. In turn, better and faster lessons lead to improved efficiency and employee confidence.

“Being able to find that answer on your own not only instills a better confidence but also allows all of our teams to be more efficient. If we’re able to keep that content engaging and interesting for them, they will, in turn, be happier in their jobs.”—Kathyrn Pelino, Sales Training Manager

Measure and improve training to elevate customer experiences

The Trunk Club team also benefits from the measurement and reporting functions within Lessonly. Teams can’t improve what they don’t measure, and training data contains valuable insights about gaps in employee knowledge. Currently, Trunk Club offers bi-weekly style quizzes to their team to gauge how well employees understand the material. The data they receive from Lessonly helps them monitor performance—from individuals employees to entire business units.

“We’re looking at everyone’s quality. So, we can see at any given time if a person isn’t performing as well let’s look through Lessonly to see if we need to update the lesson, the process, or re-engage that associate.”—Katie Bithos, Service Lead

Trunk Club is revolutionizing how consumers buy clothes, and we’re proud of our small role in helping them accomplish that mission. They have seen an immediate impact from Lessonly—reps get up to speed more efficiently and stylists receive the regular updates on products and processes they need to succeed in their jobs. And when they do better work, they live better lives.

“We’re serving up so much content and so many changes to our sales team. If we’re able to keep that content engaging and interesting for them, they will in turn be happier in their jobs. We want to help stylists feel confident in their day-to-day, which allows them to do the best work they can. Lessonly helps us do that.”—Kathryn Pelino, Sales Training Manager

Get Started with Lessonly

With Lessonly, companies and managers quickly transform knowledge into engaging training, empower their employees, accelerate high-performance, and measure the impact of better learning. Read more about how Trunk Club uses Lessonly here or take a tour to see how your team can do better work.  

5 Methods to Discover Training Topics for Employees

Whether your company is well-established or brand new, you can’t afford to ignore great training. Ultimately, well-trained employees are the backbone of any organization’s long-term success.

The first and most basic issue leaders face when designing a training program is deciding what training presentation topics employees need. Organizations should create learning plans that address training challenges for the entire business, and individual employees. While every company is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all training solution, every company can use these 5 simple methods to discover and create a list of training topics for employees.

1. Use a Training Plan Template

A training plan that covers a variety of training topics in the workplace must be flexible enough for individual employees, full teams, and entire businesses. A training template helps leaders easily navigate through the process of identifying both company training topics and the core functions of each employee. This makes it simple to pinpoint the information and skills that need to be addressed by employees in roles ranging from support to sales.

Using a training plan template is extremely beneficial to discovering topics for training sessions. That’s why we created our free Employee Training Plan Template. This builder walks through a series of questions that result in a detailed training plan for your team. Our Learn/Practice/Perform framework makes it easy to detect the knowledge, skills, and topics employees need training on.

P.S. If you’re looking for an example of a training plan for employees—we have that too. Click here for pre-built templates that feature simple training topics for you to start with.  

2. Perform a Needs Assessment

Another quick—yet effective—technique to evaluate different training programs for employees is a training needs assessment. While this process tends to be easiest for small to mid-sized organizations to perform, it provides a glimpse of training needs for a specific group of employees. The activity gathers input from employees who have the same job and perform identical tasks. Each employee provides a set list of the most important—and specific—training needs in order to best execute their responsibilities. Then, the final list is reviewed by team leaders who prioritize and implement training to meet these requests.

Training needs assessments also detect employees’ current level of competence, skill, or knowledge in various areas. Rather than assume that all employees need training—or even the same training—management can make informed decisions about the best way to address knowledge gaps among individual employees and teams. It’s beneficial to perform these assessments periodically to measure changes in employee knowledge and skills, as well as training program effectiveness.

3. Review Employee Questions

Whether through online research or conversations with peers, people ask questions to find information. This natural habit is also a chance to discover what your employees are searching for. Leaders can classify common questions and problems to create new types of training programs for employees that address each need. This means less time searching for answers and more time helping customers, closing deals, and focusing on work.

We believe easy search functionality should be available for every team member, and that employees do their best work when they have on-demand access to answers. Lessonly for Chrome brings a fully-functional search bar, specifically for learning, straight to your browser. On any webpage, just type in a question and see relevant lessons with essential work knowledge. Additionally, employees can ask for clarification on important team knowledge from a coworker or manager, while leaders view  search data and easily identify queries with no associated training content

4. Evaluate Metrics and KPIs

Team metrics and KPIs are a deep measure of a training program and employee knowledge. Metrics and KPIs are quantifiable measurements that relate to business goals and objectives. When used correctly to track and evaluate the status of a specific process or action, they can highlight gaps in skills and knowledge. When KPIs are lower than expected, oftentimes business goals are not met.

For example, if you have a KPI that tracks a sales team’s opportunity-to-win ratio— and it’s consistently lower than forecast—there is a high probability that reps need additional training to improve their skills. If reps surpass lead acquisition goals but fail to convert those leads to closed-won deals, leaders should provide additional training and coaching to help reps become expert closers.

5. Access Training Data

Given how much time, planning, and financial resources are invested in a training program, it’s extremely useful to know what employees are successfully learning. Training provides valuable insight and data about employee skills. It’s important—and advantageous—to identify training objectives and then measure and evaluate employees throughout training to uncover needs that aren’t being met by existing training programs.

Using modern learning software makes it very easy to track employee engagement and performance. Leaders are empowered to see how much time employees spend on specific training topics, as well as course completion rates, test scores, and activity feedback. Additionally, leaders can see the areas of training that agents revisit and spend the most time on. Every piece of training data helps leaders determine gaps in training, then apply those insights to create and update training topics for employee development.

More often than not, when effective training takes place, a company decreases its turnover rate and helps employees perform better in their jobs. But, in order to be effective, training programs must deliver knowledge that employees actually need. By using a training template, talking to employees, and evaluating data, leaders can supply employees with the training they need to succeed in their roles—and drive results for the entire organization.

Lessonly Delivers Training that Satisfies your Employees Needs

World-class customers use Lessonly to provide their employees with the training topics they need to succeed. Our modern learning software also tracks the impact of learning so leaders can develop training programs that produce vastly superior bottom-line results. Take a tour today, and see how Lessonly drives powerful team learning.

Rethinking the Call Center: 6 Essential Training Tips

The contact center landscape is always evolving. As soon as new contact channels develop, customer preferences change. Efficiently overcoming and responding to these changes requires a solid foundation of basic call center training and agent development.

Agent development initiatives are crucial to help reps adapt to the dramatic shifts in technology and customer expectations currently taking place. Customer support leaders are also noting the importance of these initiatives, as seen in a study by Customer Contact Week. In an effort to empower call center agents, leaders are investing in training, coaching, learning management, and more.

Call Center Training Ideas

Modern technologies such as skill-based routing (SDR) and interactive voice response (IVR) have made contact centers more efficient, but training still lags behind. CCW reports that 89% of call center leaders believe that training should be a top strategic focus for the next year in order to better serve customers. Investing in call center agent training empowers agents, improves efficiency metrics, and positively impacts the bottom line of your business.

While training is important across every industry, it is often seen as boring, tedious, and unproductive—which results in wasted time and frustrated employees. Companies that invest time and effort into forward-thinking training and dynamic learning processes see higher agent engagement and less turnover compared to companies that don’t. Here’s a few steps to get started:

Create a Plan

A great training plan fuels business success, but sometimes it’s tricky to know where to start. To combat this issue, resources and templates help leaders create a call center training program that works best for their employees. This plan doesn’t need to be perfect—It’s more important to get started and keep it simple. Training plans should focus on the core functions of call center agents, and what it will take for them to learn, practice and perform in their roles.

Build a Manual

From evaluating your current process to creating a new and improved one, a call center training manual helps companies invest in training in the most impactful way possible. Organizations that develop a training policy—and stick to it—manage training and customer service more efficiently.  Looking for a place to start with your training manual? Consider how your organization defines service, who your customers are, and what a friendly agent looks like.

Focus on Coaching

When it comes to agent development and call center training best practices, 86% of contact center leaders say that one-on-one coaching is still a top priority. Not only does this interactive process help agents improve their skills and take their performance to the next level— it also provides almost immediate feedback from a recent interaction. By keeping this two-way interaction as timely and positive as possible, organizations will see coaching make a large impact on agents and increase the chance that they become long-lasting performers.

Train with a Group

Group training also proves to be a beneficial call center training tip. Group work provides an opportunity for agents to learn from and collaborate with their peers to identify key areas for improvement. Group training is often completed by someone in an organizational development role—we think this is a mistake. Consider asking other agents who excel in the role to help lead the group training. This gives everyone the opportunity to learn from someone who has experience with the interactions and tasks that agents complete every day.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Agents can also use call center training conversation scripts to practice mock interactions or address challenging scenarios. By working together to identify the best way to respond in difficult customer interactions, employees feel engaged and empowered and will be more likely to work hard to improve and continue learning. While this is a helpful exercise, it is also important to remind agents that these scripts should be a starting point and that interactions with customers should be conversational, customized, and personable to ensure quality service.

Invest in Tools

A key component to training strategy is streamlining the experience—make it simple and accessible for all call center agents to take part in.  While training is important for happy agents, the quality of tools and technology that enable their learning is equally essential. Therefore, CCW states that 76% of contact center leaders plan to prioritize investing in learning management systems over the next two years.

Training isn’t a one and done process, so your training and learning management strategy should allow companies to easily create ongoing and consecutive training. As both contact centers and customer needs change, companies will need to modify and update call center training programs so agents remain equipped to answer questions and deliver exceptional customer service tomorrow—and into the future.

These six steps are just the beginning. Call center leaders neglect training their agents at their own peril. A small, intentional investment in employee development today could pay remarkable dividends in call center productivity and customer loyalty for years to come.

Taking the Next Steps in Learning with Lessonly

Have training on your mind? Lessonly helps call center agents learn, practice, and perform with our online training software. Take a tour today, and see how Lessonly can help your team do better work.

Managing the Millennial Sales Team

Managing the Millennial Sales Team

In less than 10 years, the global workforce will be about 50% millennials. As Baby Boomers begin to leave the workforce, and Generation Xers take on new roles in leadership, the front line of the global salesforce will be filled to the brim with millennial account executives and development reps. Asa Hochhauser, Director of Account Development at Ion Interactive, realizes this more than most. As the leader of a team of ten sales reps, he identifies as a Xennial—the generation born on the border between Generation X and millennials. His team, however, is full of millennials, and that means cultivating a management style that matches his team’s unique needs.

Millennial Sales Team Graphic

After his first promotion into management years ago, Hochhauser was forced to reflect upon his leadership style. This came with its own challenges, “As I continued to grow into more responsibility, one challenge was managing my peers. You’re just friends one day. They’re reporting to you the next.” This common challenge for many young managers was a growth opportunity for Hochhauser, who cited effective communication with his team and the mentorship of a senior leader as keys to success. He’s enjoyed the continued personal development that has accompanied each of his shifts in job function—and managing a team of millennials was no exception.

First and foremost, Hochhauser recognizes the individuality of each salesperson. He notes, “You’ve really got to tune in and be attentive to each individual need—then adjust your style from employee to employee.” As an empathetic manager, who wants his all employees to succeed, Hochhauser recognized that a cookie-cutter approach to management wasn’t good enough, he needed more intentionality. “I used to do my 1-on-1s back to back, but I realized that was a mistake. If you really want to be mentally present for your employees, you have to be able to shift gears and take some time to plan for that interaction.” Recognizing the high need for personalized attention on his team has been a theme through his management of millennial workers.

The generational difference between Hochhauser and his team is always at play in his sales management dynamics. As part of a generation that grew up without the internet, Hochhauser jokes, “You never think you’re gonna say, ‘I was walking through the snow when you were just a kid,’ but it naturally starts to happen.” He sees the stark difference that the few years between generations reflects and has a few suggestions for how to best engage millennial employees, help them grow, and deliver powerful results:

Free the team to fail

Millennials are stereotypically known for being overly-reliant upon their managers for approval and guidance. But Hochhauser has found that sometimes pushing employees out of the proverbial nest is the best approach. While every team member will have moments of failure or inhibiting their own development, he sees value in “letting go a little bit,” and customizing his coaching from person to person to help them grow through challenging behaviors or seasons. This personalized approach to management, rather than a one-size-fits-all strategy, is absolutely essential to the success of Hochhauser’s team.

Open the door to feedback

As corporate culture continues to be a focus for millennial job hunters, Hochhauser wants to ensure his team feels free to offer feedback to him, just like he does to them. “We have a genuine, open culture of communication. So employees can walk into my office and tell me I’m doing a bad job any day of the week—and they know I’ll be okay with it.” Those personal connections, cultivated primarily through 1-on-1s, create opportunities to hear from his team, learn what’s going well, and discuss opportunities for improvement.

Match skills with job function

At Ion, getting promoted in the sales department isn’t just a matter of consistently meeting quota—it’s important to match personality with job function. “If an SDR is hitting quota, it doesn’t mean that they’ll necessarily be good for the ADM role.  There’s a much deeper level of business acumen that’s required, and a lot of soft skills that you have to have as well.” Hochhauser wants his people to grow and develop—but if their skills don’t fit the next step in the sales org, he works to help them find a place where they can succeed in the long-run.

Onboard with flexibility and excellence

While older employees might want to print out their training materials, Hochhauser has noticed that millennial employees gobble up online resources. He encourages this kind of ongoing learning for his team. “We really focus on self-propelling. So we lead you to the water, but we don’t make you drink it. It’s a good indicator for us who is truly committed and who can pick what we do up effectively.” Online training software like Lessonly provides a central hub like this, where employees can access the material they need—at their own pace. This style of training gives managers the tools to track and measure their team’s learning, leading to more productive, more empowered team members.

Prioritize personal development

Hochhauser recognizes that most every salesperson wants to grow personally and professionally in their job. To ensure a culture of learning and growth, his sales team reads a book together about once a quarter. This book club flavors their Monday morning team meetings with avid discussion in the spirit of helping one another improve. For sales leaders looking to start their own book club, Hochhauser always recommends books that have been personally impactful—he often suggests Jim Keenan’s Not Taught, Anthony Iannarino’s The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, and Adamson & Dixon’s The Challenger Customer.

Hochhauser has had the opportunity to learn and grow as a manager throughout his time at Ion. Managing a millennial workforce—or any team—comes with unique challenges and opportunities. In the end, a radical focus on people and their personal development continues to pay overwhelming dividends in better individual performance, team cohesion, and market success.

Want to help your sales team improve?
Lessonly helps hundreds of sales teams do just that. With faster onboarding, better training, and greater sales enablement—closed deals abound. Lessonly could be your sales team’s secret weapon. Take a tour today.

top 2017 workplace learning trends blog image

Insights from LinkedIn’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report [infographic]

Our mission is to help people do better work so they can live better lives. Every piece of our training software is designed with this end in mind. That’s why we were captivated by LinkedIn’s 2017 Workplace Learning Report. As we examine these trends, we’re convinced that great business culture leads to great business results. We hope this infographic informs and inspires you as you continue to develop learning programs for your team!

Top 2017 Workplace Learning Trends

View on SlideShare or share this infographic:

Democratize the Experience, Don’t Teach from the Top-Down

Democratize the Experience, Don’t Teach from the Top-Down

Today, more and more companies recognize the importance of engaging team learning. But a logical question often is, “what should that learning look like?”

This series of blogs spells things out pretty clearly: do this when building team learning, and don’t do that. These best (and worst) practices provide a framework for effective and engaging learning that increases employee productivity and confidence.

Do This: Democratize the learning experience

One of the fastest-growing trends in employee learning is democratizing—or crowdsourcing—company learning materials. According to eYeka’s 2016 Crowdsourcing Report, 85% of top-branded companies around the world have used crowdsourcing in the last 10 years.

Think about it: No one knows which training material is essential better than the employee in that role. Peer learning, democratized learning, and crowdsourced learning are a few of the many names for this practice, defined by professors David Boud, Ruth Cohen, and Jane Sampson in their book Peer Learning:

The term peer learning… suggests a two-way, reciprocal learning activity. Peer learning should be mutually beneficial and involve the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and experience between the participants.

At its core, democratizing learning taps into the knowledge a team already possesses, in order to build the materials it needs for training and learning. Building learning materials with the help of employees who know those processes best makes for superior learning materials that are easier for new team members to digest.

The process of democratizing learning can feel like a big task, but the right plan ensures that every employee with relevant knowledge is heard. Lessonly’s Definitive Guide to Democratized Learning takes a step-by-step approach to the planning process. Step one? Decide what you’re crowdsourcing. Are you looking for suggestions for your new hire onboarding process? Or maybe content on how to improve your sales team’s efficiency? The possibilities are endless, but you need to nail down a specific question or problem before you go any further.

With the proper planning and steps, employees get to have their say in what’s important in the company. When their voices are heard, both productivity and buy-in increase.

Not That: Don’t teach from the top-down

Avoid top-down teaching when building learning material. If new employees need to review documents or go through a training process, the outcome should be worth the effort. Employers who rely on off-the-shelf content to onboard and train their employees often cover subjects employees already know. These employers end up paying for the off-the-shelf content with the extra time it takes to get new hires up-to-speed. Studying material that they already know isn’t a good use of employee’s time either. However, if an onboarding plan includes Lessons created by existing employees and curated by managers, it will undoubtedly be more focused and worthwhile.

Democratize your team learning with Lessonly
Forward-thinking companies around the world use Lessonly to build effective learning programs that have tangible business outcomes. Take a self-guided, five-step tour of our team learning software and see how it works. Sign up today.

Let Employees Learn On Their Terms

Let Employees Learn on Their Terms, Not Yours

Today, more and more companies recognize the importance of engaging team learning. But a logical question often is, “What should that learning look like?”

This series of blogs spells things out pretty clearly: do this when building team learning, and don’t do that. These best (and worst) practices provide a framework for effective and engaging learning that increases employee productivity and confidence.

Do This: Let employees learn when, where, and how they want

The rise of online training software has enabled learners to engage with content anywhere, and a lot of science has emerged regarding individual learning styles and preferences. Even within a single office building, some employees prefer to learn at their desks while others are more comfortable learning in quiet meeting spaces.

Still, others might learn best in a context Jean Lave and Etienne Wegner coined “situated learning.” It says that more information is absorbed “when learning takes place in the same context in which it is applied.” So customer service or sales reps might understand information more if they consume it at the desk they’ll be calling from.

Online learning is essentially a necessity for remote employees. Beyond the time and cost savings related to travel, remote employees often benefit from a little more structure and training than their in-house counterparts. Basic office rules that are passed through casual in-person conversations can be codified in lessons that are assigned to remote employees.

Unless the information is mission-critical, there are huge benefits to allowing employees to train on their own time.


Time-of-day influences how well people learn. Early birds may have no trouble rising at the crack of dawn and sitting down to absorb information immediately, while night owls might prefer to stay up later for their studies. And both may feel downright woozy after a big lunch, therefore missing critical points of a lesson. As a result, managers should recognize that learners learn differently and aim to make them more comfortable in their environments.

So what’s the best practice? Send learners a lesson covering the basic knowledge that they need to know, and allow time for them to cover this information at their leisure, absorbing as much as they can. Managers can then focus face-to-face meetings on uncovering deeper meaning and applying the information. Allowing for this type of training to be completed on employees’ time puts less pressure on them, even if the knowledge is important. And by establishing a clear deadline, employees can maximize their learning effectiveness by diving into the material when they know will work best for them.


Learners can access training systems and software on many devices these days, and they’ll likely express preferences for using certain devices over others. Fortunately, there are many ways to accomplish the dream of mobile learning for organizations and their employees. The most popular mobile solution is learning software that is accessible from a web browser. Responsively-designed web content changes layout dynamically based on the screen size of the device looking at it—mobile phone, laptop, or desktop.

Choosing learning software that’s mobile-friendly immediately offers learners the flexibility to learn from a desktop, laptop, mobile phone, or a tablet. Employees can sit down and learn anywhere they have a web browser and connection to the internet. This degree of autonomy requires a certain level of trust, but also often creates more engaged learners.

Not That: Force employees to learn on your terms

These three points all have the same counterpoint: Don’t set overly-stringent rules for how your team takes their lessons.

Few things feel more insulting to learners than a timer saying they can’t move on until a predetermined amount of time elapses. Long, in-person training sessions that feature employees being talked at are not fun for anyone. Try to avoid approaches like these.

Forcing learners and employees to comply with company policies—or else face punishment—leads to disengaged and frustrated employees. But when planned correctly, employee-centered learning can be just as effective as those programs dictated completely by the company.

Build flexible team learning with Lessonly

Teams all around the world use Lessonly to support and enable their remote employees. Take a self-guided, five-step tour of our team learning software and see how it works. Sign up today.

Incentives are Key to Engaging Employee Training

Incentives are Key to Engaging Employee Training

There are two critical concepts to get employees to buy-in to training: interest and incentive. Without interest, employees will find it hard to concentrate—and without incentive, they’ll find it hard to finish what they start. Finding a balance between learning content that interests employees while helping them learn is a delicate balance, but one that JoAnne Wallace knows well.

JoAnne wore many hats over her 25 years with the logistics titan CSX, but much of her work was in trucking operations and safety compliance. “I worked with management there in setting policy,” JoAnne says. “I also managed a group that would oversee the compliance for contract drivers, worked very closely with our legal team in writing contracts, and I was also involved and did training for defensive driving.” With a myriad of training responsibilities other than defensive driving, JoAnne found quickly that defining a learner’s incentive boosts overall engagement in the training program.

Role of incentives in employee training

Employee training and development has an unfortunate history. Traditionally, companies treated training as a measure to protect themselves from an employee’s mistakes, rather than an investment in the employee’s potential. As technology becomes ubiquitous and employees demand more professional development, organizations are feeling the pressure to develop programs that benefit the employee as much as the company.

According to Deloitte’s most recent Human Capital Trends Report, “the issue of improving employee careers and transforming corporate learning emerged as the second most important trend in our survey of business executives.” Companies around the world are beginning to understand the power of well-planned training program on a company’s bottom line.

Introducing incentives turned out to be an effective way for JoAnne and her team at CSX to motivate their fleet of drivers, often independent contractors, to invest the time and effort into training that would ultimately make them better at their job. As short-term incentives, JoAnne offered gifts, gift cards, and other prizes that drivers could reap for putting in their time and effort to train. The trick was to also explain the longer-term value that drivers would earn from their time in training.

“We were sending out information to the drivers, getting excitement, having the fleet recruiters talk to them, and getting them signed up for the courses. We’d always make a point to describe how it would benefit them in their job, what the takeaways were, and how they could add to their resume and their career.”

These types of incentivized “carrots” weren’t actual prizes or giveaways, so JoAnne and her team worked hard to describe how the drivers and managers would benefit in the long-run by adding a host of training certificates to their resume. As they became more adept in their roles, they could take on different jobs and earn more money during their drives. Communicating these longer-term incentives was essential to success.

However, she noted that one of the critical parts to incentivizing training is knowing your audience. “It cannot be too long of a course, especially if it’s online because it just does not keep their attention,” JoAnne says.

Building incentives into CSX training

Even through these different challenges, JoAnne and her team saw real impact from activating incentivized online training software at CSX.

“It was really, really successful with the employees because from time to time, to ensure that they actually retained the information after a test or after the course, I would send questions out. And we would randomly send to different employees within the region and each one would have to answer the questions. It became fun, where people were actually asking, ‘Joanna, when are your next questions coming out, what’s the next course?’”

When measuring driver accidents, roadside inspections, overall vehicle inspections, and violations, JoAnne and her team also used a system of safety points and rewards to decrease certain types of accidents across the company. “There were less violations because we kept the focus on the drivers,” JoAnne says. “They could always go in and do the training. And, of course, the more they did, the more points they were rewarded. They were always working to increase their training numbers.”

By understanding what motivates the audience of learners, JoAnne and the team at CSX had a tangible impact on the bottom-line numbers of the world-wide company. That’s the power of building a properly incentivized training program.

Create engaging employee training with Lessonly

Thousands of learners use Lessonly every day to learn new material and better themselves in the workplace. See our team learning software for yourself with a self-guided, five-step tour of Lessonly. Sign up today.

Make Learning Unique, Not Generic

Make Learning Unique, Not Generic

In today’s workplace, more and more companies recognize building engaging team learning as a necessity, but the question often becomes, “what should that learning look like?”

We wanted to spell things out a little more clearly: do this when building team learning, and don’t do that. These best (and worst) practices can shape the framework of an effective and engaging learning program at any organization looking to increase employee productivity and confidence.

Do This: Build training content unique to your business

The first impression a company gives new employees in the new hire onboarding process will have a strong, lasting effect on their view of the company for the remainder of their tenure. When mapping out a training plan, make learning as customized to your team, and business, as possible.

When you tailor training to the unique personality and culture of your company, Learners have a more authentic, informed perspective from their first day of onboarding—and beyond. Learning should welcome new employees and explain the company’s mission, vision, and values. Ideally, it also explains the value of their team, and individual role, within the context of the larger organization.

Every company, organization, and group operates in its own unique way; you’ll be hard-pressed to find two sales cycles, software stacks, or product flows that look exactly the same. As a result, investing in customized learning, and taking the time to build Lessons about company-specific policies, processes, and approaches, improves consistency and employee engagement. We call these customized Lessons indigenous content—“company-specific knowledge of any kind that your employees recognize, right down to divisions, jobs, and people.”

There are a few specific areas of learning where this type of content really shines:

  • company mission
  • company culture
  • company values
  • institutional knowledge
  • proprietary information
  • job titles
  • industry acronyms

Well-documented, repeatable onboarding process are usually the most efficient and effective ones. See Lessonly’s Onboarding Process Chart for inspiration on where to start.

Not That: Rely only on pre-made content

Pre-built learning content assumes all companies are the same—regardless of size, industry, geography, or business model. It also attempts a one-size-fits-all approach to training employees. If you’ve worn a one-size-fits-all hat lately, you likely know how unsatisfactory this approach can be for apparel, much less employee learning.

All too often, pre-built, off-the-shelf modules, videos, and documents are either out-of-date or too generic to apply to a given business in a meaningful way. And time saved initially by purchasing off-the-shelf content is likely lost in the long run: employees either don’t absorb the information they need to know from the original generic content, or they require additional training to better understand the concepts.

Lastly, to many employees, off-the-shelf content feels like a half-measure leaves a bad taste in their mouths. Just listen to a Lessonly client’s recap of their previous training experience:

Someone in senior management thought an easy, off-the-shelf course would educate everyone conveniently and cheaply, but execution is everything.

Dated, generic content foisted on all employees created an immediate sense of resistance, especially in a department of very smart and capable people. Instead of fostering learning and building confidence, the company-first LMS bred resentment.

This is a common issue that plagues off-the-shelf learning content, but if crafting customized learning the right way is easy, why would anyone risk that resentment and resistance?

The best learning content is personalized

Lessonly allows teams of all sizes to easily build personalized learning programs that have tangible business outcomes. Take a self-guided, five-step tour of our team learning software and see how it works. Sign up today.