How to Optimize Corporate Learning in SMEs and Get the Most Out of It

In the last two years of the ordeal with COVID-19, there have been quite a few “new normals” which resulted from the pandemic. Because of these changes and new formats of handling working policies and approaches, many businesses had to re-evaluate their L&D strategies developed for corporate training of employees. And as the world is moving closer to another year and about to take a step into 2022, SMEs face an urgent necessity to rethink how they need to deliver their in-house learning and development (L&D) programs in the near future. 

There is no secret that many companies are concerned about spending too much money on the training of their employees in 2021-2022. This way of thinking omits the fact that if they don’t provide training, they won’t be able to utilize their human resource to the optimum. But by imparting L&D activities and training, the company is thinking long-term. And workers do recognize that too.  

For example, some recent stats from the McKinsey survey recent research reflect the increase in the demand for better L&D training among corporate workers and staff:

  • About 74% out of almost 4,500 surveyed employees stated that they don’t feel like they have been achieving full potential at their workplaces. Many of them believe that this happens because there is a shortage of development opportunities for them. 
  • Not more than 12% of workers confessed that they learned skills during their job training that they found useful and could actually apply to their job. 
  • Only about 38% of managerial staff said that their learning programs actually meet learners’ needs to the fullest extent. 

This statistic means that if companies invest enough resources in L&D programs, they’d build a solid bridge between themselves and their staff. And effective L&D training would pave a better way for employees retention and increase employees engagement, as well as loyalty.

So, how can SMEs optimize their L&D initiatives in 2021-2022? Let’s go ahead and talk about it in this blog post!

What are the reasons that hold SMEs back from imparting L&D training to their employees?

The end of 2021 has brought the harsh truth that the number of people of almost any age or level of professional skills, who no longer have much faith in corporate loyalty towards employees, only keeps growing. The reason for that is the constant race for profit which is paramount where people are just numbers. But how does it look from the corporate angle?

There is one problem that companies are concerned about in 2021 – rapid staff turnover. These are the cases of lack of commitment and staff circulation, which makes it hard for businesses to commit to long-term plans. Some employees would even clearly state on their first day of hire that they intend to stick around for just like a year or so and then just move on and find another job. Obviously, loyalty goes both ways here and affects training initiatives. And some unexciting facts regarding 2021 L&D initiatives in the corporate world state it clearly with numbers:

  • The percentage of managers who are not satisfied with L&D initiatives in their companies is about 75%. 
  • The amount of workers who think they don’t have enough skills for delivering the best job performance is over 60%. 
  • There is an impressive 99% of L&D professionals who believe that current skill gaps will impact industries and businesses in a very negative way during the coming year. This includes overall product quality, customer experience, ability to innovate and stay up-to-date with rapid changes. 
  •  50% of managers with 10+ years of experience said they had about 9 to 10 hours of actual training. 

Today, it seems like almost a half of employees believe that their company’s current training is out of date and that it needs some serious improvements. The reason is that whenever it comes down to the L&D strategies, SMEs put their main emphasis on the technologies required for a smooth workflow. No secret, every company needs to keep at least a few tech-savvy workers on staff. But, on the other hand, new normals and a lack of funds force today’s job market to look for skilled professionals who already had training. But have just been out of work for a while. And again, this affects L&D initiatives for most companies not in a good way.

Even though a good number of large businesses hire hundreds of interns all the time and throughout the year, this is not enough to solve the problem. These companies do provide newbies with decent training from the first day of work, but they also know that a majority of them will wash out over their first two years or so. And this is why it becomes cheaper to hire employees who are qualified right from the start. Well, it does sound like a much easier way to handle the problem rather than investing funds in L&D training and then seeing people go for a post-training raise to competitors. A prime example can be found in banking where tellers, once they are trained and gain at least little experience, simply move on to another bank. But even though things like that happen, L&D training still exists and it’s still recognized as a great opportunity investment in people. The question is how can companies optimize their substantial training, coaching, and mentoring

So, let’s talk about some of the effective steps that can be taken by SMEs for optimization of their L&D strategies right on spot.

What steps can SMEs take for optimization of their L&D strategies right on spot?

Evaluate current knowledge and levels of skills across your business

3 effective approaches that should help you evaluate current knowledge of your staff:   

  • employees’ feedback
  • performance metrics
  • Bloom’s taxonomy (also shows whether employees are able to apply their knowledge successfully). 

If you go by using Bloom’s taxonomy approach, it should help you focus better on developing course learning outcomes. Use it as a checklist for ensuring that all levels have been assessed. Then align assessment methods with the appropriate L&D activities and methodologies. Use Bloom’s taxonomy to: 

  • Remember 
  • Understand 
  • Apply 
  • Analyse 
  • Evaluate 
  • Create 

Use competency maps for assessing the most solid strengths of your staff and identifying pitfalls and weaknesses

Once you collect enough info, you will be able to see where the gaps are and what unique needs your business has at the moment. For example, if there is a certain department that experiences skill gaps that are almost critical, this can cause a huge impact on your company’s business performance and limit your customers’ experience. But you can prevent such things from happening, with the timely optimization of your L&D strategies in the right areas.

Make a reassessment of business goals and see how they align with your current L&D strategies

Usually, this helps to boost effectiveness and build more value for your learning and development strategies. But it is also something that about 40% of SMEs struggle with because of outdated  L&D practices within the company. What can you do here? Use a common metric to measure the success of L&D activities by evaluating participation, as well as completion rates. These metrics should provide you with a clearer picture of how attendance impacts business performance and give you a good insight into better ways to align your L&D objectives with your important business goals.

Identify what kind of potential online L&D activities would be the best for your SME and will help you achieve objectives

In actuality, there is a vast variety of online L&D activities that can be utilized effectively for achieving objectives, such as online coaching, mentoring, online lectures, online courses, seminars, live webinars, discussions, and debates, gamification, you name just a few.  

Also, try these approaches for your L&D activities because they’ve proved themselves highly efficient in terms of staff training:

  • job shadowing 
  • guided learning 
  • peer learning 
  • microlearning
     

Let’s pretend your business is aware of some knowledge and skills gaps within the customer service department. In this case, instead of following the generic learning training, you can opt to get your staff to meet in groups online to discuss the real case studies that they have picked from an actual workload. The strengths and weaknesses of customer service should be easily identified within the case studies that people will discuss in groups. If you keep your L&D activities relevant to your current business needs, it will help you achieve objectives and increase engagement with time. Also, you determine which activities you can mix together, scale, and implement for making a bigger impact on your business processes.  

Optimize your L&D strategies by investing resources in e-Learning technologies  

With the rapidly growing field of eLearning, investing time, money, and efforts into online learning technologies is probably one of the best decisions that businesses can make today. eLearning is not only about the value-adding L&D activities but is more about performance metrics that can be implemented much easier with online technologies. 

And which can help businesses make better decisions about the most effective L&D technologies to invest in.  

Luckily, in 2021, eLearning doesn’t require SMEs to invest lots of effort and funds in online learning since there are many options of already-made business solutions that exist in the world of the eLearning industry today. One such solution, which perfectly fits into the needs of L&D strategies for SMEs is Grinfer For Business. This is one of the most affordable personalized e-learning solutions that can help SMEs grow businesses and empower teams with no hassle and no headache. This platform not only offers 24/7 on-demand skills upgrades but also provides rapid upskilling and reskilling by being incredibly mobile. 

Grinfer Business was developed to provide only the most relevant content to the whole team. The learning experience continuously improves by learners’ engagement analytics and curated custom course lists.

Targeted workshops, personalized learning paths, free live webinars and masterclasses from top instructors, 1,200+ online courses, and more – all these are offered to teams in one place. This solution works effectively for building teams’ hard and soft skills, finding a new creative outlet, scaling, and accomplishing goals in the continuous business process. In addition, it will provide enough data for building long-term learning and development plans with custom reports and learners’ engagement rates.  

Collaborate with the right eLearning solution that can build a continuous cycle of learning with easy access on demand

Any SME can greatly benefit from a consistent approach in eLearning solutions. If you build a continuous cycle of learning, this will not only contribute to a corporate culture within your SME but will also add a competitive edge. This is one of the good ways to encourage staff to become more productive and efficient in their business performance.

With Grinfer For Business, any team will be able to embrace the learning experience to the fullest. Here are the key reasons why it will work for you:

  • Easy-to-use platform to involve teams actively in the learning process.
  • Courses relate to real-work situations/scenarios.
  • Advanced easy-to-use multimedia that works well for everyone regardless of the preferred way of learning.
  • High-quality video, audio content, as well as game elements added to online courses.
  • Everything is set up for the purpose to increase the absorption rate and break the monotony.

Grinfer For Business solution can improve processes across the business and that’s what helps to boost overall business performance. And this is what any SME needs: to increase employees’ productivity and engagement efficiently without having to make costly investments into L&D activities.

Bottom-line

Yes, well-delivered and effective employees training is the best investment that any company can make in their staff. The problem is that businesses often see it also as an expense that can go to waste. Especially if employees leave on short notice while looking for better job opportunities. So, finding the most engaging but yet effective learning solutions that would encourage staff to stay and keep upscale their knowledge is what SMEs need.

On the contrary, try to be as creative as needed. Just make sure that you channel your creative approaches in the right way because your staff doesn’t need to feel like they’ve been absorbing too much information. Again, a timely evaluation of the learning progress with tests will draw a clear picture of how your staff is progressing. In fact, in addition to many other eLearning solutions, the Grinfer learning platform can also become your good learning source, which is able to fully support the entire process of learning and help to build knowledge fast and easy.  

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