Continuous Learning – The Essential Next Step After Onboarding

Author Martin Oliva Date Sep 13 2020

This is part two of a two part series from EduMe on training, motivating and engaging new hires. Read part one on Onboarding Training here

After applicants go through Fountain’s seamless hiring flow and are successfully onboarded via EduMe, so they can start working confidently and productively as quickly as possible, you need to keep them engaged. 

You aren’t quite out of the churn danger zone yet. Poor (or no) training would cause 51% of employees to quit their job. This is where the third step – continuous learning – comes in. 

The what and why of continuous learning

Continuous learning means gaining new skills and knowledge – in a personal or professional capacity – on an ongoing basis. 

It’s necessary for companies to execute as a strategy over the long-term because as long as you have people working for you, there will be a continual demand for new information and knowledge.

The point of a continuous learning strategy is to ensure you don’t lose the momentum and excitement built up during the hiring and onboarding stage. 

Otherwise, you risk suffering poor retention rates (which over time will deteriorate your brand’s reputation) as well as the immediate consequence that is the cost of turnover, which can cost 2.5 times an individual’s salary.

Why – aside from retaining people – is it important?

  1. It improves workforce performance

Learning is the key to engaged employees – 80% of people report learning new skills engages them. 

It’s no secret that engaged employees perform more highly. They get up in the morning with a sense of purpose, are motivated and care about the quality of their work. 

The results of employee engagement are well documented – from 21% increased profitability, to 41% lower absenteeism. If your workforce is engaged they are performing at their very best, and you outperform competitors by 202%.

  1. It improves customer experience

Only engaged employees can deliver high levels of customer service. Their desire to do so comes naturally. They are purposeful, fulfilled and happy in their role and these feelings radiate from them when they interact with your customers. 

Consistently high levels of customer service is what turns your customers into brand evangelists. 

Every interaction makes a difference – 43% of customers left brands after poor experiences, 77% of which were a result of an employee’s bad attitude. 

  1. It keeps you competitive

Having your employees upskilled in an ongoing, consistent and tailored way means as a whole, your company is more resilient to unexpected changes.

For example, companies that upskilled their employees on remote working were able to adapt to work from home mandates with greater ease than companies who hadn’t upskilled their employees. 

But as much as it’s about being able to productively respond to change, sudden or otherwise, continuous learning is equally important for driving change.

Innovation comes from new ideas. News ideas don’t emerge from a vacuum – they are generated from proactive learning and the transfer of information between individuals. 

  1. Millennials and Gen Z value it

Millennials and Gen Z after them are growing to make up the global workforce in increasing numbers. Deloitte predicted that in just 5 years, the global workforce will be 75% Millennial. 

Like other generations, these demographics have a checklist of what they want from a prospective employer or company they are providing services to. Something that ranks highly on this checklist – more so than on their predecessors’ – is professional development.

87% of Millennials rate professional development as extremely important, but just over half (53%) are disappointed with their company’s commitment to continuous learning. 

That makes sense, but how do you implement a continuous learning strategy?

  1. Choose the right learning tool

The first step in delivering valuable continuous learning is choosing the right tool to disseminate information. You need to meet your peoples’ demand for knowledge and information in a timely, relevant way to successfully engage them. 

57% of people expect to learn “on-demand” – that is, receive information at the point they need it, in a medium and format that seamlessly fits around the tasks in their working day, rather than learning that wipes out working hours and becomes a task in itself. 

For example, say you’ve rolled out no-contact deliveries as a new measure. Couriers work on-the-go, with limited access to technology. 

So, it’d be no use if you’re using a web-only based, dated LMS to send someone a 30-minute video on contactless delivery best practice. It’s inaccessible – they won’t receive it at the time they need it, and on account of its length and format, they probably won’t remember much of the information.

Accessibility and delivery are everything – pick a tool that your people can access anytime, anywhere and through which you can deliver information in an engaging manner that matches modern learners’ needs and expectations. 

  1. Identify gaps in knowledge

Some things you want to upskill people on will be obvious, as they are less of a want and more of a requirement. Things that fall under this umbrella would be Compliance or Health & Safety training. 

Beyond this, what is it you want, or need to improve? What are your KPIs? How can you upskill individuals to better meet those? 

Another option that is highly valued by your workforce is to ask them. Send out a pulse survey on knowledge gaps. Creating a feedback loop has mutual benefit – it informs future learning for you, and it makes your workforce 4.6 times more likely to perform at their very best. This is because people value feeling that their voice is heard.

  1. Make learning engaging

Not only do modern learners want learning to fit in around tasks in the flow of their working days, but as the average attention span has decreased to only 8 seconds, they want it to be short and to the point. 

Deliver learning in small, bite-sized chunks (i.e. microlearning) to maximise its impact. This makes learning fun and engaging, which increases peoples’ desire to do it again, of their own accord, in the future. And the more people consume a piece of information, the more likely they are to remember it. 

  1. Look at the data

What is your course report dashboard telling you? Did people start the learning to begin with? Did they start the learning, then x out of the lesson? Was there a certain lesson people struggled with or question many got wrong? 

Based on the numbers, you can piece together the puzzle. You will be able to see what people need training on next. If many struggled on a topic, they may need additional support on that subject. If people started a lesson then clicked away, your content might not be very engaging. If no one is starting the lesson, you might need to look into a different strategy for alerting them about the new learning material.

What could continuous learning look like for me?

It’s hard to give an example of continuous learning that will be relevant to every reader – each team or individual’s continuous learning journey will be different based on their role, industry and unique learning needs. 

But if we take the example of the on-demand industry, and food delivery within it, you could set continuous learning up around driver performance, skills development or time relevant events.

A driver might be struggling with ratings and as a result, have dropped off. Re-engage them with helpful learning on best practice for interacting with restaurants or customers. 

Or, after 50 successful deliveries, you’d send drivers guidance on how to maximise tips. After 200, it might be time for a refresher course on food safety and hygiene. 

Maybe you’re rolling out a new recognition program, or launching a new feature. You’d create learning to go out surrounding the ins and outs of these new initiatives. 

If you’d like to see how you can use EduMe’s mobile-based training platform to train, inform and engage employees, contractors, freelancers or clients beyond hiring and onboarding, get in touch and we can show you what a continuous learning journey could look like for you.


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About the Author

Chief People Officer

Martin Oliva

Martin Oliva leads the People function at Fountain. His experience ranges from startups to Fortune 500 companies, where he has been instrumental in searching for creative ways to develop teams and effective strategies that allow the business to thrive.