Learning and development (L&D) is a fundamental part of the employee value proposition (EVP). Not only is it key for businesses to attract the employees and skills it desires, but also it’s core to keeping staff engaged. For example, offering corporate training opportunities and educational benefits can give companies a sustainable competitive advantage by developing skilled employees. However, this can only be successful when organizations get the employee digital experience right and, in turn, offer a level playing field for all employees to benefit from L&D resources.
Creating a Level Playing Field
The inconsistent digital employee experience is an issue for many organizations. Every remote or hybrid employee has a different set-up at home, whether they use remote working tools in a number of ways or have varying internet quality. But who can tell how each person’s digital experience affects their ability to function as well as possible on a daily basis? And furthermore, who has the insight to see how this affects their need for specific training and education?
For training to be successful in any organization, there has to be a level playing field of the human experience (HX) in the workplace. If an employee has poor broadband connectivity, how are they supposed to unlock any value from the training on offer if their audio fails, or their video drops out?
Ultimately, an inequitable digital employee experience will make training and education less accessible for some employees, rather than a benefit for the majority — which is doubling down on inequality. As a result, some employees will be hoovering up vast amounts of knowledge and skills, and others (who are struggling digitally) will be at risk of putting their career progression on hold due to factors outside of their control.
Furthermore, from a digital friction perspective, consider: How much is the digital workplace slowing your workforce down each year? This number can vary – with the average being around four to five days per year of wasted time per employee but potentially up to 30 days or more, according to Zippia. What if these lost days could be recovered and used for training purposes?
At the other end of the spectrum, when digital friction is slowing employees down by 30 days or more, these individuals are put at an incredibly disadvantaged position, with not enough time to do their job — let alone participate in training opportunities. It would be extremely valuable for any business to leverage this lost time back, especially for educational purposes, which will help to boost employee engagement, productivity and satisfaction.
Getting the Digital Experience Right
For businesses that get the digital employee experience right, training remote and hybrid workers can be an excellent way to encourage their career development and progression. But the challenge is ensuring that each learner’s digital experience is equitable and offers a fair playing field — which is often not the case.
Imagine if employers could measure their employees’ individual digital experiences in real-time. Or envision the possibilities if they could measure lost productivity as a result of a poor digital set-up, application by application, day by day. This no longer has to be an imagination but, instead, a reality if businesses invest in human-centric, data-driven processes.
Providing that the business has the right data and insights in place already, organizations can cost effectively acquire an exceptional depth of knowledge by regularly and in-depth determining how each individual feels about their digital workplace. As a result, companies can continuously improve their digital employee experience by identifying individuals who are experiencing digital inequity — such as employees who are struggling due to sound or visual issues — and provide them with the resources they need to stay on equal footing as their co-workers. This will help businesses create a level playing field, which from a training perspective, enables all employees to have a fair chance at career development and progression.
The intersection of the digital business environment and training can be extremely powerful. Digital training can be like drinking from a firehose, as it comes with an infinite number of possibilities and resources to learn from, which helps to drive employee engagement, retention and productivity. And when your workforce feels like they are not only enjoying their work, but also are constantly learning and developing, it is probable that they will have high job satisfaction, since they are both personally and professionally developing. This, in turn, ties back to the EVP, with training playing a valuable factor from a career development standpoint, helping organizations to stand out in a competitive job market.
By having a better understanding of what makes an equitable employee experience (and what doesn’t), training leaders will have a framework from which to create digital equity, as well insight into areas for improvement and further training from a cultural perspective.
If businesses are to harness learning as part of their EVP, relating to retention, productivity and satisfaction — ultimately creating sustainable competitive advantage — then they have to create a level playing field and get the employee digital experience right. There remains an incredible opportunity for organizations to create an environment that exposes all employees to training and learning opportunities, enabling them all to “drink from the firehose” and continue to learn and develop, regardless of where they’re logging on from.