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Top 10 Ways to Motivate Employees to Learn

Balancing everyday tasks with learning and development is a constant struggle for employers and employees. Completing daily tasks is important, but so is professional development—it’s critical for organizations to motivate their workers to learn.
 
The need to improve learning and development is the top-rated trend in Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends report. And in its 2019 Workplace Learning Report, LinkedIn reports that 94% of employees say they would stay longer at a company if that company invested in their learning and development.
 
What are ways to motivate employees to learn, and help them to master the balancing act of working and consistently gaining new skills? Here are 10 tips to do just that.
 
1) Regularly schedule learning sessions
Show employees that making time for learning is not only okay, but also encouraged. Consider scheduling learning sessions—in the form of classes, meetings, or discussions—at regular intervals.
 
2) Offer options for required, in-person training
The more flexible you are when it comes to required training, the easier it will be for your employees to meet the requirements. If you’re scheduling in-person classes, consider offering multiple time slots. Or, if necessary, allow employees to take online courses as a substitute for in-person sessions. 
 
3) Keep content light and easy to digest
Learning shouldn’t feel like a second job. Choosing content that lays out each concept in the clearest way possible will help with employee motivation. Microlearning can have a major impact here—it breaks learning concepts down into small, easy to digest bites. Once learning is complete, provide employees with helpful resources to reinforce lessons learned. Encourage them, for example, to teach what they’ve learned to others.
 
4) Recognize achievements
One important employee motivation strategy is to create a workplace culture that values learning and expresses that value in a tangible way. Celebrate employees who complete courses or required learning sessions. Technology can help—implement a learning management system that offers social features like leaderboards, badges or other gamification tools that make a friendly competition out of learning. 
 
5) Make learning available on-demand
Today’s workforce is dispersed and often on the go—make learning available to them whenever they’re ready to absorb it, on whatever device they prefer. Cornerstone’s Learning Suite, for example, is available across devices and on-demand, so that employees can access it at any time. Workers (and their managers) can even create learning playlists to return to at a later time.
 
6) Think about branding
If food looks like it tastes good, you're more likely to eat it, right? The same goes for learning consumption. When choosing or creating educational materials, consider elements like color choice, layout and word choice. Is your company culture vibrant? Find fun, snappy ways to introduce each concept. For example, LinkedIn’s report praises the mid-sized software company ServiceTitan for its recognizable learning brand. A logo and brand colors draw employees in, the report explains. Plus, work-related jokes sprinkled into emails help keep things light. 
 
7) Consider cross-departmental training
Encourage employees who work in different departments to learn from each other. A holistic approach to workplace education makes for employees who not only understand their own jobs, but understand the company as a whole.
 
8) Encourage employees to attend conferences
Push employees to pack their bags, get out of the office and spend a few days learning and networking with others in the field. Aside from coming back with new knowledge, employees will return inspired by new friends who are doing great things in the field — and that’s a huge motivator.
 
9) Offer feedback and guidance on a regular basis
Gently hold employees accountable for learning and development by scheduling regular meetings to talk about progress. This will motivate employees by giving them the opportunity to both ask questions and report their efforts. (And you, as the employer, will have a chance to offer support and praise.) A learning management system can also make delivering feedback easier by regularly providing managers with insights and analysis of employees’ learning progress.
 
10) Mix learning and fun
Inherently, learning is exciting. But for the less academically-inclined, it can be a struggle, so get creative. Not all learning takes place in a classroom. Consider scheduling a trip to a relevant interactive museum, or implementing monthly learning lunches. Sometimes, the less something feels like learning, the more effective it can be.
 
Ready for a learning software that’ll motivate your employees to constantly keep growing and gaining new skills? Learn more about Cornerstone’s Learning Suite today!