Employee productivity keeps things running smoothly within a business organization. High productivity has a positive impact on operational costs and customer satisfaction, which, in turn, affects the company's bottom line. Productive employees also contribute to a great work environment and company culture. It's no wonder that managers obsess over the key indicators and hard metrics of employee productivity.
As any HR professional would say, the human resource is the most important resource a company has. But humans are hard to measure. Plus, many factors influence employee productivity on any given day. Turning to technology may not be the best or only solution, but it definitely helps identify and monitor some of these factors, allowing managers to make informed decisions to improve productivity.
While there are many types of online tools that can be useful, I'm going to focus in this article on learning technologies and explore three ways in which they can help to improve employee productivity:
Increased employee engagement
Engagement and productivity go hand in hand. You can't really have one without the other. Learning platforms host training modules and other supporting materials, ideally connected on a personalized learning path for each employee. After years of development, in terms of technology and adult learning science, learning platforms employ various effective strategies to keep users engaged.
A perfect example of a strategy that translates beyond the Talent Development department into the organization as a whole is gamification — the art of applying game-based elements to serious business environments. Within a training course, an employee receives points, badges, or other rewards for completing learning activities. They can always see their progress and even share it with other course participants. Organization-wide, performance tracking, sharing progress, and getting recognition from both managers and peers, are aspects that contribute to high employee engagement rates. Gamification is a fun and measurable way of increasing productivity, and learning platforms are the perfect place for designing it.
MATRIX Guide: How to make learning engaging with gamification
Businesses across the US lose millions due to poor communication to and between employees. According to a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, minor workplace communication issues can snowball into larger ones, such as delay or failure to complete projects, low morale, and missed performance goals. Many business operations have moved online because of the global pandemic, and so there are no reasons to believe the situation has improved. On the contrary, online interaction comes with an additional set of challenges.
Group chats (e.g., Slack), video conferencing (e.g., Zoom), file-sharing solutions (e.g., Dropbox), and various other collaboration tools allow employees to discuss ideas, get support, and find solutions as problems arise. Learning technologies such as a Learning Management System (LMS) can integrate all these tools (and more) into a centralized and secure environment. Besides streamlining communication processes, learning technologies support informal learning and instills a sense of community among employees.
Continuous learning culture
Today's employees place a lot of value on continuous professional development opportunities. So much so that LinkedIn found that 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. Since employee retention inevitably affects productivity rates, investing in training programs makes sound business sense.
Learning technologies make it possible to design engaging training modules and deliver personalized learning experiences for employees based on their current knowledge and interests that align with personal and organizational training objectives. From onboarding (even remotely) to compliance training to new policies, tools, or methods of work, online training programs accurately bridge skill gaps and support a continuous learning culture within the organization. When people find it easy to learn from one another through a shared platform and get relevant support exactly when needed, they tend to be more loyal and focus on their productivity.
Learning technologies may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about employee productivity, but they can help immensely. Learning technologies contribute to increased employee engagement, supports effective communication, and are a central tool to a continuous learning culture — all of which have an impact on productivity. Therefore, HR departments need to work closely with learning specialists to make the most of them.