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Employee Motivation Ideas: Online Training

It’s common to hear the phrase ‘clients come first’ when speaking to any business owner. This statement is sometimes used as an excuse for when a company neglects something of their own. Maybe their own marketing strategy has fallen down the priority list, because clients come first. Or maybe a team meeting has been postponed, because clients come first. But Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group, famously exclaimed that “clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

This article will specifically look at how online staff training can be used as an asset for employee motivation. And how aspects of online training can also lead to positive outcomes in business growth.

(Estimated reading time: 5 mins)

Online Staff Training & Staff Retention

Online staff training is extremely important in retaining good employees. Training has been, and will be, a major factor when identifying ways to motivate staff. According to Andy Grove, “There are only two ways in which a manager can impact an employee’s output: motivation and training. If you are not training then you are neglecting half the job”. Put time and effort into up-skilling your team and they will reward you with motivation, loyalty and gratitude. Staff training embodies praise. It also emparts the idea of a future. You train those who you wish to stay. And you wish them to stay because you value them and their role within your business structure.

But the fact that training is online carries huge advantages.

Remote working

It can be done from anywhere. And mostly, at any time. Give your team the key to an online learning platform and they unlock the ability to glean new knowledge, skills and resources at a time that works for them. A report published by LinkedIn in 2018 recorded that 58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace.

The events over the past year have intensified this. Many teams have spent the last 12 months working remotely. Juggling work and home-schooling, simultaneously being parent and employee. Invest in training that staff can work around home-life to demonstrate that you respect their work / life balance. And in turn they will reward you by bringing their motivation to work. Search for online training courses that your employees can work through at their own pace. Look for programmes that have a mixture of content, such as tutorial videos and group sessions, but that are structured, such as Nettl’s Training Academy. Giving staff visibility on course progress will help to stimulate motivation and will increase productivity.

Training on furlough

As of this month, circa 11.4 million people are using the government’s furlough scheme in some shape or form. Furlough restrictions however, do not apply to training. And with most of those 11.4 million people being based at home, online training courses again hold huge advantages. Use the furlough period time to up-skill staff for when they are brought back to work. Encourage your team to make the most of their non-working time and your reward will be new skills and knowledge which you can put to use when other businesses, and more of the economy, reopens. The Telegraph reports that The UK’s world-beating vaccination programme will speed up the economic recovery by six months”. Make sure your team feel ready.

Don’t underestimate how your employees are feeling. Many mental health organisations actively encourage businesses to keep in touch with employees who are on furlough. Check out advice from The Priory and Acas. Both stress the importance of staying connected with staff and reassuring them when you do so. Online training can provide huge benefits in adding structure and motivation to a day. And it’s a reason to stay in touch with your teams. Some online training courses are free and will accept staff who have been put on furlough as a result of the Covid pandemic.

Motivation for new starters

Of course you want to motivate current staff who you value. But online training also plays an essential role in motivating new employees. We all started somewhere – remember the combination of excitement and anxiety on your first day. Nearly 40% of new employees who leave their job do so within the first six months. Investing in training for newbies increases their motivation as value is felt from day one. The risk of them feeling underwhelmed, undervalued and wanting to leave, is reduced. TINYpulse findings reveal that employees who feel they’re progressing in their careers are 20% more likely to still be working at their companies in one year’s time.

Some businesses are thinking of furloughed employees in the same way as they consider new starters. Those who have been on furlough may also experience feelings of anxiety when returning to work, whether that remains remote or heading back to the office. For some, it may be a daunting thought. So take time to make sure the transition back to work is as positive and welcoming as possible. Could online training courses form part of a ‘welcome initiative?’ for them too?

Equality within the workplace

Online training courses for staff also embody equality. It overcomes the barriers of accessibility and distance, for everyone. Each employee has the same chance to up-skill themselves, regardless of where, or how they work. Team members who commute to work can access and download the same content as those who choose to work from home. This will increase the sentiment of equality across a workforce, even one which is working remotely.


Staff training and development is hugely important. Even before most of us were forced to work from home, online training has played a significant role in motivating employees. But it doesn’t just help to retain staff. We’ll also look at what advantages online learning for staff brings to the business itself in terms of growth.