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How Online Staff Learning Leads To Business Growth

In one of our recent articles, Employee Motivation Ideas: Online Training, we looked at how online staff training is a great way to motivate staff. Especially as businesses continue to suffer the after-effects brought on by a global pandemic.

This time, our focus will be on the ways in which online staff leaning leads to business growth. Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor company, once said “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay”. Staff who are not up-skilled become stagnant. No new ideas, assets or bouts of creativity are brought into the business. Which increases the risk of that business not moving forward and not staying relevant to clients.

(Estimated reading time: 5 mins)

Let’s start by looking at how online learning helps to retain employees. And how that has a positive impact on business growth strategies.

Online Learning As A Rewards System For Employees

Happy staff are engaged. Motivated. Passionate about bringing new ideas to the table. They care.

Such staff should be rewarded. And rewards make staff happy. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg cycle. But it works.

Employee incentives come in all shapes and sizes but one of the most common motivation tools is financially based. A bonus; quarterly, monthly, annually. Something to strive for.

However, at a time when Covid-19 has caused widespread disruption as to how companies operate, a financially-based incentive is not always viable. This is where online staff training as a way to motivate employees comes in.

Online learning is accessible to all. Staff are able to, if appropriate, up-skill themselves after their working day has finished, from their own home. This maximises staff input but reduces financial outputs. There are also many free online courses. Check out the Nettl Scholarship if your business is in the graphic-arts sector and has had staff affected by the consequences of Covid. The programme offers free online courses in website design, selling SEO, sales and more.

Visibility On Progress & Growth Ladder

Online staff training also helps to retain people because it provides a platform through which employees can monitor their own progress. It also acts as a growth ladder. Financial incentives are good at motivating on a short-term basis. But new skills are eternal. They are the stepping stones for progression, something that a bonus cannot offer. Think about who you employ. The people who stand out are surely the staff you want to be with you forever. You value them, right? Why then, wouldn’t you want to increase their value?

Hubspot reported in 2018 that 37% of employees at companies that allow remote work believe that this work style hinders visibility (of progression). Last April, 46.6% of people in employment did some work at home. With this trend set to increase, now is a good time to re-think your staff incentives. Consider implementing online staff learning so that your employees feel visible. And that their career path is still as important as it was at a time when more of us worked in the office.

Having access to learning new skills will be a factor for those who are ambitious. And those are the types of employees you want to keep.

Continuity Of Clients

Happy staff leads to loyal customers. Passionate, enthusiastic employees garner long lasting relationships with clients. 6Q reports that it takes attitude, presence and attentiveness to start, nurture and maintain lengthy, fruitful customer relationships. “When an employee is happy in their workplace, they are not only far less likely to miss work (presence), they are also more likely to handle customer needs faster (attentiveness) and with much more positivity at that (attitude)”. Customers will reward businesses with a greater share of their wallet. Rather than seeking to transact with multiple suppliers, clients will feel attracted to enthusiastic staff who feel confident to handle multiple offerings. Multi-skilled teams who have access to online learning will keep clients sticky, first because of their attitude but then also because of their multifaceted skill-set. This greatly reduces the risk of client attrition.

Up-skilling staff online builds employee confidence. And the feeling of being valued. Who better to be client facing and a representative of your business than someone who embodies those traits?

This positivity is contagious. It will spread and lead to word-of-mouth referrals, better reviews and a greater share of voice. All of this leads to business growth.

Continuity For Clients

As a business owner, you will be less likely to lose employees who do not embody the traits we have discussed above. Clients will therefore have continuity in their work, which again, gleans greater loyalty and wallet share.

Online learning also allows staff to stay up-to-date on industry trends, sector specific news and new competitors. Having one or a few points of contact who can impart knowledge to customers is invaluable as the employee in question becomes a consultant, rather than a salesperson or account manager.

New skills mean new services to offer. New services offered means new revenue streams.

How many new services have you wanted to add recently? How many of those have gone live?

The Nettl partner network, the world’s largest network of print, web and design studios, reported a huge shift in client priorities, well before Covid-19 hit. Website design took over from print as ‘the thing’ that customers wanted to talk about, and transact with, first. Consequently, SEO was in high-demand, followed by PPC. Then, as the world was sent into lockdown, businesses big and small, new and old, realised the importance of their online presence. And the demand for digital services sky-rocketed.

Nettl partners, of which there are approx. 200 in the UK, were equipped because their staff had access to online learning. Their businesses pivoted and clients were able to be serviced. Graphic designers added website design theory and practice to their skillset, and then SEO and PPC, all complemented with those soft skills of customer experience, communication and organisation. Salespeople and those client facing understood how to effectively price and plan a greater variety of projects. Sometimes from their bedrooms.

Studios became the go-to expert for all of their client’s creative needs, allowing their businesses to grow, without having to recruit new staff.