Growth through digital learning

Growth through digital learning

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, numerous organizations and managers are understandably in a crisis mood. There is a risk that survival will take over and learning and skills development projects that are vital to future success will fade to the background to wait for better times. Now, if ever, it is important to invest in competence development, and digital learning provides an impressive pathway for this.

Over the past year, we have learned to hold effective meetings, do sales work and maintain customer relationships online. Digital tools enable flexible remote work and interaction conveniently.

Online training has for a long time been a part of the available range of learning tools, and the pandemic crisis has created a digital leap in both educational institutions and companies. Unfortunately, however, online training is often reduced to a mere sharing of documents and presentations or talking head videos on the learning platform.

Effective e-learning is a carefully thought-out entity that includes for instance the following:

  1. Learning objectives have been thought out and set for the training and form the basis on which both the content and the related tasks are planned.
  2. The objectives are measurable, so at the end of the training it is possible to assess how well the learning objectives were achieved.
  3. The entity is consistent, appropriately paced and progresses logically.
  4. The broader entity is divided into modules and into sections according to the themes to be learned. Entities that are too long and heavy will not promote learning.
  5. The content is designed in a user-oriented way and the entity contains various elements and interactive tasks that activate the learners and support learning.
  6. The training includes social elements where users can share what they have learned, give tips and discuss the topics.
  7. The training provides analytical information that can be used to monitor learning and develop the content further.

Learning forms the basis not only for overcoming a crisis but also for future success and growth – both at the organizational and individual level. In these times, promoting digital learning is more important than ever. However, organizing digital learning in companies requires special skills, technologies and resources.

To help you and your company to get started, Intolead has implemented a visual guide in the form of an online course on the building blocks of effective online training. If you are considering how digital learning should be integrated into your company’s strategy, or if you are preparing an online training or a related call for tenders, this guide is for you.

After completing the online course, you will understand what the learning objectives are, what makes up effective online training, what benefits online training can bring to your training strategy, and what things to consider when preparing a call for tenders for digital learning.

 

Digital sales is the new normal

Digital sales is the new normal

The year 2020 changed the way we work. Sales did not escape change either, and face-to-face customer meetings were replaced by digital and remote sales. It is very likely that some of the changes will remain permanent. This in turn means that salespeople need to develop their own skills as required by the new normal in sales.

One likely development is the proliferation of hybrid sales models. Sales meetings that focus purely on informing the customer will continue to be based on online meetings. At the same time, customers expect even more value added and expertise from salespeople to develop the customer’s business. Salespeople need to be able to act as coaches, to facilitate workshops and to build customer value together with the customer. The importance of new interaction skills as part of a salesperson’s job description rises to a new level.

Competitive advantage from understanding the customer and the market

The new normal in sales requires even better preparation for appointments. One good way to support this is to introduce tools for accumulating and refining customer and market understanding. One such tool is the Insight Architecture model, which enables the salesperson to systematize the processing of information about customers, markets and competitors, for instance to build distinctive sales messages. The model also helps to better understand the customer’s business and provides a good foundation for building meaningful appointments. This skill is expected even more from the salespeople in the future – regardless of whether the meeting is arranged online or face-to-face.

The importance of internet is emphasized

The year 2020 significantly accelerated the digital transition in sales. In sales the digital shift can be seen in two different ways. First, companies and organizations must now, at the latest, invest in their own digital channels. Customers are searching for more and more information independently online, and this automates some of the steps in the sales process. Businesses need to be able to produce relevant and engaging content for the customers. This supports the customer’s buying process and accelerates sales.

Second, the digital shift affects the salespeople’s work such that they must be able to influence customers’ purchasing decisions and choices also on digital channels. Social selling capabilities, for instance in terms of influencing their own network, are emphasized. In addition, salespeople need to be able to better master digital facilitation and consultative sales skills. Naturally, the salesperson’s own digital profile must also be in order and support company-level sales and marketing messages.

The basics in sales are the same as before

Despite the change in sales and the growing role of the internet, the basics of sales are still the same as before. The salesperson’s key professional skills include building trust with the customer. This is best done by preparing well for sales appointments, listening and understanding the customer, being proactive, and showing your own personality to win the customer’s trust.

Check out this brief nano-training, and you will get more practical tips for your sales work.

 

Engage your employees with online training

Engage your employees with online training

Previously acquired expertise has an expiry date, and for many of us it is already behind us. The life cycle of competence is shortening in the transition of work, and investing in employee training is becoming increasingly essential for the success of companies. By taking your training online, you can free up resources, increase job satisfaction, and engage your employees.

It is in the self-interest of companies to ensure that the competence and tasks of employees match each other in terms of both knowledge and skills. Therefore, more attention must also be paid to competence management. It will help companies to remain competitive also in the future. Investing in competence development is a strategic choice for an organization, so building a culture of continuous learning begins with the leadership. Is your company committed to it?

 

Free up resources for better use

Organizing face-to-face training requires time, money, premises, and equipment. Online training is not only cost-effective, but also environmentally friendly, due to reduced travel associated with training events. From the business perspective, the best thing about online training, in addition to learning new skills, is that the time saved can be used for productive work.

The scale of investment required for e-learning varies. You can get started, for example, by acquiring a single course or learning module from an external partner, providing information on a given topic. At the other end of the scale it can mean investing in your own learning environment that actively supports employee competence development. Of course, there are also cost-effective, cloud-based solutions for this.

 

You can only win by training your company’s employees

According to research*, companies with a committed workforce are up to 20% more profitable than others. In keynote speeches, almost every manager agrees that staff engagement is critical to the business. Yet, in practice actions are often limited. Commitment to the organization can be facilitated by having challenging work tasks, internal and external training, coaching and mentoring, as well as the benefits derived from them.

With training, it is possible to promote job satisfaction and flexibility in work tasks. As learning develops work and benefits the work community, it pays off to value the employees and provide them with time to study during working hours.

 

A committed employee is your company’s most important asset because he or she will
  • follow the company’s strategy
  • trust the management
  • want to develop the company’s operations
  • improve the company’s turnover
  • increase customer satisfaction
  • find their own work meaningful
  • feel motivated and want to achieve the goals set
  • provide better quality work and be more productive
  • give positive impression of the organization, and strengthen the employer image

We at Intolead are experts in digital learning and can help you in building effective training solutions that support your company’s competence development needs. Our engaging and user-centric contents are always pedagogically high-quality and visually inspiring. If you have something to ask about e-learning, please contact us. Together, we can create a training solution that best serves your needs. Check out also our digital learning services.

*Source: Forbes (2018): Four Lessons From Companies That Get Employee Engagement Right

Developing future skills as part of strategic planning and everyday work

Developing future skills as part of strategic planning and everyday work

Working life is rapidly renewing with digitalisation and emerging technologies. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2020 report*, by 2025 most companies’ employees will need new skills. Companies should therefore take a proactive approach to the challenges posed by the transformation and integrate competence development into their strategy. The critical competence needs of the future can be identified in an agile way through Intolead’s Future skills process. The quick and effective method will help create a concrete plan for developing future skills at the team level.

 
Towards a culture of lifelong learning

How can companies respond to the changing job demands caused by the turmoil of working life? By actively promoting a culture of lifelong learning in the work community. This is one of the most important aspects in utilizing and managing competence in organizations. However, the adoption of lifelong learning requires an attitudinal and cultural change in our relationship with learning.

On-the-job learning has been talked about in working life for a long time, but in practice formal education still seems to dominate, and often also employees expect that. It is therefore necessary to further strengthen future skills and awareness of the need for continuous development and learning. Supporting self-direction is also essential: developing competence is everyone’s responsibility, not just the employer’s or the supervisor’s.

When competence development is integrated into strategic planning, it is directly linked to the direction and goals of the organization. In addition to the actual core competencies, companies should also develop the meta-skills of their personnel. These include, for example, the employee’s ability to manage their own work processes, manage hurry, take advantage of digital tools, communicate and network effectively, try new ways of working, and solve problems creatively. These skills support everyday learning, adoption of something new and wellbeing at work. They support both the individual, the work community and the company, and build the capacity for change and confidence in the future.

Competences and competence needs highlighted through systematic Future Skills work

The Future Skills method developed by Intolead can be used to map future competence needs and create a plan to develop them at the team level. The process also reveals the personnel’s current level of competence and hidden competences as well as the most critical competence gaps in relation to the jointly identified future skills.

During the work that lasts two weeks, the areas of competence that are critical for the future success of the company are identified and a concrete competence development plan and milestones are developed together to improve the company’s future stamina. The plan uses the 70/20/10 model, in which 70% of learning is based on independent learning at work, 20% on learning from others and 10% on learning through actual training. Much of learning takes place in the workplace by working and by exposing oneself to new challenges.

A key premise in the process is that competence development is linked to the company’s strategy, and employees are activated to reflect on and develop their own and their team’s future skills. This strengthens flexibility and the ability to change at the individual, team and company levels. Other benefits of the Future Skills method for the company include a better view of recruitment needs and the creation of a direct feedback channel for management to support strategic planning. This will ensure that the organization continues to have the best expertise at its disposal, also in the future. The goal is that individuals learn to learn and that the culture of lifelong learning flourishes in the work community. If you want support for the renewal of competences or for the future challenges of your company, we are happy to help. Contact us at info@intolead.com and ask for more!

 

*Source: World Economic Forum: The Future of Jobs 2020

Focusing on values that embrace humanity and sustainability

Focusing on values that embrace humanity and sustainability

Rethinking work

To take care of the well-being of their employees, businesses need to rethink how they structure assigned work. This will depend on the internal workings and culture of the company. Employing technology, AI and automation can allow employees to have shorter workdays, work remotely and thus optimize their efficiency. Technology is changing the way we work, and the traditional approach to work is no longer sufficient to meet everyone involved in the business’ needs. We need new, efficient ways to conduct processes.

 

Authenticity

Gen Z are digital natives, and they are entering the world of work and simultaneously becoming the biggest consumer market. What makes Gen Z different is that they are extremely focused on authenticity, diversity, inclusivity, equality, sustainability, and ethical consumption. To cater to this population, businesses need to make sure that they are producing products that have small to non-existent carbon footprints. Authentic brands and companies embody their values and culture as well as conduct all their actions wholly based on this. They live and stand by their values and make decisions accordingly. Brands and businesses need to be inclusive of, or cater to, people of all ability levels. They have to embrace equality and diversity.

 

Sustainability

Sustainability is a massive trend and can be seen in all industries, from fashion to food to tourism and architecture. Consumers are highly eco-conscious, and they want to know where their products come from. This can be done by using technology in labeling or on the packaging that allows the consumer to see from where their product or produce originated, which path it followed to get to where it was bought, and what was involved in getting it there. The packaging of products should be minimalistic and 100% recyclable or reusable. Consumers are aware of their impact on the environment, and this makes them very focused on the ingredients producers use in their products. Producers need to be conscious and aware of their consumers’ needs and wants. The demand for natural and cruelty-free products is ever-increasing, and some cosmetic companies have even focused on the amount of water used in their manufacturing.

 

Ethics

Never before in human history have consumers had information at their fingertips via the accessibility of the internet as they have now. Scandalous acts that companies try to hide their misconducts can quickly become widely known. Consumers use readily available information, which has made them ultra-aware. Aware of what it takes to make the products they consume and what the impact of their consumption is. Investments have been made in companies that create artificial meat to curb cruelty to animals in the food and beverage industry. Luxury brands are now becoming vegan, ethically catering to the needs of their consumers. Consumers ultimately want companies that not only share their values but live them too.

 

Embracing nature

Companies are becoming aware of nature’s healing and calming qualities. Also, working environments aim to bring nature indoors. You may see treehouse meeting rooms and walkway waterfalls. And not only does this apply in corporate work areas but also retail. A new type of environment advances creativity and innovative thinking. Healthy employees have higher levels of productivity and thus making sure your employees have surroundings to aid in their well-being improves the efficiency of a business.

 

Companies that can embrace the changing standards associated with ways of working and production will be successful in the near future. When the well-being of all is taken seriously, and businesses align themselves with this purpose, they are well on their way to success. Sustainability should be a core value of all companies that hope to be top achievers in their field. Doing good makes a profitable business.

 

Power of stories in business

Power of stories in business

Stories have been told ever since humanity developed a language. As long as there have been campfires, humans have gathered around them and conveyed their view of the world using stories. Stories are memorable and powerfully connect us to our listeners. The use of stories properly conveyed, is actually how we prefer to receive communications.

Telling stories is one of the most powerful means that leaders and organizations have, to influence, teach, and inspire. Stories can be used to sprinkle some magic on businesses, corporate cultures, services, and products. It is advisable to write and tell stories to stand out in the market, engage people, and make an impression. In the business world stories help solidify relationships in a way that factual statements encapsulated in bullet points or numbers don’t.

Storytelling also helps with learning because stories are more engaging than a dry recitation of data points or a discussion of abstract ideas. The subject is easier to adopt if it is linked to one’s work with an identifiable case-example. Good stories can contain multiple meanings so they’re surprisingly economical in conveying complex ideas in graspable ways so that they are easier to understand, remember, and apply. Stories are unforgettable, and things learned through stories are easier to bring back to the active memory from the recesses of your mind. Another storytelling aspect that makes it so effective is that it works for all types of learners.

Every business tells a story. It’s important to make sure your company is telling the right one. A strategy tells a story of why the company exists and what its purpose is. The entire strategy process can be storified, if the business so desires. The visions of the business are based on well-told stories about the company’s development prospects in the next five or ten years. In turn, the mission tells a story of why the company exists. A beautifully written and narrated story is both entertaining and interesting. Strategy stories create a sense of belonging for employees and help to form a common outlook.

What about the brand of the business? It is pure storytelling! Storytelling is a critical component in the building of the brand, as a good story encapsulates and addresses consumers. Each of us remembers a good brand story, right?

The story of the Halloween pumpkin

Have you ever heard the story of the Halloween pumpkin?

A hollowed, grinning pumpkin with a candle shining inside is a symbol of Halloween that is increasingly seen also at the doorways of Finnish homes during All Saint’s Day. Around the world, the pumpkin is called Jack O’ Lantern. The story of the pumpkin lantern is quite a grim one and tells about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack”. Jack tricked the Devil and made a pact with him with the promise that his soul would not end up in hell after his death. As you might guess, Jack’s soul never made it to heaven either. The devil kept his word not to claim his soul, but instead he sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack had taken a turnip as a snack in the afterlife. He put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since. To frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits, people began to make their versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors. Over the time the turnip turned into a pumpkin, which symbolizes Jack still trying to find his place and peace for his soul.