What Is the Goal of Digital Training in a Software Company?
‘Human resources‘ — the operative word here can often get obscured by the plethora of processes and paperwork that HR usually signifies.
And yet these are humans that make up our workplaces, whom business owners and companies rely on to make things happen — things like bringing in revenue from sales, developing and innovating new products and services, and responding to customer issues.
Except software product companies have to ask themselves: ‘Are we nurturing our resources?’
Too often, organisations can become afflicted with myopia, thinking the initial, upfront costs to future training — precisely the kind of training which nurtures the humans that are the resources for any thriving business — are “too expensive to adopt right now.”
The truth is that it’s too costly not to adopt and incorporate digital learning and online training in the workplace.
The Robots Have Landed and AI Can Be Your Friend
Work, such as your employees think about it and perform it, is changing. And in the ‘re-working’ of work, there are significant drivers, including global connectivity, smart machines, and new media, especially in software companies.
According to a report by the Institute of the Future, the rise of ‘smart machines and systems’ will means that “workplace robotics nudge human workers out of rote, repetitive tasks,” calling on human-focused skills like sense-making from AI analytics, novel and adaptive thinking, and increased social and emotional intelligence.
Notice how the advance of robotics in the workplace and the introduction of AI to our data platforms doesn’t mean an elimination of the workforce — instead, it’s a shift, a re-focus to specifically human-centric tasks.
Employees will be called on to re-engage with their new (digital) workplace and bring the skills that help them do this.
Indeed, this shift is already being felt at major companies. Quick to embrace and adopt this new and emerging reality, senior execs, in tandem with HR, are looking to support their employees through this shift.
And this means digitally retrofitting their employees’ skills through online training.
“In 2014, when AT&T announced plans to move 75 per cent of its network into software-controlled systems by 2020, senior leaders realised the market could not supply all the technologists needed for this shift. Instead, it developed programmes to help existing employees qualify for new roles.” — Older staff, new skills: employers retrofit the workforce‘, Financial Times
In other words, it’s AI plus human intelligence that spells the future of work — only if your software company is ready to harness it through digital learning.
Digital training and eLearning initiatives are a long game. But, by setting up these short-term goals as priorities, you can see these ‘long-term benefits’ faster and more tangibly.
New Employee Training and Onboarding
How much time, money and resources go into training a new software employee on the job? It’s a significant amount.
It’s not only about other workers being diverted for training purposes but the length of time that a new employee spends away from actually doing productive tasks.
If you can set up onboarding as a form of digital training, software employees can access training in their off hours, on the go, or prior to actually stepping into the workplace. They can peruse on-boarding documents on an ongoing basis or gain access to an environment that helps them navigate in simulation.
Collaboration and Connection
Digital learning is all about connecting with peers and collaborating over materials, resources, ideas, assignments, discussions, and projects. The whole point is to bring diverse groups of workers together in order to arm them with a new skill.
Especially in software development companies, whose teams often rely on agile principles of development, having diversity during sprints and breakout sessions is crucial.
This diversity and connection is exactly what promotes innovative solutions — the confluence of two separate disciplines allows individuals to brainstorm together, bringing their own expertise.
You never know where the next big idea or design will come from, and bringing workers together as learners encourage this.
Bite-Sized, Digestible Learning
Studies show that bite-sized, digestible lessons and ‘micro-learning’ opportunities create an incentive to continue and also align with our much shorter modern attention spans.
When planning for the success of online or digital training, make sure to divvy up lessons into ‘chunks’ that can be accessed at any time, from anywhere. You may also consider ‘dripping’ lessons, where the completion of one micro-lesson or assignment triggers the opening of a new module — but not before.
More Streamlined Project Delivery
Make one of the short-term goals of your digital learning or online training the ability for software developers to bring their learning into breakout sessions.
Give your developers lessons, topics, assignments, and modules that directly relate to the issues they face on the job.
Allow them to access lessons that answer their questions, and you’ll see a more streamlined, improved project delivery. This helps connect the development team’s talent to training.
Motivated and Self-Driven Learning
A compelling aspect of effective online training is that it comes from an internal space. Aspects like digital access from any mobile or desktop device is simply a method to promote and technologically support that internal motivation.
When workers are also learners, they take the initiative to direct not only their own learning but their own contribution to the success of projects.
So once you have these goals in place, what are the benefits your business can realise as a direct result of online training and digital learning?
Improved Decision Making
As employees gain a better insight into their jobs, both from an operational as well as a skills-based perspective, they’ll be in a better position to contribute to overall decision making.
Since so much of digital learning and online training is based on constant and consistent feedback, they’ll also be able to see what works, what doesn’t, and where there’s room for improvement.
The use of situation-specific, contextual questions, case studies, and simulations can allow developers to apply their knowledge and exercise their decision-making skills in a risk-free environment.
This means they can explore unpredictable paths, backtrack, learn and participate in a kind of experiential learning that then translates to better on-the-job decision making, and the forecasting of complex problems.
Intangible But Integral: Employee Engagement
Because digital learning is interactive, developers who are learners can remain engaged in learning. But this also translates to an increase in employee engagement at work, during working hours.
It’s not only that employees have a sense that their workplace is as invested in their professional growth as they are. The interactivity allows them to continue seeking the solution to an assignment or problem set they’re learning about, drawing from both the ‘real world’ of the workplace and their online training time.
Local Capability Development
For companies looking to expand and develop their overseas workforces, bringing them up to par with command central, digital, and online training provides an unparalleled experience to developing and aligning local capabilities. Of course, this is especially true when trying to develop software or applications that begin regionally but expand internationally.
Workers from different parts of the company can support each other’s development and learning, while developers from within the company, based in a separate location with its own business culture and needs, can bring their unique perspective to the mix.
This can mean that businesses can thrive, regardless of geographical boundaries. And, in situations of acquisitions or mergers, digital learning and online training both give an acquired set of employees the chance to get up to speed or develop an entirely new way of doing things.
Say the adage, ‘” rising tide raises all ships,” and people might think that digital learning is the tide and your business is the ship. But, at Darlo Digital, our experience has shown us something a little different. So we do things a little differently.
From what we’ve seen so far about the future of work, it’s automation, AI and Big Data, that are the tide. These are the ‘trends’ lifting our businesses up, demanding we do better and giving us the tools to do so.
But we’ll need to rise in kind, raising the standard operation and nurturing the technical ability of our human resources — the crew aboard these ships.