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10 Actionable Tips to Improve Employee Engagement with Company Learning Programs

Learning programs are critical for retaining your workforce, boosting employee productivity, and closing your company’s skills gaps. But your employees must be engaged with the learning in order for these programs to be successful. Employees who enthusiastically adopt learning opportunities are not only learning new skills, they’re helping their companies compete in a quickly changing workforce.

This article includes practical ways to boost your employees’ engagement with your company’s learning program in a scalable way, no matter the size of your company.

Read on this article to Boost Learner Engagement for actionable tactics that grow a strong learning culture including:

  • Implementing company-wide learning time
  • Hosting a learning contest
  • The 10/5 learning method
  • And much more!

10 Actionable Tips to Improve Employee Engagement with Company Learning Programs

Why learner engagement matters

Positive learner engagement adds up to much more than the minutes clocked in a learning tool. An engaging workplace learning program excites employees to grow their careers — and to do so with their current employers. Employees who are engaged in learning stretch themselves past their comfort zones to learn the new skills they and their company need to stay competitive and adapt in a changing workplace. Just as it’s essential to get executive buy-in to invest in learning, it’s also critical to secure employee buy-in through their engagement. This component is critical to realizing the transformative effects a learning program can have on a company’s future.

For learning leaders faced with limited resources and other constraints, building an engaging learning program is easier said than done. But there’s good news — many learning engagement tactics don’t require an enterprise-size team to pull off. This checklist of practical engagement ideas will help you multiply the value of your company’s learning program in ways that are manageable for learning teams of all sizes. And you can continue to scale these approaches as your company grows.

Learner engagement checklist

Assign courses to employees and teams

It’s a simple solution to a common employee question: “What do I learn first?” By assigning courses relevant to an employee’s career goals or a learning path designed to upskill a team for an upcoming project, you’re helping employees engage with learning quickly and directly.

Share top courses within your company

Dig into your learning platform analytics to identify popular courses, and share that list with employees. By doing this on a regular basis, you’ll help employees answer the question: “What do I learn next?”

Reveal top company learners

Recognize your company’s power learners to make those employees your top learning advocates. Whether it’s a call-out in a company meeting or an announcement of the quarter’s most prolific learners in an internal forum, show gratitude for those already engaged in learning. Other employees will take notice of the value placed on learning and follow suit.

Host book-club style course discussions

Create monthly course clubs to encourage functional teams or employees with similar career goals to learn together. Like a book club, each employee reviews the material independently and then gathers together with a group to share their learnings and gain insights from colleagues.

Schedule lunch-and-learns

Empower existing learner advocates by inviting them to host lunch-and-learns on topics of their choosing. Not only does this recognize their learning accomplishments and disseminate some of their learnings, it also offers peer reinforcement of the usefulness of learning.

Highlight new courses

An ideal learning platform keeps its content fresh and evolving to reflect industry trends. Regularly share the latest courses and content with your workforce so that employees know there’s something new to learn when they log in to your learning management system (LMS).

Implement company-wide learning time

It’s challenging for employees to make time in their work days for learning, which is why executive support for companywide learning time is essential. At Udemy, we have a monthly DEAL Hour — Drop Everything and Learn — where employees are encouraged by their managers and peers to set aside daily responsibilities and take some time for learning.

Create an internal learning channel

If your company uses an instant messaging platform for internal communication, create a channel where employees can discuss their latest learnings. Schedule weekly channel prompts that encourage employees to share what they’re currently learning, why they enrolled in a new course, or how a new skill is helping at work.

Dedicate a team meeting to learning together

Reinforce your company’s learning culture by encouraging managers to lead learning moments during team meetings. There are no limits on how you can bring a focus on learning into meetings. From learning a skill together to examining recent competitive work to inviting a guest speaker, this is a meaningful way to bring value and energy to recurring meetings.

Host a learning contest

Tap into your workforce’s competitive side by gamifying their learning experience. Use the analytics in your LMS to award employees who spent the most time learning topics that serve their team’s goals. Or, host a raffle requiring that employees share what they’re learning that week in a company-wide communication channel to enter.

Offer flexible learning

Help employees fit learning in throughout their work day by offering courses on a mobile app, so they can learn on-the-go, or whenever they have a few free minutes.

Reserve five minutes of daily learning

Even short, consistent time spent learning can advance your workforce’s skills. Schedule five minutes every morning on your team’s calendars for learning. That’s 25 minutes per week and 100 minutes per month. Plus, it helps make learning part of a daily work routine.

Introduce the 10/5 learning method

Expand upon your existing five minutes of daily learning with the 10/5 rule. That is, reserving 10 minutes at 10 am and five minutes at 5 pm every day for learning. This helps employees stay consistent and build a learning habit that bookends the work day.

Schedule learning reminders

If available, schedule regular reminders in your LMS that encourage employees to get back into their learning tool and pick up where they left off — or start developing a new skill.

Link career goals to tailored learning paths

Ongoing learning doesn’t only benefit the company. Use learning paths to target employees’ personal career objectives, and make completion of these paths part of their quarterly goals.

Encourage learning that benefits the whole employee

Wellness has become an important topic in recent years and preventing employee burnout is critical to supporting their emotional well-being. Learning skills that promote mental resilience, such as stress reduction, mindful breathing, fitness, and growth mindset, help employees bring their best selves to work.

Tap learning experts for guidance on how to adjust your approach as needed

Work with your learning provider’s customer success team to regularly track engagement of your learning programs and leverage their expertise of how to build engaging programs.

Ongoing learner engagement leads to business outcomes

Engaging learning programs don’t just help secure your employees’ commitment to learning, they’re also critical for successfully closing your company’s skills gaps, boosting employee productivity, and retaining your workforce.

Think of this article as a resource to support your learning program design and use it in whatever way is most useful to increase engagement. Because every company’s learning culture is unique to its employees and its goals, some of the engagement tactics listed above might not work for your company right now. That’s alright. Adapt a few ideas that fit your needs or combine them into a single engagement initiative. Or it might make sense to return to one idea and use it to drive engagement for a specific team, rather than the entire company.

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