Employee engagement plays a pivotal role in the success of corporate training initiatives. When employees lack interest or become disengaged, the likelihood of them completing their training and reaping its benefits significantly decreases. To foster employee engagement in training, organisations must formulate strategies that encompass various initiatives aimed at promoting adoption, retention, and completion. One particularly effective method for engaging employees involves the utilisation of digital credentials as a means to reward accomplishments. In this article, we will delve into the utilisation of digital credentials to engage learners and examine why organisations should consider implementing digital credentials to bolster their corporate training programs.
Corporate training and employee development programs serve as vital tools for enhancing the efficiency and capabilities of internal teams by equipping them with new skills, experiences, and knowledge. However, to ensure the success of these programs, it is imperative to actively engage employees and motivate them to successfully complete the training courses. Digital credentials within the context of corporate training serve as invaluable tools for enhancing engagement and offering tangible rewards that employees can integrate into their professional portfolios. These digital credentials supplant insecure PDFs and costly physical certificates, imparting additional value to certificates of completion. They also introduce various avenues for engagement during the training process and enhance the visibility of the benefits that employees stand to gain from completing their training.
Digital credentials encompass a wide array of digital assets, including digital certificates, digital badges, open badges, blockchain-based credentials, and digital certificates of completion. These credentials are hosted online on dedicated credential pages, which provide ample space to comprehensively describe the program, the issuing authority, the criteria for success, and the specific skills demonstrated. With the convenience of a unique URL, recipients can easily link their digital credentials to their personal portfolios or resumes. Digital credentials are highly shareable, allowing recipients to showcase and celebrate their achievements across their social media networks with a single click. Additionally, they are embeddable, seamlessly fitting into email signatures or webpages.
Designing, issuing, and managing digital credentials is a straightforward process when using Certify. Features include an analytics dashboard that tracks open rates, engagement levels, and visibility, enabling issuers to monitor and report on the reach and impact of the credentials they share. Making changes to the design, content, and supplementary details is effortless, including the ability to automate expiration, renewal, and simple name changes. Issuers opt for digital credentials due to the streamlined management and issuance they provide, as well as the time and cost savings. These credentials offer significant benefits to team members, learners, employees, or members.
To mitigate disengagement among employees, it is imperative to establish engagement strategies before launching training programs. These strategies may require periodic adjustments to cater to the individual needs of employees undergoing training.
1. **Design and Deliver Digital Credentials:** Digital credentials offer remarkable versatility. Issuers have the flexibility to issue formal digital certificates, informal digital badges, or a combination of both. This enables organisations to create a series of digital badges to correspond to each individual module of a training program, culminating in a final digital certificate.
In scenarios where flexible learning options are available, and employees can choose their learning trajectory across multiple topics, a stackable digital badges framework can be implemented to accommodate ascending levels in different areas. For instance, employees can progress through levels one, two, and three in communication, leadership, and collaboration, with the flexibility to tackle them in any order. Some individuals may complete all level one modules before advancing to level two, while others may choose to progress through levels one to three in one topic before transitioning to another. Employing digital credentials in this manner encourages employee autonomy and introduces a gamified element to the training process.
2. **Implement Gamification:** Gamification entails the incorporation of game-like elements or mechanics into non-gaming environments, such as the workplace. Research underscores the effectiveness of gamification not only in engaging learners but also in improving educational or training outcomes. In corporate training, gamification serves as a catalyst for elevating engagement levels and motivating employees to complete courses. Examples of gamification elements include leaderboards to showcase top performers, mini-games that enhance knowledge retention, and the utilisation of digital badges as incremental rewards. Incremental awards dovetail seamlessly with flexible learning, encouraging employees to pursue continuous learning to attain all available digital badges within a training program.
3. **Encourage Employee Autonomy:** Encouraging employee autonomy begins by granting employees greater control over their learning opportunities and the manner in which they pursue them. Allowing employees to take ownership of their training fosters a sense of investment and heightened motivation for success. One way to facilitate employee autonomy is by designing training programs that enable employees to select individual courses and determine their progression. Digital credentials play a pivotal role in this by offering increased visibility into available training courses, their contents, and the level of skill enhancement they offer.
4. **Customise Training Programs:** To retain employee engagement during training, it is imperative to tailor training programs to align with employees' preferred learning styles. This information can be gleaned through employee engagement surveys or during the onboarding process when exploring the company's approach to learning and development. Discovering the types of rewards that motivate individuals also informs the design of digital credentials to recognise achievements. For example, understanding whether employees prefer incremental awards can guide the design of the credentialing system.
5. **Encourage Feedback and Communication:** Open communication is vital for eliciting employee feedback. Employers must keep employees informed about the necessity of training, what to expect, and the benefits it will yield. This proactive communication, which includes highlighting the anticipated outcomes of successful training (such as the award of digital credentials), helps employees grasp the advantages they stand to gain and bolsters motivation to complete their training. Moreover, aligning training outcomes with internal growth paths and company objectives allows employees to appreciate how enhancing their knowledge and skills contributes to their professional progression and impacts the organization's success.
6. **Offer Social Recognition:** Upon receiving a digital credential recognising their achievement, employees are inclined to share this accomplishment on their social media platforms as a celebratory gesture. Organisations can encourage this by including a call-to-action (CTA) button in the digital credential delivery email, prompting employees to "Share Their Award" or "Add to LinkedIn." Subsequently, when employees share their digital credential, employers should actively engage with these posts and extend their congratulations. This not only increases visibility into the organisation's support for employee learning and development but also enhances the employee experience by publicly acknowledging their achievements.
7. **Ensure Accessibility:** Accessibility is another critical facet of maintaining employee engagement during training. If employees encounter obstacles in accessing training materials through their preferred platforms or when needed, their engagement is likely to wane. This principle applies to digital credentials as well. Once employees have completed their training, they expect recognition for their hard work. If they encounter challenges in viewing their digital credentials, such as the need to create another user account or difficulties accessing the credential on personal devices (barring technical constraints), they may perceive the training as not worth the effort. This can lead to decreased job satisfaction and potentially impact employee retention, especially if employees have specific accessibility requirements that go unmet. Employers should conduct regular check-ins throughout the training process and after issuing digital credentials to identify and address any usage barriers.
Corporate training plays a crucial role in an organisation's growth and development strategy. Nevertheless, keeping employees engaged during the training journey can be a daunting task. Leveraging digital credentials provides an efficient means of involving employees in corporate training by bestowing tangible rewards for their accomplishments in learning and development. This approach also offers employees the advantages of a gamified learning adventure and valuable career-boosting accolades that can be easily shared and included in their professional portfolios. For employers, the adoption of digital credentials equips them with an effective tool for monitoring training and learning progress, all the while inspiring their teams to actively pursue continuous learning opportunities.
If you'd like to see Certify's digital credential platform in action, set up a product demo today!