Gender Equity in the Workplace

In 2022, the World Economic Forum reported the Global Gender Gap Index to have reached 42.7%, the highest gender parity score ever. This means that more equity is taking place between men and women in professional, technical, and leadership roles. And as much as this score signals positive progress, there is still a long way to go before gender equity can be fully achieved. In fact, the Global Gender Gap Report of 2021 estimates that with the current rates of progress, it might take 135.6 years for the gender gap to close. 

So, although great progress has been made, there is still a significant disparity and still much that can be done to bring about more gender equity in the workplace. In this article, we will help you get an insight into the current state of gender equity and what you can do to improve the stats in your organization.

The Top Manifestations of Gender Inequity

Gender inequity in the workplace manifests itself in many forms, infiltrating the entire employee lifecycle, starting from hiring and going all the way to assuming senior leadership roles.

A Clog at the Beginning of the Pipeline

In most workplaces, gender inequity starts at the beginning of the pipeline, with gender targeting being commonly practiced in job ads. According to a study by Ashoka University in 2021, approximately 4.5% of job ads have an explicit female preference while 3.8% have an explicit male preference, with job titles such as ‘telesales’ and ‘office executive’ occurring frequently in female-targeted jobs while titles such as ‘delivery boy’ and ‘sales executive’ commonly targeting men. These findings confirm that employers consciously prefer specific genders in specific roles and do not shy away from explicitly expressing these preferences. Such a practice negatively impacts gender equity in the workplace as it deepens existing occupational gender stereotypes at the beginning of the pipeline. 

Furthermore, research shows that word choice in job ads can have a strong impact on perpetuating gender inequity at the beginning of the funnel. The research conducted by Havard Kennedy School shows that words such as ‘competitive’, ‘dominant’, or ‘leader’ invite more male candidates to apply to jobs, while words such as ‘support’, ‘understand’, and ‘interpersonal’ invite more female candidates. Unfortunately, including such gendered wording in job ads is still commonplace practice today. 

Studies also show that mothers, and women of childbearing age, are less likely to receive a callback from hiring managers, even when their résumés are identical to the résumés of male applicants or childless women. All these factors signify a clog in entry-level positions that makes men and women start out on an uneven playing field.

The Broken Rung

What is more staggering is how less women get promoted from entry level roles to first-line management roles. Research by McKinsey shows that while women, in the United States alone, account for 48 percent of entry-level hires, they account only for 38 percent of first-level managers, shedding light on a broken rung in the pipeline to career advancement and senior leadership roles. Women need to work harder to be considered for their first managerial roles, compared to men, are set to higher standards, and often suffer the microaggressions of being mistaken for a junior or being considered not qualified. 

The challenges women face to get an opportunity to gain access to their first managerial roles worsen as they move upwards, with research showing that as they move upwards, for every female director being promoted to the next level, two choose to leave their organizations after facing stronger headwinds than men derailing their promotions and some leave simply seeking more DEI-focused work cultures. Moreover, higher up the pipeline, the gender equity gap, further, worsens, with only 26% of C-Suite positions in the United States alone being held by women in 2022.

An Astounding Gender Pay Gap

Gender inequity reflects also in the difference between the pay of both men and women holding the same roles. Interestingly, the gap starts from entry-level positions, with women making 11% less than men on average for the same jobs, even though women negotiate for higher pay at about the same rates as men. As with career advancement opportunities, the gender pay gap further widens as women advance, with women earning on average 16% less than their male counterparts globally, although this percentage is significantly greater in many places. 

Best Practices to Close the Gender Inequity Gap

Best Practices to Close the Gender Inequity Gap

Although the statistics may be discouraging, modern technologies and work arrangements offer a world of opportunities that can totally turn around the current stats. Here are some best practices that organizations can do to help close the gap.

1. Ensure Fair Hiring Practices

Ensure your hiring board is diverse and includes women. Having a woman share in the hiring decisions may help highlight instances of unconscious bias. Besides that, provide training to your hiring managers and HR employees on gendered job posts and gender-discriminating questions and bias in interviews. More importantly, follow hiring dashboards closely to watch out for any gender-related discrepancies and take necessary actions. Also, provide a way for candidates to voice their complaints to your organization in case they experience discrimination along the hiring process.

2. Provide Appropriate L&D Initiatives

Leveraging the learning and development arm of your organization can help greatly in closing the gap. Build women’s skills by providing them with special training programs designed to help them overcome the leadership challenges specific to them. Design mentorship programs to help junior female employees receive guidance from senior leaders. Also, provide training to all employees to raise awareness about gender-related issues, bias, and best practices to make sure employees from all genders can bring their best to work.

3. Provide Opportunities for Growth & Promotion

Follow closely your promotion data with its gender divisions, share it transparently with all employees, and highlight achievements and when changes need to be made. Ensure women are fairly considered for promotions and are not being disregarded on the premise of their caregiving responsibilities. 

4. Create a Family-Friendly Working Environment

Research shows that flexibility is one of the top reasons women consider when selecting companies to work for. Providing remote work opportunities, flexible working hours, etc. are work arrangements that make it possible for care givers from all genders to strike a balance between their work and family responsibilities. Creating a daycare facility in the office or adding a daycare allowance to employees’ salaries with children under the age of five is one way to create a more family-friendly working environment.

5. Build an Equitable Payscale

Ensure that men and women are paid equally for the same jobs performed. Make sure the right checks are set for positions at all levels so that both genders are paid fairly even in entry level positions. It is not a change that can be done overnight, but publishing an organization-wide gender pay gap report regularly can help increase transparency, raise awareness, and encourage employees to speak up in case a pay adjustment is needed. 

6. Remember It’s About Men Too

Gender equity in the workplace is not only about women; it’s about men too. Work towards giving men the same caregiving privileges that women get. Maternal leave has been commonplace for long, but some forward-looking organizations and countries have started to implement paternal leaves too to help men stay on top of their paternal responsibilities. 

Build a Gender-Equitable Workplace

This is the current status of gender equity in the workplace and what you can do about it. If you’re interested in developing the leadership skillset of your female employees or raising organization-wide cultural awareness, you can check out our library of online courses here.

 

 

Increasing Engagement with Interactive E-Learning Content

Studies show that more than 41.7% of global Fortune 500 organizations already use some form of self-paced e-learning. Moreover, the corporate e-learning market is expected to grow by over 250% between 2017 and 2026. However, despite the rise of e-learning as a valid learning modality in most organizations, driving learner engagement remains a challenge. In fact, a study of 200 organizations using 28 different learning management systems shows that driving engagement is the number one challenge that 71% of organizations face when deploying e-learning programs. In this blog post, we’ll take you through a few tips to help you increase your learners’ engagement with the content of your e-learning programs.

First things first, why care?

The Importance of Engagement

Before we dive deep into how to build content engagement, it is essential that you understand why it even matters. Now, to understand the value of engagement in learning, you need to be acquainted with the psychological theory of flow.

Psychological theory of flow Update

According to positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, flow is the state of mind a person reaches when they become fully immersed in an activity. At flow, you lose your sense of time and become deeply engrossed in what you are doing. Flow brings the best work out of you, helps you overcome challenges, and spurs your creativity. Flow theory has long been associated with intellectual and creative pursuits, but its application to learning is of no less value.

In the learning context, flow helps learners stay focused on the learning activity, overcome learning challenges, gain new skills, retain learning, and, more importantly, enjoy the experience. So, how can you create e-learning content that helps learners stay in a state of flow?

Flow can only be achieved in the golden mean zone, which lies between the ‘low-stress zone’ which induces boredom and the ‘high-stress zone’ which induces anxiety. Keeping your learners in that ‘flow zone’, therefore, boils down to maintaining a healthy balance a balance between challenge and comfort. Let’s see how you can build both into your content.

 

Driving Engagement by Building Challenging Content

To drive learners to a state of flow while engaging with your content, you need to make the learning content challenging enough but not too challenging that it leads to de-motivation. The crux of this equation is to understand well your learners’ current level of knowledge and their desired next step. Here are practical ways you can use to achieve just that.

1. Correct Placement

Have a level placement testing methodology in place to ensure you are setting your learners to the appropriate learning paths for them. There is nothing more boring than having to go through two hours of content you already know. A crisp placement test centered on real-life knowledge and skills goes a long way to save you this trouble.

2. Leveled-Up Programs

Building on the previous tip, ensure you design your learning content in a layered format where learners progress from one level to another. There are two ways of building levels into your content: linear design and circular design. In linear learning design, you create your learning levels in a way by which the higher levels contain ‘more’ terminology and concepts that are not included in previous levels but build on them. In circular design, you create your learning content in a way that all terms and concepts are covered at all levels. However, there is ‘higher contextual depth’ as learners progress through the levels. 

Which methodology to use will be a question of the knowledge or skill area your learners aim to learn. Language, for example, is a skill area that is better suited to a circular design, while engineering, for example, is better suited to a linear design.

3. Personalized Learning Paths

Once you have designed your content in a level format and put a placement methodology in place, it is essential to recognize that even at the same level of knowledge, learners will have variations in what they know or do not know. Therefore, try to leverage AI-powered learning platforms that automatically build personalized learning paths for every learner. If such technology is not available for you, simply provide learners the freedom to choose what to learn. A simple ‘skip’ button can help learners choose what they want to learn.

4. Real-Life Applications

To add a sense of challenge to the learning content, learners must feel that the content can help them overcome some real-life challenges or problems they face. You can make your learning content challenging to the current level of learners by adding interactive scenarios, simulations, or project applications that help challenge them to move to the next level of real-life skill.

Driving Engagement by Building Challenging Content

Driving Engagement by Boosting Learners’ Comfort

To reach a state of flow, learners must not feel overwhelmed by the level of challenge in the learning program. You can ease learners’ tension and make them feel more comfortable with the learning process by following some of these best practices.

1.  Microlearning

Microlearning is the practice of chunking down learning content into bite-sized pieces that can be learned in under 10 minutes. This practice helps decrease your learners’ cognitive load and enables them to benefit from mind breaks as they progress through the content. So no matter how complex a piece of information is, your learners will have the energy to go through it because of a rested mind. Leverage the pause points that come with microlearning to provide learners with ample opportunities to rethink and reflect.

2. Gamification 

The gaming industry is estimated at a staggering US$ 202.7 billion worldwide, enjoyed by children and adults alike. And this is no surprise! Games are fun, competitive, and totally exhilarating. You can achieve a similar level of fun and engagement in your learning programs by designing them around game models. To instill gamification in your programs, you need to build into them these three elements: competition, leveling, and rewards. Consequently, you will have training programs that not only increase learners’ comfort but even excite them.

3. Focusing Objectives

An excellent way to capture your learners’ attention is by starting every module with a focusing objective. And please do not confuse them with learning objectives. Learning objectives are what instructional designers need to design successful programs; focusing objectives are simply-stated objectives that help learners understand what they will be ‘focusing’ on in the module. 

Stated bluntly in a statement format, focusing objectives can be less impactful. In fact, a more effective strategy for focusing your learners is to start your modules with a case study, scenario, quiz, or game that highlights a learning gap they have. This should be sufficient to focus their attention throughout the module and drive their engagement.

4. Frequent Feedback

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘practice makes perfect’? Well, it’s wrong. Practicing mistakes makes you only perfect at making mistakes. Likewise, effective learning requires constant feedback to drive positive behavioral change. Not only does constant feedback drive learning effectiveness, but it also boosts learners’ comfort. Learners feel supported when they get constructive feedback and encouraged when they receive positive feedback. Add feedback to your games, case problems, scenarios, etc. to increase learners’ engagement. It also helps if you can provide learners with a mentor or learning support specialist to answer their questions and provide guidance when needed.

Create Custom E-Learning Content to Increase Learners’ Engagement

These were a few tips that can guide you in building learning programs that help learners achieve a state of flow. In XpertLearning, we create highly interactive custom e-learning content for you. If you’re interested in knowing more about our custom content solutions, check out our wide array of offerings here.

 

 

The Benefits of a Student Information System

With more than 1.54 billion students worldwide in K-12 and Higher Education, it is easy to imagine the level of administrative work that goes into managing the information of this massive number of students every year. In fact, although the recommended student-to-administrator ratio of an educational institution is 12:1, schools in the US alone, for example, have a student-to-administrator ratio of 230:1.  Student Information Systems provide the optimal way to streamline educational administration to ensure your institution can focus on the most important aspects of student management. 

Read on to find out what a Student Information System is, what the benefits are, and how it can help you manage the influx of data that comes with managing student records. 

What is a Student Information System?

A Student Information System (SIS) allows you to store, manage and access all student information throughout the entire lifecycle, starting from the day a student applies to join your institution until they graduate and become alumni. Using a Student Information System is the optimal way to introduce efficiencies in processes and provide your students with a seamless and modern experience that complements rather than distracts from their student experience.

What’s the Difference Between a Student Information System (SIS) and a Learning Management System (LMS)?

What’s the Difference Between a Student Information System (SIS) and a Learning Management System (LMS)?

It is essential, first, not to confuse a Student Information System with other education technologies an institution requires. An SIS is different from a Learning Management System (LMS) although we commonly hear the two confused.   

The SIS’s main use is to manage the information and interactions within the Student Administration lifecycle for all constituents handling aspects such as admissions, enrollment, fees, exam boards, and a suite of online services for learners to engage with.  

An LMS, on the other hand, manages the teaching and learning journey for a student through their program of study. Mainly used by academic staff and learners, it is where you’ll find course content, engage in topic discussions, submit assessments for grading, take post-class surveys, and provide course evaluations, for example.  

Both an LMS and SIS provide an institution with data-based insights for decision-making. However, whilst the two systems are essential for any vocational and higher education organization, they are complementary and do not provide insights into the same decision-making areas. 

What are the Benefits of a Student Information System?

What are the Benefits of a Student Information System?

A Student Information System is an investment that an institution makes, but the investment is often returned and exceeded swiftly. The ROI can be determined in a wide array of benefits, unimaginable with the use of traditional, manual processes. Here are a few of the key benefits;

1. Administrative Efficiency

According to research, academic staffs spend around 5-10% of their work time on administrative tasks. Adding to this the fact that they spend 13% of their time keeping order in classrooms, educators are stripped of up to one-fifth of their teaching time every year. Not only do educational institutions lose teaching time to administration tasks, but they also have their administrators’ time lost in tedious and laborious tasks. Time spent on administrative tasks comes at a high cost. In fact, a recent study by the University of Rome has revealed that the process of verifying diplomas costs the university more than $20,000 annually, corresponding to about 36 weeks of work. 

A Student Information System significantly reduces the time spent on those tasks.

By introducing online services, workflows, and automated notifications to support administrative processes such as applications, enrollment, fee payments, and graduation, the processing and communication time for each of these tasks significantly drops. This, in turn, helps in reducing queues at Student Support counters, minimizing data entry tasks for all, and providing timely updated information   all of which are crucial at key points within the academic calendar. 

2. A Smooth Student Experience

If you work in a Higher Educational Institution, you know that your students are your customers. A positive student experience provides the highest endorsement on educational institutions for peer references, which is arguably one of the most vital lead generation sources for your institution.

Not many students will enjoy the necessary administrative processes a university requires. However, by providing a personalized portal for students to engage with at their convenience 24/7, students can stay updated on their online application progress, enroll online, pay tuition fees, receive class timetables, view their grades and progress online, or even raise a request all without attending campus! Best of all, a leading SIS doesn’t require an institution to re-enter information from scratch in each engagement, making the processes far quicker and more efficient than manual forms and disparate systems.

3. Valuable Insights for Decision Making

Like all powerful management systems, a Student Information System enables you to get more than just the job done. With a Student Information System, administrators’ work is less about handling tedious paperwork, providing more time to complete ‘value-add’ activities to improve institutional efficiency and the students’ experience. A Student Information System provides administrators and management with ample data-driven insights about students’ demographics, attendance, academic performance, payment status, engagement, etc., enabling the enhancement of institutional policies and processes to continuously improve the student experience. 

4. Managing Regulatory and Mandatory Requirements

Nearly all countries have a level of regulatory requirements for institutions to provide ministries and government departments with statistical information about their student population – a task that is becoming increasingly complex year after year.  A leading SIS will support many of these requirements as a standard or provide the ability to extract information via inbuilt reporting tools allowing an institution to maintain compliance for data and audits key for maintaining reputation within the sector

5. Higher Learning Outcomes

Research shows that attendance in class is positively correlated with academic performance, explaining 11.8% of variations in academic performance. Student Information Systems, when linked with campuses’ in-class tracking systems, enable real-time attendance tracking, helping educators stay on top of the student’s attendance performance. The availability of this instant data can have a significant impact on students’ commitment and performance.

Not only does a Student Information System provide the source data required for student attendance tracking, but it also helps educators track their student’s academic performance, providing alert mechanisms to trigger early interventions and ensure students stay on track.

Do you have the right Student Information System for your Educational Institution?

If you’re interested in knowing more about how your institution can benefit from an SIS, you can check out our Student Information Systems solutions here. Alternatively, if you’re interested in exploring other academic education solutions for your institution, you can refer to our offerings here

 

 

 

Top 2023 Talent Management Trends

As 2023 begins, carrying the aftereffects of the Great Resignation, the emotional weight of the return to the office post-COVID, and the looming shadow of an anticipated recession, HR professionals worldwide are bracing themselves for a workplace of a different dynamic. The trends this year show talent management strategies that are more attuned to the new shape of the workforce and its rising sentiments.

In this article, we explore the most striking features of the new shape of the workforce and how HR professionals worldwide are adapting their talent management strategies this year to thrive in a relentlessly changing landscape.

Talent Management Trends 2023

The Face of the Workforce of 2023

The 47 million resignations that marked ‘The Great Resignation’ and the 64% of employees reporting they would leave their employers if forced to return to the office full-time are but symptoms of a changing dynamic. The power imbalance between employers and employees is shifting, giving more agency to employees. This new power structure is driven by the below forces.

1). Scarcity in Specialized Talent

According to a Korn Ferry report, by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there won’t be enough skilled people to take them. And according to the World Economic Forum, 50% of employees will need re-skilling to meet tech changes by 2025. So, organizations are having a hard time hiring highly specialized talent today and, what’s even worse, it won’t get any better in the future. This trend of scarcity in specialized talent has not gone unnoticed by the workforce. This is why skilled employees know they are hard to find and are putting in the effort to re-negotiate the social contract of work.

2). A Much Better Informed Workforce

In the good old days, employers could maintain salary and career trajectory confidentiality, now this confidentiality is a thing of the past. With the huge amount of data available on job boards, professional networking platforms, salary comparison websites, etc., and with the open sharing of cross-generational career experiences on social media platforms, the workforce of today is a much better-informed talent group. They are aware of their industry average compensation, their skill benchmarks, and the reputations of potential employers. In a nutshell, they have at their fingertips access to information that they can effectively use to negotiate better compensation and career growth opportunities for themselves.

3). A Workforce with Different Priorities

Research by PwC shows that when asked to rank what matters the most in their current jobs, ‘meaning in day-to-day work’ aka. ‘purpose’ tops the ranks of 83% of surveyed employees. Moreover, in a survey done by McKinsey, flexible work arrangements have been listed as one of the top priorities of employees when deciding to join an organization. With this new focus on purpose and well-being, organizations must adapt their employee experiences and employer value propositions to rise to the new priorities of the modern workforce.

4). A New Employer-Employee Relationship

The open and transparent access to information and opportunity has led to a shift in the nature of the employer-employee relationship. It is no longer a long-term exclusive relationship as it used to be. With 50% of millennials and 70% of Gen Zs reporting having side hustles alongside their full-time jobs and with the average number of years that employees spend in the same organization falling down to 4.3 years, employers must expect a more transient, non-exclusive relationship with employees, especially highly specialized talent. Only organizations that can adjust to these shifting dynamics will succeed in attracting and retaining the right talent.

5). The Rise of the Contingent Worker

Along the same lines, employers must also be open to tapping into the hidden talent of the contingent workforce to fulfill their talent needs. Getting contingent workers on board is no longer going to be an exception, but the rule, with experts recommending a 70/30 split between FTEs and contingent employees in your organization. Contingent workers are highly skilled professionals who work freelance or on a project basis to enjoy the flexibility and freedom that comes with contingent work. Therefore, if you want to succeed with this workforce, you must adjust your talent management strategy to accommodate their priorities.

6). The Boundaryless Organization

With the end of the pandemic, more organizations are inviting employees back to the office. However, research shows that 64% of employees would leave their organizations if a hybrid option is not available. With these clear employee priorities, companies like Shopify and Buffer are now flaunting work-from-anywhere-anytime work arrangements and 63% of high-growth organizations are already offering their employees hybrid work options. In the past years, many efforts have been made to maintain employee productivity within the new boundaryless organization. This year, the focus is on how to do it while building and maintaining the organizational culture and office friendships. Many organizations are experimenting with many solutions to discover what works.

Talent Management Trends 2023

How Talent Management is Responding

With this new face of the workforce in 2023, the organizations that are ahead of the curve are revisiting their talent management strategies and re-adjusting them to meet the demands of a new workforce dynamic. Here are some of the biggest changes that these organizations are making.

1). Flexible Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition is getting more flexible as rivalry on attracting highly specialized talent and skilled professionals brews. Organizations are offering more roles on a contingent basis and are tapping into the global workforce. In fact, the Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) reported in 2021 that there are 52 million contingent workers in the U.S. alone, representing 35% of the talent force. Moreover, talent acquisition is focused on re-designing the employer value proposition to offer higher, more equitable compensation and benefits, more flexible and hybrid work arrangements, employee experiences focused on wellbeing, and career development and growth opportunities.

2). A Focus on Re-Skilling & Up-Skilling

With the skill shortages of today and the future, organizations are directing their learning and development strategies toward re-skilling and up-skilling employees. In fact, research by Gartner shows that this is a top priority for 42% of HR leaders amidst fears that they may not have an explicit ‘future of work’ strategy.

3). A Focus on Career Growth

With a recent Gallup poll finding that 50% of the US workforce is ‘quiet quitting’ and the trend topping social media charts, organizations are making the shift this year to discover the true talent of their employees and re-focus on their growth and development. Talent management professionals are this year exploring ways to increase employee engagement on the job by making current work challenging and charting career paths for employees.

4). Employee Experience Front & Center

With the rising skill shortages and the new priorities of the workforce, organizations that will thrive are the ones that are re-centering the employee experience around the well-being of their employees. Creating meaningful, purposeful work, supporting work-life integration, and providing opportunities for impact are all key talent management objectives this year. Organizations that thrive are the ones that will prioritize human outcomes.

5). Making Hybrid Work

As more organizations go remote or hybrid, the question most talent management functions are now exploring is how to do it while maintaining organizational culture. Organizations are exploring myriad practices such as third-party workplaces, office-day events, regular check-ins, etc. to make hybrid work for company culture. Moreover, talent professionals, this year, are also concerned with performance visibility. In other words, in a workplace where some employees come to the office while others mostly work from home, how can organizations make sure the contributions of the remote workforce remain visible and do not go understated?

6). Rebuilding the Future Leaders

This new dynamic in the employer-employee relationship puts great demand on the skillset of leaders across organizations. The traditional approach to management and leadership will no longer make the cut. The new leader needs to be more experimental, work with more influence than power, motivate with purpose, and lead a remote, diverse team. With all these rising demands, 24% of HR leaders express that they are concerned about their leaders’ ability to adjust and 60% of HR leaders have listed leadership development as their top priority for 2023.

Prepare Your Talent Management Strategy for 2023

These have been the driving forces shaping the new face of the workforce in 2023 and the top talent management trends responding to them. If you’re interested in digitizing your talent management experience, you can check out our talent management solutions here. And if you’re interested in exploring ways to rebuild your leaders and upskill your workforce, you can check out our learning solutions here.

 

 

Corporate Learning Programs: Theory to Practice

With the high rate of change in the skills in demand, 58% of companies say that closing skill gaps has become a priority. As a result, 96% of HR and L&D professionals expect their staff training budgets to increase this new year. However, according to a survey by City & Guilds that covered 600 L&D professionals, almost all of them had experienced the ‘failure’ of an in-house training program within the past five years. This makes justifying the learning investment and measuring its ROI one of the biggest challenges that L&D departments face within company walls. In this article, we will help you discover how you can create learning programs that instantly translate into lasting, visible, and measurable change.

Learning Effective Measurement

What is Learning Effectiveness Measurement?

One of the most commonly used models to measure learning effectiveness is the Kirkpatrick model. According to Kirkpatrick, learning effectiveness can be measured on four different levels:

Level I: Learning Reaction
In this level of learning ROI measurement, you measure how learners ‘feel’ about the programs they have received. It’s usually administered in the form of surveys mid, post, and, sometimes, 90 days post training. Adittionally, it is important for you to not get carried away with any high numbers here, though. They only mean that the program was ‘fun’ and ‘engaging’ and that the learners ‘feel’ they have learned something useful. The objective truth may be different, however.

Level II: Learning Outcome
In this level of learning effectiveness measurement, you try to measure the objective truth: have the learners really learned anything from the program? The best way to measure this is through assessments, capstone projects, and assignments. The data you gain here informs you about whether the learners have actually acquired the knowledge and skills that you set out to help them gain.

Level III: Behavioral Change
Starting from this level is where most organizations falter. At this level, you already know that learners have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills. The question is: have they used them on the job? You see, ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ are two different things. And according to a learning survey by 24X7, only 12% of learners say they apply the skills from the training they receive on their job. It seems that, in training, everyone is excited about learning new skills, but the moment employees get back to their jobs, it’s business as usual, and employees revert back to doing the same old things in the same old way. This leaves organizations struggling to help employees implement their newly learned knowledge and skills.

Level IV: Learning Return on Investment (ROI)
If learning is successfully transferred on the job, you are going to likely be able to measure your ROI. You can measure it in costs saved or revenues generated. You can even measure it in qualitative terms; the ROI does not have to be quantitative. For example, your ROI can be % reduction in absenteeism, % increase in employee engagement, % employee attrition reduction, etc.

Now that you know the four levels of measuring the effectiveness of your learning programs, you must have already guessed that the biggest challenge and the most seminal to the performance of the L&D department is related to level III, i.e. creating behavioral change. In the next section, we’ll help you look to your L&D programs differently to create the lasting and impactful change you want.

Learning Programs As A Learning Campaign

Learning Programs As A Learning Campaign

To help employees transfer their newly acquired knowledge and skills on the job, you need to take off the hat of the L&D department and wear that of marketing. What do marketers do to influence consumer behavior? They build campaigns, not advertisements. Likewise, you need to build learning campaigns, not learning programs.

What’s the difference?

A learning program is usually a hit-and-run which often helps employees learn new skills which they leisurely discard once back on the job. Learning campaigns, however, involve the continuous reminding and inviting of employees to apply their new learnings, which can significantly motivate learning implementation and boost the level of behavioral change.

Excited?
Here are a few tips about how you can transform your learning programs to learning campaigns.

Corporate Communication
Get all hands on deck to achieve your learning objectives. Create snippets of the most important learnings of your programs and make sure to get the corporate communication team on board to help disseminate these learnings. You can create snippets for all forms of communication such as email reminders, playbooks, job aids, infographics, and, even, offline posters that can be hung all around the office. The point is employees need to be continuously reminded of the key learning points of your L&D programs.

Employee Engagement
Get the employee engagement team on board too. What activities or company events can they organize to create memorable employee experiences that further cement the key learning points in the employees’ memories? What competitions and rewards can they develop to reinforce the message? The point is get the employee engagement team to have shared goals with you about getting employees excited about implementing their new learning.

Execution Excellence
Does your organization have an execution excellence or quality department? Whatever their name is in your organization, this is the function that is in charge of evaluating and improving organizational processes and policies. Have a discussion with them and help them understand the results of your learning needs assessment. Very often, employees do not apply what they have newly learned because their company policies, processes, and technology have been designed to fit the old ways of doing things. It helps to get the execution excellence department on board about what needs to change and with what level of priority in order to enable employees to apply what they have learned.

If you take this campaign approach to your L&D programs, you are likely to see your L&D efforts crowned with high behavioral change. And remember, it’s never a one-off; true learning impact only happens with regular and continuous reinforcement, using omni-channel communication.

Focus on Learning Campaigns

For the best use of your resources, you may find it more helpful to outsource the content of your learning programs so that you can focus on what truly matters- building learning campaigns. If you would like to know more about the various learning content we provide, please check out our various learning programs here.

 

 

 

 

Guide to Top Blended Learning Techniques

According to recent statistics, 90% of organizations now use e-learning as part of their learning & development offerings. That’s not surprising when we consider that a company like IBM has reportedly saved almost $200 million by switching from traditional training to e-learning. However, research by Statista shows that face-to-face learning is still the most preferred method of receiving learning by corporate employees, probably owing to the higher interaction and engagement levels usually associated with in-class training. So, how can organizations leverage the cost and convenience benefits of e-learning while maintaining the interaction and engagement benefits of in-class learning?

In this blog post, we’ll answer this question and help you discover how to create the right balance between the two by leveraging blended learning techniques.

Asynchronous and Synchronous Learning

The Two Main Learning Modalities

There are two main ways by which learning content can be delivered to learners in any organization. You must have already heard about them but let’s give you a quick brief of each of these modalities.

Synchronous Learning
Synchronous learning is learning that occurs at conditions of synchronicity of time, and not necessarily place. This means that the instructor and the learner meet at the same time. They can meet in a face-to-face in-class setting or in a virtual setting. In all cases, the learner must adjust their schedule to the schedule of the learning program to be able to attend and progress. Although it does not provide flexibility and convenience to learners, synchronous learning is one of the best ways to create an engaging, exciting learning environment.

Asynchronous Learning
Asynchronous learning is learning that occurs at conditions of asynchronicity of time and place. This means that the instructor and learner do not need to meet at the same time nor place for learning to take place. In other words, this is learning that is entirely self-paced and the learner can pursue it at their own time and convenience. Although the flexibility benefits provided by this learning modality cannot be understated, there is a notable decline in the levels of engagement and interactivity associated with this type of learning, as reported by instructors and learners alike.

So what can you do to leverage the pros of both while downplaying their cons? Blended learning!

What is Blended Learning?

Blended learning is that modality of learning by which the two previously mentioned approaches are ‘blended’ or ‘mixed’ together. According to KMPG, using this blended approach enabled IBM managers to learn five times more content at one-third of the cost of a classroom-only program. Moreover, although the managers had originally said they prefer face-to-face training, after trying the blended approach, they declared that they preferred this approach to traditional training. 

Therefore, done right, blended learning can leverage the pros of both modalities. Done wrong, blended learning can shed the light on the cons of both. So before you get excited and decide to create any random mix of synchronous and asynchronous training, take the time to read the below tips on how to make the perfect blend.

Blended learning Techniques

Top Effective Blended Learning Techniques

  • Make the right blend of theory & practice

Any well-designed learning program must contain a healthy balance between theory and practice. The best blend is to provide the theory component of the program in bite-sized content for self-paced learning, while adding the practice component of the program to the in-class sessions. By doing that, you help the learners grasp the theoretical topics at their own pace while leveraging the power of social learning to apply what they have learned through interaction and feedback.

  • Build interest through experiential learning

One of the biggest drivers behind learner success is the learner’s level of interest in the topic of study. Very often, learning & development professionals make the mistake of assuming that learners will simply ‘like’ to take the programs they offer. However, in the absence of a clear purpose, interest in the program may never arise and learning becomes more about ticking an item off the employee’s to-do list rather than a beneficial experience into which the learners fully immerse themselves. This is where blended learning comes in handy. You can start off your programs by in-class sessions that use experiential activities to shed light on the learning gap and build interest to motivate learners to bridge that gap. After subtly gaining buy-in in this way, you can then ask your employees to take your company-provided self-paced programs to bridge the identified gaps.

  • Build communities of practice

Learning is easier said than done. A common mistake is to assume that by achieving a high course completion rate that the course has been a success. Experience teaches us that this is not the case. The true measure of any program’s success is not the number of employees who report completion but rather the number of employees who apply what they have learned on the job. Consequently, any seasoned L&D professional knows that course completion is only the beginning of the road. You must follow up on it with continuous support and refreshers to reinforce learning and ensure implementation. Using blended learning is one way to provide that continuous reinforcement. How? A common technique is to follow up on your company’s completed self-paced programs by creating communities of practice. You create communities of practice by inviting employees who completed the programs to meet at regular intervals to set plans of implementation, success stories, and lessons learned.

  • Add an element of learning by teaching

Another effective way of implementing blended learning to increase learning effectiveness is to follow up on your self-paced programs with learner-led summary sessions. In these sessions, you can invite learners to take turns to present to other employees the summaries of the modules they have learned. By using the ‘learning by teaching’ technique, strongly advocated for by world renowned writer, Stephen Covey, you will increase the level of retention of your learners to reach 90%.

Revamp Your Blended Learning

These were our top techniques for developing effective blended programs. So, if you have your own in-class programs and want to start mixing in some self-paced content to increase flexibility and convenience, check out our e-learning courses. We offer e-learning programs on a wide array of topics ranging from compliance topics such as health and safety to business and leadership development. And for further inquiries, we would always be happy to hear from you at enquiries@xpertlearning.com.

 

 

Quick Guide to Corporate Assessments

More than 75% of The Times Best Companies to Work For and 80% of Fortune 500 firms use some form of psychometric testing. Not only that but companies who use pre-hire assessment tests report a 39% lower turnover rate, according to research conducted by the Aberdeen Group. With this data in mind, the importance of corporate assessments in hiring and developing talent cannot be undermined.

However, not all corporate assessments are created equal. And while one assessment may give an accurate presentation of an employee’s level of skill, another one may give a misleading presentation. So, if you are working in an organization and considering using assessments for talent acquisition or development or succession planning, you will find it helpful to learn first how to navigate all the types of assessments out there.

In this article, we’ll take you through a quick journey to help you discover the different types of assessments and how to distinguish the signal from the noise.

The Different Types of Corporate Assessments

Aptitude Tests
These are tests that measure one’s potential to do well in a particular ability, once learned. It does not signify current competence but rather potential competence if learning happens. Examples of such tests are foreign language or numerical aptitude tests.

Ability Tests
These are tests that measure one’s current level of skill with regard to a particular ability. In other words, they tell you whether someone has the ability to do something. In that sense, ability is the result of both aptitude and learning combined. Ability tests are numerous such as numerical ability, geospatial ability, musical ability, kinesthetic ability, etc.

Psychometric Tests
These are tests that measure behavioral traits or habits that an individual demonstrates or prefers. They could also measure certain personality dimensions. Examples of psychometric assessments are intelligence quotients, resilience assessments, personality assessments, etc. It is essential when using these assessments not to use them as an excuse for propagating bias. Instead, you need to appreciate the diversity they uncover and use their results to guide development & coaching efforts.

Knowledge Tests
These are tests that measure an individual’s level of knowledge regarding a particular topic. Knowledge, being the first level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, does not equate to skill or ability. The fact that someone ‘knows’ about something does not mean they can do it. As such, these knowledge tests are less often used in hiring talent and more often used as pre and post assessments while delivering learning solutions.

While delivering learning solutions, knowledge tests are usually administered in two forms:

Formative Assessments: As the name implies, ‘formative’ assessments are knowledge tests used to ‘form’ the remainder of the training program. They are assessments used pre or mid a training program to guide the training content and delivery till the end.

Summative Assessments: These are knowledge tests that are used towards the end of the training program to measure learning outcome. They measure whether the individual has actually learned what they were supposed to learn in the program.

The Two Main Factors of Assessments

When selecting corporate assessments for your talent management efforts, besides ensuring you select the right type of assessment for your purpose, you must also ensure that the assessment is scientifically sound. You can achieve this  through the two below factors:

Validity: This factor means that the assessment actually measures what it says it measures. This is usually achieved by comparing the results of the assessments with the actual real-life performance of the individuals who take it. Do they match? Do high test-scorers actually have high performance in real-life? Do low scorers actually have low performance? Of course, you don’t need to check the validity of the assessments on your own staff, although this is a good follow up practice. What you need to do is make sure that the assessments you use or purchase have sound statistical validity already proven by the assessment creators.

Reliability: This factor means that the results of the assessment remain relatively stable over time. This is usually achieved by the assessment creators through asking test takers to retake the test after a period of time passes since their initial test experience. If the results are relatively the same, the test is reliable; if not, then it is not reliable. It is important that you observe the reliability of the assessments you use on your own employees but it is also more important to seek out the reliability data of the assessment creators. If a test has low reliability, then it’s most probably not worth your budget.

Assessing Your Talent through Valid & Reliable Corporate Assessments

These were the two factors that you must consider as you purchase assessments for recruitment, learning, or succession planning efforts. If you’re interested in purchasing assessments you can trust for your organization, check out our vast library of assessment solutions here.

Leveraging Blockchain for Educational Institutions

Since its introduction in 2011, blockchain has been used as a powering technology in many industries such as the finance, legal, healthcare, and IoT sectors. Its adoption in education is no different. Still in its early stages, only 2% of educational institutions in 2019 were using it, according to a poll by Gartner. According to the same poll, 18% of higher education institutions were planning to use it. With its possible advantages to all educational levels from K-12 to higher education, blockchain is here to stay. So, if your educational institution still has not ridden the wave yet, it is time you consider it.

But before you decide whether you would like to include blockchain in your technology stack, let’s first explore what blockchain is and its potential benefits to your institution.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology (DLT) that consists of a growing sequence of records, all of which are created and stored forming blocks. Each of these blocks is timestamped and linked to the following block using cryptography, thereby creating a ‘chain’ of blocks, otherwise known as a blockchain. The most interesting feature of the blockchain is that the data storage process is irreversible. In other words, once data is stored in the chain, it cannot be altered without altering the entire sequence of transactions after it, rendering it impossible to tamper with. Another extremely interesting feature of blockchain is that it is managed over a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. In other words, no centralized body is in charge of storing the data or managing it, rendering it efficient and relatively immune to corruption risks.

The State of Blockchain in Education

Although a relatively new technology, blockchain has been gradually gaining adoption in the academic field. In fact, the global Blockchain in Education market size has been valued at USD 118.73 million in 2021 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 43.94%, reaching USD 1055.98 million by 2027.

Why Blockchain in Education?

There are many applications to using blockchain in education. Together, they enable more efficiency in education administration, easier record and content sharing, and more student freedom. Here are a few of these applications.

Verification of Student Records

The average educational institution handles thousands of student records per year, ranging from birth certificates and IDs to previous educational certifications. The process of student enrollment requires the collection and verification of these records. Considering the fact that there are 967,734 unique credentials in the U.S alone, you can imagine how tedious and laborious this task usually is. With blockchain, once a record or certification is issued and stored in the chain, it becomes automatically verified because, remember, all blockchain records are irreversible and tamperfree. So, all educational institutions need to do to verify that a student certificate or transcript is not fake is check it on the blockchain. If it’s there, then it’s real. This automation in record collection and verification can save educational administrators a significant amount of time every year.

Issuance of Transcripts & Certification

Similar to the verification of students’ records, educational institutions spend an enormous amount of time every year verifying records for certification issuance. In fact, a recent study by the University of Rome revealed that the process of verifying diplomas cost the university more than $20,000 annually, corresponding to about 36 weeks of work. But with blockchain, the time spent on these tasks can be significantly reduced as courses completed by learners can be automatically saved on the chain, allowing for automated transcript and certificate issuance.

Storage of Learning Content

The blockchain allows for limitless storage of data, so educational institutions can also use it to upload and store their course content. This enables universal access for learners worldwide and helps educational institutions tap into global markets. It also guarantees copyright protection since the blockchain makes clear the initial content upload transaction owner and timestamp.

Smart Contracts

Blockchain enables the full enforcement of contracts using the decentralized technology, with no intermediaries involved, giving rise to an application more commonly known as ‘smart contracts’. Via smart contracts, when two parties enter an agreement on the blockchain, the chain verifies that they both have the means to meet their commitments. Then, once one party meets its commitment, the chain automatically enforces the other party’s commitment. For example, if a student enrolls for a particular course via a smart contract, the blockchain would first verify that they can pay the tuition fees for the course. Once the course is open for the student, the blockchain would automatically withdraw the payment from the student’s account, with no intermediary and no room for default. This is great for educational institutions as it significantly streamlines the tuition payment processes and enhances their efficiency.

Tokens & Rewards

Considering that a 2006 study exploring student attrition cited that 70% of high school dropouts said they were unmotivated, the importance of motivating learners by educators cannot be overlooked. Using the blockchain, educators can keep their learners motivated by using digital badges and cryptocoins to issue rewards. The badges can be instantly viewed and verified by future employers any time and the cryptocurrency can be used by the learners to make purchases online. It’s as sleek as that!

Leverage Blockchain for Your Educational Institution

These were a few of the top applications of blockchain in education. If you’re interested in knowing more about how blockchain can help your educational institution or are interested in viewing a live demo, you can check out the blockchain solutions for education by our partner, Educhain here.

 

The Future of Talent Management

A recent Manpower Group survey shows that 75% of organizations suffer from a shortage in the talent needed to move their organizations forward. Despite this shortage, 95% of employees in a survey done by McKinsey believe that their organizations’ talent management strategies are lacking or falling short of meeting their objectives. So why is that? And what can organizations do to enhance the effectiveness of their talent management strategies?

To answer these questions, we shall take you through a quick overview of the current trends affecting the talent force and how talent management strategies need to adapt to match these trends.

Trends Affecting the Current Talent Force

1. Demographic Shifts

Most developed countries around the world are facing varying degrees of decline in population growth, causing many shifts in the overall regional shares of the global workforce. As a result, the African share of the global talent force is expected to rise by 5%, while the European share is expected to decline by 4% by 2030. Consequently, Africa and Asia will continue to be home to close to three-quarters of the total global talent force. This has a significant impact on how organizations should manage their talent. For organizations to survive, they must adapt their talent management strategies to embrace higher diversity and inclusion (D&I). This includes being open to hiring global talent, providing remote work opportunities, developing employees’ multicultural collaboration skills, and building fair and equitable global compensation and benefits schemes.

Moreover, as the Boomers generation retires, the future workforce will be 75% Millennial by 2025. This fact has interesting implications. In a study done by PwC, when asked which benefits they would most value from an employer, Millennials named training and development and flexible working opportunities over financial benefits. It is apparent that, with the Millennial generation, talent management professionals must be aware that they are facing a generation that puts a higher emphasis on ‘purpose’ and ‘flexibility’ as important benefits that attract them to employers and help them stay. Therefore, the old ways of simply hiring the right people and ‘paying them to stay’ will no longer work. Talent professionals must adapt their strategies to offer a more attractive employer value proposition to the Millennial generation.

2. Changes in the Future of Work

The Future of Skills report by LinkedIn Economic Graph shows that the skills required for the future of work have changed by more than 25% since 2015. Not only that the skills have significantly changed, but they are also likely to continue to change by anywhere from 39 to 44% by 2025. With this rate of change, simply hiring the right people and providing basic compliance training will no longer work. Also, expecting to simply hire external talent when no internal candidates are suitable will no longer work too. With this rate of change, chances are that the talent that organizations will need in the future will be in shortage inside and outside the organization. This is why talent development professionals must be on the lookout for what skills their organizations will need in the future and must proactively help their current talent prepare for that.

Moreover, as a result of the 2020 pandemic, employees are now more accustomed to different work arrangements than in the pre-pandemic period. In fact, in a Buffer survey, a whopping 99% of employees say that they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. Even more, in an Owl Labs report, 32% say that they will leave their organizations if they have to return to work on-site full-time. With these statistics in mind, organizations must adapt their talent management strategies for a more remote workforce.

network based leadership

3. Changes in the Nature of Leadership

Top-down hierarchical organizational models are dead and network-based holocratic models are the new rule. The younger knowledge workers expect self-managed teams, independence in decision-making, and knowledge and resource sharing among organizational departments.

Moreover, Millennials have learned the lessons of ages past, so most Millenials believe that they are personally responsible for their own skill and career development. This gives rise to a more widespread, previously overlooked type of leadership– self-leadership. The future workforce will assume more self-leadership than the previous ones, both for personal development and for the achievement of organizational objectives. Therefore, talent management strategies must evolve to build, support, and retain this new kind of leadership.

The Current Status of Talent Management

So, with all these trends in the talent force, how are organizations doing with managing their talent? Not so well! Research shows that only 5% of employees think their organization’s talent management strategies are very effective and only 23% of managers and senior executives working on talent management believe their current acquisition and retention strategies will work. So, how can we turn things around?

talent management

Build a Talent Management Strategy for the Future

A mistake talent professionals sometimes do is to assume that what worked before will continue to work. But with the current trends affecting the talent force, it is evident that a change needs to be made. Here are some general changes that talent professionals must start integrating into their current strategies to be more relevant to the future.

1. Globalize & Localize

As you set your talent management strategy, be open to hiring, developing, and maintaining global talent. This is no easy feat but a global workforce requires access to a myriad of local recruitment platforms, global training providers, and global compensation and benefits schemes. You cannot simply post a job vacancy on a single local platform and expect to attract global talent. More importantly, to reap the benefits of hiring global talent, you must put in the effort to make them feel included. Your D&I programs should provide focus on the localization of holidays, celebrations, company-wide communications, training, etc. It should also put emphasis on providing fair promotion and career advancement opportunities to all employees regardless of which part of the world they are working from.

2. Decentralize

As said earlier, Millennials simply have taken matters into their own hands. Therefore, relinquish your control and establish talent management solutions that give employees control over what career progression paths to choose, individual training needs they would like to address, how they would like to address them, what organizational goals they would like to pursue, and how they would like to be rewarded for their work. In fact, giving employees personal control over their career development significantly increases their chances of achieving their development goals.

3. Socialize

You are now dealing primarily with the ‘social media generation’. This is the generation that grew up with immediate access to anyone anywhere. They could easily network with the top C-Suite leaders of any organization on LinkedIn. They could easily look up information anywhere anytime, learn from online resources shared by others on social platforms, and reach out with questions on forums. Of course, this generation comes to work with different expectations about how knowledge and people are accessed.

This is why your talent management strategy needs to leverage this social lever. Do you use social media for talent acquisition? Do you leverage company referrals? Do you create a social media buzz around your employer value proposition? Do you incorporate social learning in your training solutions? Do you have an organizational knowledge base accessible to and searchable by all employees? Do you have an internal platform that enables immediate communication with anyone in the company, including the CEO? The answers to these questions show how well you have socialized your talent management processes.

4. Personalize

Last but not least, this new Millennial talent force is used to receiving personalized solutions in all aspects. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach to training, compensation, and motivation does not work. Diversify the modalities of your learning solutions, offer a wide range of benefits that employees can choose from, and diversify your organization’s employee engagement initiatives to provide employees with options to choose from.

How Can XpertLearning Help?

In this article, we have given you a quick overview of the top trends changing the face of talent management. If you’re interested in improving your talent management strategy, you can reach out to benefit from our consultancy services. And if you would like to do talent management like a pro, then you may consider purchasing a talent management system. To help you with this decision, you can check out the wide array of options we offer here or, even better, pass by stand C28 at the HR Summit and Expo, Dubai, on November 15th and 16th to watch a live demo of our talent management solutions and discuss your needs. To obtain a free entry, register here.

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