Incentivised learning takes the concept of online learning and business reward incentive schemes and ties them together. So how can this approach to staff training benefit employees?


How does incentivised learning work?


By bringing e-learning into a reward system, incentivised learning doesn’t try to compete with a traditional learning management system, which many companies may use to upskill their staff. Instead, it builds upon or complements them, with more of a focus on the end result.


Rather than being expected to complete training as part of their job, incentivised learning ensures that the employee is rewarded for taking the time and making the effort to do so. Managers can also set the employee individual goals to strive for following the training, which could be tied into the individual’s KPIs to help their wider team or department. The rewards also don’t have to be monetary. Employees could strive to collect badges, certificates, or points, which can build up to bigger rewards, such as a valuable piece of technology they might want or an experience day.


What are the benefits?


A key benefit of incentivised learning is that it motivates staff and increases engagement. As there is a reward behind the learning, it creates an incentive for them to win that reward. It also gives learning a hook to create more engagement throughout the training process.


This approach helps to communicate the importance that an employer places on training. It ensures staff feel informed and included in the framework within which they’re working. The employee’s mindset changes from thinking the training is something they have to do, to becoming something they want to do. All this can motivate staff not only to complete the training, but to succeed in doing it well.


Offering rewards-based learning can also make your staff feel valued. It shows their efforts to build knowledge, in addition to day-to-day work in their role, is appreciated and not taken for granted. This can increase the loyalty they have towards your company and support retention.


Incentivised learning also provides a way for staff to work towards achieving rewards quickly, rather than just working towards a promotion or better pay package, which they might only earn a year or two down the line. This visibly shows to employees how learning can benefit them. Once they’ve been rewarded for completing their training, employees can also win additional rewards for successfully demonstrating what they’ve learnt.


Developing trends in incentivised learning


With online learning becoming a popular way to upskill staff, and more companies using incentives to get their staff to do more, it’s only a matter of time before incentivised learning becomes a common approach to training staff in a business. Also, with different reasons for incentivising employees, from improving how efficiently staff work to increasing company loyalty, trends could develop in how incentivised learning is used. Three key trends to consider are:


Achieving behavioural change


Incentivised learning could be used to help staff achieve a change in behaviour. This form of online learning isn’t just about completing training and building knowledge. It’s also about achieving behavioural change – employees putting what they learn into action. For example, if a customer service assistant had training to communicate with customers more efficiently over the phone, they could be rewarded for completing the training. They could then receive an additional reward when they use those communication techniques over the phone when handling a customer query.


Creating brand ambassadors


It’s important to have brand ambassadors in your business – individuals who embody your brand and everything it stands for, reflecting it in a positive light. Incentivised learning could become a popular way for companies to create brand ambassadors. As an employee builds their knowledge and achieves rewards for doing so, they feel they are a valuable part of a team. This can encourage them to want to do more for that company and, over time, gain the knowledge, skills and attitude to become an effective brand ambassador.


Change management


If learning modules are tied to changes in a business, they can help staff adapt to them with more ease. For example, if a company takeover resulted in a business having to change its organisational values to match those of its new parent company, staff would need to be trained to learn the new values – as they would with a full brand overhaul. Giving staff the incentive to complete the training, rather than just telling them to do it, however, could become an effective way to make such change more positive for staff and help them to embrace it faster.


Achieving changes in staff behaviour and supporting changes in business are just some of the trends that could emerge in how incentivised learning could be used. As the popularity of e-learning and incentive programs continues to grow, when the two come together, it will be interesting to see how else this form of online learning will be used each day to motivate and incentivise staff in the future.