According to a 2017 survey, 71 percent of employees have had to undergo training to either keep or advance forward in a position. Nearly half say they have not been able to advance due to a lack of training.

This is a twofold problem for employers. Companies not offering learning opportunities may be hindering the professional growth of their employees, which in turn negatively affects the organization. But even when companies provide opportunities to learn, training is often perceived as being cumbersome, time-consuming, inconvenient and even irrelevant.

Looking for new ways to get employees involved in their own professional development? Take a page from three innovative companies that are rethinking their approach to learning at work, and producing a more engaged workforce.

Deloitte

Deloitte’s learning process integrates gamification: The company has literally made learning a game. The firm originally struggled to get employees and client companies to take online courses in executive training through The Deloitte Leadership Academy. By incorporating game mechanics — such as leaderboards, badges and missions — Deloitte reported a 50 percent faster course-completion rate and a 36 percent greater weekly retention rate. Deloitte’s use of competition, fun and design have helped to create a learning process that is informative and engaging.

Inspirus

Inspirus is taking another approach to make learning less cumbersome. Theresa Harkins, VP of Client Success and Engagement Solutions, understands the importance of making learning more palatable. “Delivering learning in a fun and interactive manner drives business outcomes while engaging employees,” she says.

The Inspirus approach involves microlearning. “Microlearning consists of short, five-minute bursts of content available via mobile devices that can be easily blended into a workday, and that empowers the user to learn anywhere at any time,” Harkins says. “Our clients are realizing that employees don’t have as much time to attend a training class or take an hourlong online course.”

Four Day Weekend

Four Day Weekend is committed to making learning more fun for everyone. The improv comedy troupe has a corporate division that meets with companies to build communication and other skills through skits. Every high-energy show is different, since it’s tailored for each client. The troupe’s roster of clients includes American Airlines, FedEx Office, Southwest Airlines and Hyatt Corporation.

One key theme in their work is the build-upon concept of “yes, and” as a way to encourage creativity and embrace new ideas. The goal of such a skit is to never say no, and that leads to some pretty funny scenarios. The troupe allows the audience to participate by suggesting words that can worked into the skit.

These are just three companies using new approaches to make learning both informative and engaging. Use these as a jumping-off point to innovation in your own organization.

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