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How do e-learning platforms affect company culture? Part 2

5 min reading time

Last week, we looked at some of the ways your e-learning platform can positively affect company culture. Specifically, we looked at using your LMS to motivate employees with gamification features, facilitate a safe working environment and boost staff retention and improve onboarding processes. 

In this week’s blog, we’ll be further exploring some of the ways that your LMS can have a significant effect on your company’s culture and how to ensure these changes have a lasting impact. 

If you missed part 1, click here to read it. 


Using an LMS to facilitate remote working

Over the past few years, we have seen companies make the most of available online technology to embrace remote working, which as a result, is dramatically transforming their workplace culture. Adopting an LMS for remote working should be one of the key ways your business or organisation looks to successfully embrace this new type of working environment. 

In this period of transition, many staff members won’t be used to this new way of virtual working which is why it’s essential to use your LMS to offer appropriate and timely training and support. In addition to offering an e-learning platform supporting a great training programme comprising of remote working best practices or addressing compliance issues, your LMS can serve as a solution to a problem that can often be embedded within the ‘work from home’ culture. In particular, many may struggle with the lack of face-to-face social interaction and feel that there is a lack of community or communication across the organisation. 

Incorporating social features in your LMS can emulate some of the aspects that historically create a strong workplace community. A learning experience platform (LXP) such as Totara Engage can be used to facilitate an engaging online social environment. For example, core LXP features such as discussion groups, Q&A platforms, liking or sharing documents/courses in your learning programme or Microsoft Teams integrations for further communication etc encourage collaboration and wider team cooperation, in turn, increasing the feeling of community and teamwork. 


Employee validation through your LMS 

We have all worked for companies that haven’t taken the time to carry out staff appraisals and engage with their employees about their professional and personal development. This demonstrates a general lack of appreciation for your employees and can be frustrating and demoralising. Employees want to be recognised for their work, they need to feel validated in what they are doing and to know those areas that they need to improve or build on in order to progress. Without this, motivation and interest can soon decline. 

Understandably, it can be difficult, particularly in a larger company, to find time to offer staff appraisals or one-to-one sessions due to time constraints or physical and practical limitations. However, expanding your e-learning system to include a performance management system can make conducting review meetings so much easier. 

A system such as Totara Perform allows you to tailor performance management around your organisation’s unique workflows, meaning you can collaboratively create goals for employees, monitor their performance and development, identify skill gaps and deliver an effective yet adaptable appraisal process. Having this system in place will have a significant impact on company culture, as staff will feel they have a clear development path, and that they are being seen, heard and appreciated. This leads to engaged and motivated staff and an overall improvement in workforce productivity. 


Dealing with a toxic workplace culture

A ‘toxic’ company culture can be characterised by a variety of consequential effects and is caused by several contributing factors. According to a recent MIT Sloan study, toxic work culture is the number-one reason people cite for leaving their jobs. Toxic workplaces often do not pay well, don’t recognise or reward exceptional performance, don’t facilitate employee communication, and do little or nothing to deal with harassment, whether in person or virtually. This kind of obstructive, harmful, indeed unsafe working conditions has detrimental and lasting effects on the well-being of affected individuals and ultimately, the business.  

More often than not, the issues that contribute to creating such a harmful working environment can be prevented or stopped if a business or organisation is willing to tackle them head-on. Eliminating problematic behaviour is not easy; however, an effective step towards finding a solution is education and raising awareness. Your e-learning platform is one of the most effective ways you can educate employees on appropriate workplace culture and attitudes.  

Whether it’s lessons on racial or gender discrimination or intimidation of subordinates etc., this education process needs to feel more than just a tick box exercise in order to have a lasting impact. In the past, this kind of training was traditionally classroom-based.  But today, your LMS allows for more inventive training methods. For example, you could use talking head videos, quizzes, and scenario-based training where employees are given ‘real life’ situations and expected to answer questions based on how they think they should act at that moment.

This kind of training can also be augmented with traditional face-to-face training by adopting a blended learning approach. As a result, putting employees in a simulation of a situation means they learn from mistakes without upsetting or causing harm to others in a real setting. 

With readily available content on your e-learning platform, issues can be dealt with reactively or proactively with immediate effect. You may choose to schedule monthly training sessions in order to prevent the development of a toxic workplace culture or, where problems have already been highlighted, you can enforce training straight away to tackle problems as they arise. Learners can complete the mandatory courses and hold themselves accountable once they have taken lessons on board. 


E-learning offers anonymity

Contributing factors to poor company culture can sometimes be caused by ignorance. Employees may be unaware that their behaviour is unacceptable or hurts others. For example, someone may have repeated a joke without understanding that it stems from prejudice or an outdated attitude. 

It can be difficult for an individual to gain an understanding of why their behaviour is causing offence, particularly if an individual is willing to learn and comes from a place of goodwill, as they may be afraid of asking questions in case they lead to further upset. 

Using an e-learning platform gives your users a certain level of autonomy and anonymity to seek out answers to questions that they may not feel comfortable asking in a large face-to-face group setting. For example, you may choose to have an anonymous Q&A section in your e-learning platform or within a live video training event where questions can be answered by a teacher on the spot. 

You may choose to include discussion boards with specific topics where individuals can anonymously engage in conversation regarding difficult subjects and learn from each other. This is an effective way to encourage employees to learn as you create an open, honest and safe environment for them, which will as a result have a positive and lasting impact on company culture.


Using your LMS to open up avenues for conversation and ideas 

Just as your LMS can be used to facilitate communication and conversation on behaviour, it can also be used to discuss other aspects of the business. Company culture can soon be affected if the progression of a business becomes stagnant. Using your LMS to open up a platform where employees can make suggestions for improvement and bring forth new and exciting ideas and listen to employees is a great way to ignite change. 

You can include polls, dedicated discussion boards or suggestion boxes which include a voting system whereby the top-voted suggestions are guaranteed to be actioned or discussed in review meetings. 

If you have a larger business or organisation, you may have segmented workers scattered across the country or the world in various offices/depots etc. Using an LMS to encourage the sharing of ideas or experiences across different departments and branches can make the company feel less fragmented and more unified. For example, the finance department in one branch may have found a way to streamline a process used across all branches and by adding this to the ‘finance’ discussion board in your e-learning platform, other finance departments across the country are now able to adopt this improved process. 


Using your e-learning platform to its full potential 

As you’ll hopefully now be aware, your LMS is capable of effecting real change across your entire business or organisation. However, it can be difficult to know how to take advantage of all the available features embedded within your LMS. To use your LMS to change your company culture for the better, you need to find the right LMS and work with the right provider who can help you achieve your goals.

As a Totara Platinum Alliance Partner and Moodle expert, we design and deliver high-quality e-learning solutions for leading UK businesses and organisations, building lasting relationships so that they can realise the full potential of their learning and development projects.  

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