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How AI and Machine Learning Can Help Build a More Engaged Workforce

AI and machine learning are changing onboarding for the better by offering customized, engaging employee training solutions.

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BY Rhett Power - 16 Mar 2018

How AI and Machine Learning Can Help Build a More Engaged Workforce

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are making their way into all aspects of our lives and businesses. Every time you ask Amazon's Alexa for the weather forecast or book a car through Lyft, you're benefitting from the power of AI. Entrepreneurs, in particular, are seeing their companies being transformed by these technologies, and that trend will only continue in the coming years.

One obvious opportunity for leveraging AI and machine learning in your business lies in teaching new employees about their responsibilities and the company. Many businesses already use online training programs and simulators when onboarding new employees. Such tools allow companies to deliver cohesive training experiences while maximizing human talent. After all, why waste highly skilled staff members' time repeating rote material during training sessions? Instead, they can focus on answering questions and observing new hires' aptitudes. They can then use those insights to coach those team members based on their unique strengths and weaknesses.

As eLearning Industry founder Christopher Pappas explains, AI and machine learning will free up considerable behind-the-scenes resources for entrepreneurs. By leveraging eLearning tools, leaders will be able to help workers close their skills gaps in engaging and efficient ways. Imagine the increased productivity your business would see if new employees could level up their skills without a significant investment of time and energy from your senior staff members. Everyone's performance would improve, which leads to boosts in both profits and morale.

Smarter Tech, Smarter Approaches

AI and machine learning allow you to create personalized learning experiences so employees can learn at their own pace, based on their own needs. Herding an entire department of people into a one-size-fits-all training session is inefficient. Different people struggle with different responsibilities. Likewise, some need more help with certain aspects of their jobs than others. Personalized learning systems give people a chance to work toward their individual goals rather than toward blanket external benchmarks.

But as with any new technology, eLearning integration comes with, well, a learning curve. Here are some tips for getting it right:

1. Incorporate smart content.

Throwing too much information at new hires at once is a recipe for inefficiency. Not only will they not retain most of it, but they'll frequently need to ask questions about job basics that were reviewed in training. Fortunately, smart eLearning platforms enable you to break training lessons into digestible chunks. Most people learn best from experience, so simulated scenarios are a great way to instill important concepts. Task-based onboarding is far more effective than asking people to sit through lectures or read the company manual and then get to work.

2. Give them a grade.

It's not enough to assign new hires online content to read and study. The key is getting them to engage, so incorporate gradable assignments into the process. At the end of each training lesson, ask new employees to complete a short quiz for which they must type in their answers. Doing so forces them to focus on the material, and it gives you insight into who is truly engaged and who needs some extra help. You can also use an AI platform to scan for specific keywords in the answer sets. Then you can use that information to discern which employees are missing the mark on core concepts.

3. Use multiple types of content.

We all know that reading text for hours at a time is tiring and overwhelming, especially when it pertains to technical job functions. Break up the monotony by designing an eLearning curriculum that includes short- and long-form written content, photos, infographics, video, and audio. People process visual input 60,000 times faster than they do text, so using a variety of content formats helps you impart information in ways that stick. Ideally, make the modules available via desktop and mobile so new hires can access the materials wherever they are.

4. Allow for remote learning.

Remote work arrangements represent a growing trend, so you should build your onboarding and training processes accordingly. Not only do virtual training options allow for flexibility for employees, but they also save you money. Flying all of your new team members to headquarters for training can be costly, so embrace options that bring everyone together in a digital space.

5. Gather feedback.

At the end of each e-learning session, collect feedback from all participants. There are always opportunities to do better, especially when you're introducing new technologies. Ask new hires what worked and what did not and use that information to improve your e-learning modules. In a recent poll, 38 percent of workers said that when their bosses ignore their suggestions, it leads to decreased initiative and poor morale. By taking your new employees' feedback seriously, you will both facilitate future onboarding efforts and show them that their opinions count.

AI and machine learning are transformative technologies. Used effectively, they will drive increased productivity and boost employee satisfaction. When people enjoy a customized work experience from day one, they feel valued and will be motivated to help your company succeed.


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