In IT there’s this notion of a 10x programmer. This legendary creature is someone who is ten times more productive than the average programmer (in other words someone who contributes as much as ten other employees).
Admittedly this might be a little on the hyperbolic side, but the truth is that in any industry there are indeed employees that are much more valuable, motivated and productive than their colleagues.
Your job, as a manager, is to create an environment and a company culture such that those star employees can be discovered, empowered and allowed to flourish. In this post we’ll examine five ways in which eLearning, with the help of a modern LMS, can help you do just that.
1. Keep an eye on newcomers
In Employee Orientation (or “onboarding”) you’re introducing new hires to your working environment and giving them the information they need to start being productive.
Traditionally done in the form of office tours and welcome seminars given by senior employees, employee orientation is now being automated in the form of online courses that new hires can study at their own pace and refer back to at any time.
This is also the perfect moment to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Instead of randomly assigning new hires to any available position they have the necessary qualifications for, have them complete one or more aptitude tests as part of their onboarding programs. Use the results of these tests to determine what would be the best position for each, and who shows the most potential going forward.
Keep an eye on those that scored best on such tests — they’re most likely to be your future star employees.
2. Measure training results
Employee training is not just about teaching your employees some new skill. It’s also about accessing their performance during this training.
Using the built-in capabilities of a modern learning management system (LMS) you can have access to multiple performance indicators: submitted exercises, tests and quizzes, grades, skills and certificates awarded, etc.
You can also use the powerful reporting facilities available in an LMS such as eFront to generate detailed reports based on employee performance, or to dive-in and examine the training history of your best students in minute detail.
3. Spot self-motivation
Most companies run their eLearning courses for specific subsets of employees and at specific times (e.g. when there are new hires, or when they need some existing employees to pick up some new skill).
That doesn’t mean that their LMS platforms are powered down for the rest of the time. Usually they’re kept in operation, waiting to offer courses on demand to anyone interested.
In any case, it pays to check your eLearning platform’s access logs. You may find that some of your employees log in to your LMS even at times when they’re not asked to. Some might want to refer back to their old training material. Others want to study more advanced stuff, or learn the skills needed for another position.
Whatever the reason, those users are among your potential star employees. They are people that exhibit an intellectual curiosity beyond that of their colleagues, and that are motivated enough to study on their own even when it’s not required of them.
4. Pin a star on them
Using your LMS platform to spot your star employees is own thing. Keeping them happy and letting them be productive is another matter.
Giving them the appropriate position within your business or organization is the first step.
For some this might be the position that their training results tell you they are already good at. For others, this might be the position that they aspire to have and try to learn as much as they can about.
You must also signal to your other employees that such training performance and motivation is something that you value. Pay raises, bonuses and promotions to your star employees are great ways to show that.
It’s not wise to be stingy in this regard; your competitors might not be. Besides, if your star employees know that they are more talented and productive than their peers (and they *will* know), then your failure to acknowledge and award them will create ill feelings and ultimately a negative environment.
That said, sometimes a simple token of appreciation, such as awarding them a certificate or merely expressing your gratitude can be enough (as long as it’s followed by something tangible in the long run).
5. Let them teach others
As we showed, eLearning can help you identify your potential star employees. Beyond that, though, it can help you leverage those same star employees to train the rest of your workforce.
You see, the secret behind your star employees’ productivity is not just their natural talent or motivation. It’s also the workflow they follow, the skills they’ve picked while on the job and the techniques they came up with. And while raw talent might be in one’s DNA, all of these can be taught.
Ask them to create some training classes of their own, in which to teach their productivity tips to their colleagues. Such classes will serve both as an acknowledgment of their “star” status and as a method of knowledge retention within your company.
If they are team players they won’t see this negatively (e.g. as others “stealing their secrets”) but as a chance to pass down their expertise to others; and if they aren’t team players, then you probably don’t want them in your team in the first place.
In this post we’ve examined several ways in which you can use your eLearning portal to identify and empower potential star employees: shorting them out during employee orientation, using reporting tools to evaluate their training progress, checking for employees that are motivated enough to learn by themselves, and letting star employees create eLearning courses to pass on their special skills and expertise.
If you want to try these techniques on your own enterprise or organization, then take our own eFront LMS platform for a free test drive. It comes with all the tools you’ll need to create and run your courses, organize employee orientation and evaluate your employees’ training progress.
If you have any questions regarding eLearning or our eFront LMS, contact us and our own star employees will be glad to assist you.
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