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Talent Assessment | 8 Min Read

Role of Employee Certifications in Ensuring the Success of your L&D Initiatives

Introduction

COVID-19 outbreak has led to a substantial change in the office ecosystem wherein Work from Home (WFH) has become the new ‘normal.’ The abrupt transition has started reflecting on employees’ morale, productivity and engagement levels, affecting the overall performance. They are confronting numerous challenges while adjusting to the new work setting. The inability to move about has begun impacting their creativity. Therefore, organizations must come up with ways to engage and motivate employees.

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The last-minute lockdown did not allow leaders to create a blueprint for the coming months. Businesses started experiencing the impact of the pandemic after their workforce went completely remote. Numerous challenges emerged as a result of the remote work set-up.

Bottlenecks in Working from Home

As opposed to a regular workday, WFH has some notable drawbacks for businesses. Enkata’s analysis of workforce performance data revealed the following issues:

Dip in Productivity

Office-based workers are 50 percent more productive than remote employees. Working closely with peers contributes to their daily learning. Transparency in conversations and expectations further aids enhanced outputs. According to Owl Labs, brainstorming and strategic planning are the most challenging tasks when working remotely. The elements of agility, brisk ideation, wit and critical thinking are often missing while working from home.

Increase in Idle Time

Indians spend seven percent of their day commuting to the office, compared to most countries in the world, with more than two hours on the road every day.

Travel Time Report Q1 2019 vs. Q1 2018

Similarly, workers across the globe who earlier spent significant time commuting to work, have more time at their disposal, with commuting out of the equation. However, this reflects poorly on their performance as a home-based workforce has 30 percent more idle time during their work hours than office-based employees (Enkata).

Longer Breaks

With no access to house help and schools being shut down, people have started contributing to household chores, such as cooking, cleaning, teaching, etc. Even as the crisis mandates collectively contributing to household duties, it has somewhat started taking a toll on employees’ overall output. The workforce performance data indicates employees working from home have a higher percentage of hours clocked out during breaks.

Hence, organizations must confront these challenges to ensure that such minor setbacks don’t hinder the long-term organizational objectives. There is a need to bridge the gap between the workforce, supervisors and management, which can be achieved by keeping the employees engaged. When employees have a sense of engagement, they strive to outperform themselves, thereby contributing to the business.

Enabling Business Continuity through Employee Engagement

With the shifting paradigm of the workplace, workforce expectations are also evolving. We must consider that the remote workforce is also grappling with the unexpected change. Businesses now must provide means to keep the workforce productive, engaged and motivated. Creating a roadmap for employees would give them a direction and keep them engaged in these unprecedented times. Employee engagement in the current situation can be achieved by:

Ideathons and Hackathons

Hackathons are a means to keep the creative juices of the workforce flowing. They provide a remarkable boost to employees’ morale. Employees find innovative solutions to organizational problems as part of hackathons and ideathons that can be technical and non-technical. The approach of rewards and recognition inculcate curiosity and interest in employees. This eggs them to curate out-of-the-box solutions to a given business problem. The fast-paced activity brings together a diverse set of people to decode organizational hitches. Participants take a responsive and agile approach to build solutions. The leadership then rewards the best prototype. 

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Click Here to Know More about Hackathon as an Employee Engagement Tool

Learning and Development Initiatives

Companies must devise ways to continue investing in the learning and development (L&D) of their employees. Training and development are intricately linked to a sense of motivation, which drives people to perform better. Employees feel valued knowing that their company is invested in their growth. Even though the current situation might have hampered ongoing processes, organizations must not neglect their workforce’s learning needs.

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Growth opportunities play a crucial role in keeping the employees invested in their jobs. Top performers value companies that prioritize their career paths and customized L&D initiatives.

Future of Work Priorities for HRs in 2020

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Source: 2020 Global Talent Trends

As per 2020 Global Talent Trends, improving the employee experience and transforming talent practices are this year’s top priorities for HRs. HR leaders plan to take a targeted approach by focusing on future learning and workforce reskilling to achieve them.

With more time on hands, there is a massive scope of identifying skills gaps and training employees on newer technologies or models. Additionally, training should be complemented with online certification as it provides a sense of accomplishment to employees.

How Certifications Play a Key Role in Employee Engagement

Corporates can encourage the workforce to deliver quality work by ensuring the learning and development initiatives don’t remain limited only to training. Rewarding the workforce with certification after successful completion of training gives them a sense of achievement. Knowing that the employer duly recognizes their time and efforts, employees’ tendency to participate in the L&D program increases significantly.

An online certification implies that the individual possesses specific characteristics, validated by an external assessment or review. It corroborates if individuals possess the necessary skills to perform proficiently on-the-job. A certification system enables learners to acquire critical skills that would enable them to stand out. Employers equally value people who are driven by a continual urge to learn and grow in their careers.

Certificate programs have been identified as important to adult learners who are focused on workforce development and are concentrated in programs designed to prepare them for specific workforce roles.

Suzanne Buglione
Principal, CommunityBuild.

The modern-day workforce is mindful of the growing need to gain proficiency in a particular field even if it entails upskilling themselves. The certification platform provides a flexible learning path which professionals may take up simultaneously, with their ongoing work. It is an effective means to widen one’s abilities in a competitive world.

Certifications have become integral to employee development in almost every industry, including information technology, supply chain, finance, engineering, or management. The reason can be attributed to the fact that the certification system benefits both employers and employees.

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For organizations, training and certification will allow them to strengthen their finance functions amid technical change, and for employees, it will allow them to jump the skills gap and increase their prospects of career advancement.

Raef Lawson
VP of Research and Policy, Institute of Management Accountants.

The ROI of Online Certifications

L&D leaders globally agree on the long-term benefits of investing in an online certification tool. Online training certificates offer employees the means to monitor their progress and proficiency. Acquiring new skills helps employees work on habits that may hamper their output while honing their competencies.

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Source: State of Workplace Learning and Development 2020

As per our internal report, State of Workplace Learning and Development 2020, companies that do not issue certification post-training do not gain the expected Return on Investment (ROI) from their training program; their training effectiveness stood at 34 percent. On the contrary, organizations that issue digital certificates have training effectiveness of 47 percent. Online training certification signifies achievement and expertise. It exhibits the employees’ commitment to growth and development. It also reflects positively on your organization and enhances your credibility. Online training certification programs can help employees meet company standards, focus on their areas for improvement, and expand their knowledge and skills to become organizational assets.

Significance of Certified Training

Employee training goes together with an online certification. Certification is a validation possessed by an individual in a particular skills-set that their peers may not possess. For internal training, managers and HRs are in the right spot to furnish Learning Management Systems (LMSs) with learning modules specific to the job function and level. Internal training must be supplemented with proctored certifications. This enables employees to learn new skills and test them and get certified for the same. The certification, benchmarks and scores are also indicative of the quality of the L&D program. It must be noted that participation in the L&D program would not be high if the purpose of the program is to spend a couple of hours learning a skill. If employees are aware that they would be accredited after the training, they feel more engaged in the cause.

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Consequently, companies can also keep a tally or scoreboard of ongoing certification programs. This will foster a positive competitive spirit among employees and encourage them to partake in training and certification proactively.

IT managers reported that their staff was significantly more effective on the job after attaining certification.

-Global Knowledge IT Skills Salary Report

Certifications allow managers to assess their team members, identify high performers and hone their leadership skills for key positions. This especially applies to industries that undergo immediate changes, such as technology and medicine.

How to Choose the Right Online Certification Software

A stellar certification platform allows organizations to execute end-to-end certification seamlessly. Therefore, prior to finalizing a vendor that pops up on top of the search engine, consider the following:

Seamless Integration with LMS

The LMSs used by corporates to deliver their L&D programs have limitations. Thereby, companies are forced to look for an external service provider. Companies must look for certification software that can be easily integrated with their existing LMS to avoid managing multiple touchpoints. It ensures a single point of contact for your employee development needs.

Integrated Payment Gateway

The online certification software provider must render integration of payment gateway with the LMS. This ensures easy registration, payment and certification, thus reducing the turnaround time. Additionally, a good certification vendor would offer discount coupons that can be availed while checking out.

Easy-To-Use Dashboards

A great certification tool can create gamified workflows, add logic, performance criteria and allocate marks. Test-takers are only certified after they meet the benchmark set by the organization.

Remote Proctoring to Curb Online Cheating

The remote proctoring technology eliminates the need for invigilation. Secure browsers do not allow test-takers to navigate out of the test window or share their screen. Meanwhile, auto-proctoring detects any suspicious activity, such as the presence of an additional person or device and flags them, creating a cheat-proof environment for certification.

White Labeling

Search for a certificate provider that allows you to retain your brand image by allowing you to customize the certificates as per your brand guidelines, themes, or colors. This aids your brand-building efforts.

Clear Here to Know How a Seamless Certification Software Works

Conclusion

A forecast by Global Workplace Analytics suggests that the pandemic will dramatically accelerate the WFH trend. By the end of 2021, around 30 percent of the workforce will work from home more than once a week. This calls for a proactive approach wherein organizations must put sustained efforts for continuous learning and development of their workforce. The remote working set-up situation urges employers to embrace work from anywhere as the norm. Irrespective of job functions and industries, it’s time for leaders and organizations to redesign their L&D programs to stay relevant today and in the post-COVID world.

The Mercer | Mettl Way

To meet the continuous learning and development needs of your workforce, Mettl Certify delivers companies with talent that is skilled in the latest tools and technologies needed to excel in their job now and in the future.

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What Makes us Unique

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) in India has mandated registration on the portal- The Databank – for all Independent Directors in the Board of Indian Companies. On the portal launched by MCA, the independent directors will be directed to an LMS, which includes a vast array of e-learning courses on various topics, including the Companies Act, securities laws, basic accountancy, board practices, board ethics and board effectiveness, etc. The directors are also required to clear a basic online proficiency self-assessment test provided by Mercer | Mettl, to complete the process. 

There are currently more than 100,000 independent directors in India, and all of them will have to undergo the Mercer | Mettl certification. Individuals aspiring to become independent directors can register themselves on the government portal for certification. This responsibility and partnership with the government is a significant affirmation to the prowess of the Mercer | Mettl’s technology platform. It is a matter of great pleasure to partner with the Government of India for such a crucial step toward improving the country’s corporate governance landscape.

Originally published May 4 2020, Updated July 1 2020

Megha Singh

Written by

A writer at heart, Megha has been in the content industry for 4 years. Starting her career from print, her journey spans across IT, legal and consulting industries. She has been associated with Mercer | Mettl as Assistant Manager, Content Marketing for 2 years.

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