Digital Learning and the blended workforce 

Part-time, self-employed, freelancer, gig worker, contingent worker, independent contractor – these are all terms for what is increasingly becoming the new normal in workforce practice. The operating models supporting these dynamic workforces are based on an increasing acceptance of the concepts of home working, remote working, mobile working, and the digital workplace. In 2021, under pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic, a vast number of organizations have had to switch to this way of working at incredible speed. For many, it has been a stressful exercise, but we have also learned some incredibly valuable lessons about the power and possibilities of remote working. For some, one such discovery is the advantages and opportunities created by the blended workforce. 

A blended workforce describes a workforce made up of a significant proportion of freelance, part-time, temporary or on-demand workers in addition to permanent staff. The retail and hospitality sectors have, of course, been working in this way for decades – recruiting temporary staff to meet peaks in seasonal demand. The rise of the gig economy and increases in home working have fuelled new business models such as Deliveroo, Uber and Fiverr – all examples of enterprises with a blended workforce at the00ir centre. But with so many different elements to your workforce, how do you approach the learning needs of your organization?

The perks of developing a blended workforce 

The increasing employment of independent and contingent workers over the last decade, together with, and perhaps because of, advances in technology, have propelled the emergence of new, more agile business models that rely on a more dynamic, remote workforce. These agile models help organizations benefit from wider recruitment opportunities and a more diverse talent mix. Now even an early-stage start-up enterprise can afford to recruit globally. 

Whether you employ a core staff, supplemented by seasonal recruitment of temporary workers, or you are working with a network of gig workers, freelancers, and contract workers, you can recruit, onboard, train and support your employees remotely. 

Working in this way means businesses can meet peaks in demand, access additional skill sets on-demand, and drive cost efficiencies by accessing the skills, know-how, and extra hands needed, on a non-permanent basis. It also means that recruitment is no longer limited by location, with more and more companies accessing wider talent pools and recruiting increasingly diverse workforces. The added benefit of working in this way is that periodically bringing in fresh perspectives can stimulate new ideas and spark innovation. 

A digitally enhanced operating model increases organizational capacity, facilitating round-the-clock operations. Being able to more easily recruit across geographies means businesses can offer 24-hour support and resources to its customers, as well as to their global workforce. 

Additionally, considering all organizational stakeholders to be a part of your blended workforce can work in your favour, driving efficiencies and improving performance up and down your value chain. Some of Motimate’s client organizations use Motimate to train both their internal staff and suppliers, with suppliers required to create training courses on their products so that staff can ensure they are up to date on product functionality. By treating your suppliers as a part of your extended, blended workforce and integrating your e-learning system across all stakeholder units, learning can be disseminated all the way up and down your supply chain.

How to support a blended workforce  

Mckinsey reminds us that organizational agility is as much, if not more about people than the technology that supports them. Getting the right operational processes and governance structures in place to support decision-making is key, as is the building of dynamic capability around a stable core – this applies both to your people and the technology infrastructure that supports them. A blended workforce brings with it additional resources, skills sets and know-how, giving an organization the ability to adapt and forming the basis of new product and service delivery. The technology should be designed to make life as easy as possible for your people, removing barriers to great performance.

Maintaining and supporting a blended workforce brings with it a new set of challenges for businesses that are new to working in this way. Even for those who have employed such a model for years, there are always ways to improve knowledge transfer and daily operations. A blended workforce introduces new IT considerations because, to successfully support such a workforce, a business needs to hold its content outside of its existing security infrastructure. With more people accessing enterprise resources (potentially, around the clock) from more locations such as their homes, cars and public spaces, security is paramount, but so is accessibility and a seamless interface. To help its customers achieve these things, Motimate uses an Anywhere Operations model so workforces can access everything they need, regardless of geographic variations in data handling legislation, and with the added benefit of single-sign-on, so people only have to log on once to access everything. 

Meeting the learning needs of your blended workforce 

A major consideration is the different learning requirements of your employees. With a mobile based e-learning system you can ensure that everyone has access to training and information, whether they are in warehouses, on shop floors, driving trucks, sitting on trains, or working from home. In addition, you may be operating across time zones and in different languages. 

Levels of experience will vary too, as will the relevance of training material. Personalizing learning pathways is definitely key to engaging your different stakeholders. Approaching your learning content in this way also allows you to control what is shared outside of your organization’s firewalls. It is important to deliver a strong onboarding program – so that everyone, even your temporary workers, understand and buy-in to your organizational culture.

Delivering a consistent onboarding experience creates a baseline for all employees which is helpful when analyzing the greater complexity of data resulting from a more diverse workforce. Integrating your e-learning system into a sophisticated reporting tool helps you to understand how different user groups are responding to the different material types so you can understand what kind of training content works best for which groups.

Talk to our experts!

If you would like to know more about how you can use a mobile-first e-learning system to harness the power of social learning, get in touch with us to have a chat and find out more.