Content Writer Epignosis
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The four key elements of effective deskless workforce training


Deskless workers are often forgotten about when training courses are being designed, but these frontline employees comprise the majority of the global workforce. Not everyone sits in an office all day, and it’s time that training providers started to address this huge gap. Here are four ways to improve your training offering with these workers in mind.

29th Oct 2020
Content Writer Epignosis
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Deskless workers—they make up the overwhelming majority of the global workforce, and play a key part in nearly every industry in the world, but what do we actually know about their job training? Is it effective? How do deskless workers feel about it?

The majority of deskless workers are not only unopposed to additional training, they’re open to embracing it.

A recent survey conducted by TalentCards went directly to the source and asked 600 deskless workers what they actually want out of their job training.

Dealing with the disconnect

It’s not uncommon for deskless workers to feel disconnected from their company as a result of being on the move, or working away from a central location. Transportation workers, salespeople, and technicians are just a few of the many employees whose jobs demand they be on the road constantly. Not being able to interact face-to-face with other colleagues or upper management takes its toll. Indeed, 19% of respondents reported feeling ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ disconnected from their company’s values or mission, and another 25% said they felt ‘neither connected nor disconnected'.

Deskless jobs often lend themselves to independent work, making it only natural that these employees prefer self-paced learning. 

When asked if access to additional training would help them feel more connected, 63% responded yes. Does that mean that companies need to pull their people from the frontlines just for additional training?

Thankfully, no. Pulling employees away from their jobs for any reason is both costly and inconvenient. New solutions are emerging in the market that are making mobile training increasingly popular and effective. Mobile training is training that has been designed for people to complete on the move, usually using a smartphone or tablet. For mobile training to be effective, it is typically made to be interactive, and is broken down into multiple shorter lessons, rather than a single, longer course.

Mobile training: a sustainable, realistic solution

According to the survey results, 74% of deskless employees are comfortable with using their own personal smartphones to complete job training. That means that businesses interested in providing their employees with mobile training don’t necessarily need to also invest in company phones.

These encouraging findings indicate that the majority of deskless workers are not only unopposed to additional training, they’re open to embracing it. So, what do they want their training to look like?

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Training that’s fun is training that gets done

With the rise of gamification in training, it’s no surprise that 55% of respondents reported that they’d find job training more enjoyable if it was more fun.

This ‘fun’ element may be even more important for deskless workers than it is for deskbound ones, however. Training for a deskless worker is likely to be an even bigger interruption in the work day than it is for someone who works from behind a desk. For these workers, it’s not as simple as opening a new tab and completing an online course.

That means that the cost and consequences of boring training are bigger as well.

2. Short and consistent training is better than a long, one-time event

For many deskless workers, there’s no such thing as ‘I’ll get to it tomorrow’.

The very nature of their jobs demands that things be done today. If they’re not, then there’s no punching out. That makes long, drawn out training sessions not only inconvenient, but oftentimes impossible. In fact, 80% of surveyed employees said they prefer short, consistent training sessions over long, one-time events. Not only is this style of training preferable, but it also leads to increased memory retention.

If the goal is for employees to actually remember the skills they’ve learned, then consistent review and reinforcement is not just convenient, it’s critical.

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3. Increased accessibility leads to higher completion rates

In our survey, 33% of respondents reported that they’d find training more enjoyable if it was easier to access. This draws attention to the role that the delivery method plays when it comes to rolling out training initiatives.

One of the main reasons why deskless workers have chosen their professions is because they enjoy being on the move. As one respondent put it, “I enjoy not being chained to a desk”.

If training removes this freedom, then it has transformed from a learning opportunity, into a chore. In fact, when deskless workers were asked where they would prefer to complete training, given they could do it from anywhere, 30% said ‘at home’, 10% ‘on break’, and 10% ‘on my commute’.  

4. Self-paced training increases engagement with learning

Of the deskless workers we surveyed, 41% reported that being able to complete training at their own pace would make the process more enjoyable for them.

Deskless jobs often lend themselves to independent work, making it only natural that these employees prefer self-paced learning. The fact that they can complete it on their own time, and when they’re in the mood to, makes the whole process feel less like a chore, and more like a learning opportunity.

Best of all, self-paced learning allows people to go back and review sections as frequently and often as they like, which helps boost memory retention and engagement with learning.

Mobile learning: The missing piece in deskless employee training

Deskless employees don't just make up the majority of the global workforce. They also do some of the most important jobs, working on the frontlines of healthcare, law enforcement, essential services, and more. Despite this, the majority of training technology wasn’t developed with these individuals in mind.

By improving both their learning experience, and their access to training, companies can empower their deskless workers in their everyday roles, and ensure their people feel connected to their organisation.

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