When undertaking anything new in life, it’s always those first steps that are the hardest. Those inspiring individuals who, having never set foot in a gym in their lives, sign up for a marathon will tell you that running the marathon itself wasn’t the biggest challenge. The biggest challenge was tying up their new running shoes, and hitting the pavement for the first time. It not only requires a significant mental effort, but also for practical considerations to be made. What trainers should I buy? Should I start on a treadmill before road-running? Are there running techniques I need to learn? And so it is, when deciding it’s time to switch your organisation’s L&D strategy to one centred on e-Learning. What company do I go with? Will the integration of this technology create downtime? Will the staff buy into it? Is it even worthwhile doing? So many questions, so much to think about. Knowing the journey our own customers have been on, we have put together this mini-guide to help make a bit more sense of it all, and answer some of those more pressing questions.

Step 1: Acceptance

Maybe the hardest step, certainly the most important. Like when a football manager accepts that she needs to drop her star striker because she’s just not performing, or a smoker accepts after a particularly brutal coughing fit, that they have to kick the fags, accepting that something must change requires humility and not a little bravery. Is the cost of hiring external trainers mounting up? Is it becoming a problem losing staff for days on end to face-to-face L&D sessions? Are staff demonstrably more productive and able to do their jobs after these sessions? Are producing and printing bulky training manuals eating into budgets? Do these manuals fly in the face of your organisation’s commitment to being environmentally friendly? If you find yourself answering all, most, or even just one of these questions in the affirmative, then it might be time to accept that something needs to give. That there’s a better, cheaper, greener, more effective way of developing your workforce.

Step 2: Choosing the right company

If you’re already at this stage, then congratulations. It won’t be long now before you’ve future-proofed your L&D strategy with a most pleasing digital platform. That is, of course, providing you choose the right company to partner with, which is what makes this step so critical. Celebrating a decade of developing and deploying outstanding learning systems next year, Papaya’s success in a crowded market tells its own story. Trusted by a multitude of organisations, spanning a range of professions and industries, Papaya platforms have revolutionised the way our customers have been able to educate and train their workforces. Our time in the field has also allowed us to diversify the types of service we provide, so our expertise extends beyond just e-Learning platforms, meaning we can provide solutions for a range of problems. We don’t just sell you a platform and then run, we can stay by your side throughout your journey.

Step 3: Making first contact

Our website provides all the contact details you’ll need to get in touch with us. If you’re armed with a bit of prior knowledge first then great, but we’re used to organisations contacting us without much idea about e-Learning. We welcome the opportunity to tell you about our services, how they work, and the many ways they’ll benefit your organisation going forward. We’re so confident in fact, that not only will we give you a free consultation as to how to integrate and manage your new platform, we’ll even let you try a demo version for free as well.

Step 4: Getting staff onside

So, the demo was a roaring success, and you’ve decided an e-Learning platform is exactly what the organisation needs. Having had technicians integrate it into your infrastructure within days, and requiring precisely zero downtime, your next challenge begins; getting the workforce enthusiastic about it. It’s a challenge, but it can be done. Key to getting the workforce on side with any new initiative, is linking involvement to career progression. Make it explicit that completion of modules will have a direct impact on employees’ ability to climb the company ladder. Their motivation can be enhanced by incentivising them to complete modules with the likes of gift cards and cash prizes for high scores. Listening to your employees also helps. Ask them what they want from sessions, where they feel their gaps in knowledge lie, and how they feel modules could be improved. Our piece, Hook me in: How to get employees interested in training, goes into more depth with ideas on how employee engagement with the platform can be achieved.

Step 5: Measure

Once the workforce has assimilated to the new platform and e-Learning has become normalised, it is important to measure the impact it’s having. Maybe at quarterly intervals, examine the organisation’s KPIs, and monitor staff morale. It is at this point it will start to become clear the true worth of e-Learning as an investment. With staff needing less time away from their role, a deeper learning achieved, capital for manuals and trainers untouched, and Mother Nature winking gratefully at you as a bonus, your bottom-line will start taking a most pleasing shape. And you should see a few more smiles about the place too.