10 reasons why online training must be part of your L&D strategy

Online learning and e-learning have never been more important. The pandemic is forcing new ways of working and reducing our ability to train face-to-face. Meanwhile the user experience and integration capabilities of learning platforms has been getting better and better, and the choice of deployment-ready course material targeted at the needs of different groups is also becoming broader.

In practice, the vast majority of organisations already rely on online learning and e-learning in some way. However, a surprising number only take an ad-hoc or reactive approach to online learning rather than building a more sustainable and co-ordinated approach at the heart of their Learning & Development (L&D) strategy.

Here are ten of the many reasons why online training should be a key component of any long-term L&D strategy.

1. Learning is part of digital employee experience

Employee experience is an increasingly important concept where organisations are taking a more holistic, consistent, and coherent view of all their touchpoints with employees. By improving employee experience, they can attract and retain talent, and drive better engagement. Within this, digital employee experience plays a role. Learning is a key part of employee experience employees expect to be able to develop their careers and have opportunities for personal growth, but sometimes learning is not always as integrated into the digital employee experience as it could be. Online training can play a significant part of bringing learning into the heart of digital employee experience and into the daily flow of work. Any L&D strategy should ensure online training is a key component.

2. Achieving ROI on your digital workplace investments

Organisations are making significant investment in the digital workplace, often through platforms like Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams. When you ensure you have learning available through easy availability of online courses through a Learning Management System you are both driving adoption of digital workplace tools and supporting a valuable use case. This absolutely helps you achieve the ROI on your digital workplace investments; in this case it always helps to have your L&D strategy and your digital workplace strategy fully aligned.

3. Classroom training is rarely scalable

Classroom-based training can be important, but it requires considerable effort and cost in terms of premises, travel and time taken out of work by trainers and staff. This increases exponentially when training is delivered to a global workforce. In practice, it means classroom-based training is simply not scalable.

Not all classroom-based training can be replaced by online learning, but a considerable amount can. Online learning is far more scalable and cost-effective, meaning you can provide more learning opportunities for staff wherever they are located. Costs are reduced, and the reduction in travel is also good for the environment. Online learning is also extremely easy to roll-out, again demanding less time and effort, meaning you can also respond quickly to learning needs, a factor which has proved important during the pandemic.

4. Democratising learning for everybody

In  most organisations not everybody has access to the same levels of training courses. Because online learning courses are so easy to roll-out, it means it is far easier to give access to courses to all employees, regardless of their location. This means you can offer the same learning options to knowledge workers in offices and firstline workers in production plants or out in the field (sometimes through mobile devices), and the same level of choice to those in HQ and those based in different countries. You can even offer online learning across your supply chain. This supports training for standardised processes and knowledge across global and complex companies, and also effectively democratises learning by making it available for all.

5. Putting the learner in control

Online learning courses are usually offered on-demand, meaning that each individual employee has more power to control their own learning path either by selecting appropriate courses or choosing when to learn, at a time convenient to them. This has two positive impacts; it totally changes an individuals relationship with a course and puts them in control, meaning they are more likely to actually want to take a course because it is of interest. It also means that course completion rates are higher; even if it is a mandatory course they have to take, it means they can complete it a convenient time within a very busy working week. Overall online learning empowers individuals, leading to both effectiveness and efficiency.

6. Driving digital literacy

The digital literacy of employees where they have the awareness, knowledge and confidence to use the new digital workplace tools at their fingertips is regarded as an increasingly important factor for successful digital transformation. A digital literacy programme should accompany the roll-out of Microsoft 365, for example. Here online learning is an excellent way to support the roll-out of digital tools, not only covering how to use tools, but also why and in which scenario. There is already a huge choice of ready-made Microsoft 365 course material available and allowing employees to access these, often right at the point of need, is especially powerful. Another focus area of digital literacy is also around cyber-security; here again numerous ready-made courses are also ready to go.

7. Ready- made online learning covers most of what you need

The e-learning market is very mature meaning that there is a vast amount of high-quality course material formatted (SCORM etc.) and ready to drop into your Learning Platform. This covers everything softer skills, technical skills, highly specialist professional skills, knowledge and awareness and more. With the complexity of roles and related training needs within any one organisation, having access to the breadth of training available has considerable advantages in supporting the training needs of all staff, particularly specialist or niche roles.

8. Supporting knowledge-sharing a culture of learning

One of the great things about online learning material, particularly when it is delivered in bite-sized chunks including videos, is that it provides an excellent set of knowledge resources in its own right. Making it searchable delivers results; for example if is somebody is trying to use an IT system and needs a quick instruction video on how to use a particular aspect of it, they can search the learning catalogue and get a high quality, authoritative bite-sized video to meet that immediate need. Making this available not only solves problems, but also can have in interesting side effect of supporting more of a culture of knowledge-sharing and even learning within an organisation. This can help drive experimentation, innovation and more.

9. Supporting compliance

Sometimes learning is driven from a compliance angle and you may need to introduce mandatory learning to reduce risk, satisfy a suppliers demands around product awareness, meet professional demands from a regulator and so on. Online learning and e-learning is usually the best way to achieve this, particularly if a learning platform has the ability to track who has taken a mandatory course.

10. Supporting employees in the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a massive challenge to the way we live and work. Online learning can make a difference in difficult times in helping employees get used to new ways of working and navigate new tools they need to use to facilitate remote working. In practice, classroom-based training may also not be possible for the foreseeable future, so investment in online learning takes on more urgency. Finally, the depth of the current economic challenges means budgets are severely constrained; the relative low cost and ease of roll-out of online learning may prove to be a sensible option for current investment.


Announcing our new partnership with G01

With learning across the digital workplace so important, we have teamed up with GO1, an established leader with online learning that provides access to our clients to thousands of courses from multiple content providers. Our partnership with GO1 builds upon our existing relationship with the team at LMS365, a leading learning platform that seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365.

GO1s course catalogue is wide and covers a very broad range of more general and highly specialist course material that is ready-to-deploy in an LMS. GO1 also offer different options to access the courses. If youd like more information about the new opportunities to access online learning content created by our partnership with GO1, or to discuss learning in the digital workplace, then get in touch.

Ten ways to improve intranet adoption

What is the best way to boost intranet adoption?


This a perennial question that intranet teams, digital workplace professionals and internal communicators keep on returning to. Good adoption is regarded as an essential prerequisite for intranet success. In order to get the full Return on Investment (ROI) on an intranet and to experience benefits such as increased efficiencies and effective internal communications, then having good adoption is key. There is not much point in having an intranet if nobody is accessing it or not enough people are using it in ways that drive value.

Unfortunately, good intranet adoption is not a given and intranet teams spend much of their effort on activities and approaches that support good adoption. To further complicate matters there are also no hard and fast rules, or ingredient X, that guarantees good adoption. In practice, a mixture of approaches and tactics are needed to successfully move the needle.

Over the years we have seen many clients successfully adopt strategies that have contributed to good intranet adoption. Here are ten ways to consider boosting intranet adoption.

1. Define what successful adoption means

Adoption is actually quite a loaded term and can mean different things to different people. For some teams, it can purely be about getting numbers of unique visitors, particularly when an intranet has just launched. For others it may be to do with the level of transactions that are being completed, or the number of contributions, or even the proportion of employees who have configured their homepage for personalisation. If collaboration or social tools are threaded into the intranet, you may have a different view of what successful adoption is. It may also be more important for different groups such as managers to particularly adopt the intranet.

The point is to try and define what successful adoption means to you; when you have an idea it means you can start to design the tactics, change management interventions and targeted approaches that will help you get there.

2. Use your communication channels for a campaign

It is obvious, but it is important to get the message out about an intranet and its value. One advantage that internal communications teams have is that they usually own the digital communication channels. From email to social networks to the intranet itself, it pays to design a traditional communication campaign to help drive intranet awareness, and therefore support adoption in the long term.

3. Use a champions network

A tactic that consistently works to drive intranet adoption is a champions network that leverages the enthusiasm and energy of an army of volunteer evangelists to promote the new intranet to drive peer-to-peer adoption. Not only do champions boost the power of small central intranet teams to spread awareness of the intranet across a large workforce, but champions also present the benefit of an intranet in terms of the value that is has for specific divisions, locations or teams. Champions talk about the everyday value for specific roles and activities. This frame of reference gives the case messages about intranet use more value; hearing a recommendation from a peer can also sometimes have more impact than central communications.

4. CEO and senior leader involvement

A great way to drive adoption is to have a highly visible and engaged CEO (or similar senior leader) who is actively promoting the intranet and uses it regularly to communicate and interact on social channels, as well as explicitly telling people to use the intranet. Not only does this spread awareness and position the intranet as something that employees should be using, but it also encourages other managers to follow suit and behave similarly. This can have a trickle down effect and drive adoption across other layers of management. Using the intranet for essential leadership communications such as broadcasting town halls is also an effective tactic.

5. Have an attractive and intuitive design

When your intranet has a beautiful design and is easy to use, it is much easier to drive adoption. A modern, attractive, and contemporary design that is intuitive, easy to access and removes significant barriers to adoption is what you need to achieve. It is much harder to get employees to use a platform that is confusing, cluttered or looks dated; many teams find themselves surprised at the difference an attractive interface can make to adoption.

6. Focus on use cases that have value

One of the secrets of good intranet adoption is making sure that the intranet helps employees get things done and supports them in their working day. Internal communications and news are important, but they are hardly ever the main reasons employees visit and use an intranet. Therefore, it is key to focus on use cases such as completing tasks, HR self-service, finding essential information and Learning & Development that mean employees will keep coming back to the intranet.

7. Use personalisation to make the intranet relevant

A well-adopted intranet must make sense to a diverse workforce who want to see useful and relevant content and experiences. This can be challenging when you have a workforce that is diverse in terms of roles, locations, primary languages, needs and cultures. Using personalisation and content targeting is an important tactic in driving relevancy; when an individual can see content targeted to their individual needs and preferences based on their profile, then this can help drive more sustainable healthy adoption levels.

8. Make the intranet the front door to your digital workplace

An important role of modern intranets is to be the front door to the wider digital workplace, either through to links to other applications but also specific integrations. For example, when you are using a Microsoft 365 or SharePoint Online intranet you can easily provide a gateway to other tools like Microsoft Teams and Yammer. Having a single, digital front door is very useful for your employees and makes an intranet essential. This really helps drive adoption in the long term and is also why an intranet should always play a significant role in your wider digital workplace plans.

9. Ensure good content and findability

A strong intranet is always based on strong content and the ability for employees to find what they need. To keep on getting employees to return to use the intranet they must have content that they trust and is easily discoverable when they have a particular need. We could write an entire book on the approaches you need to put in place to ensure good content and findabilty, but they include content governance with standards and publisher training, automated author reviews, possible tagging and user testing any information architecture. Whatever you do on your intranet, make sure good content and findability are achieved as these are must-do items on the intranet agenda.

10. Use measurement and feedback to continuously improve

Continuous improvement is a great foundation for a successful intranet. By keeping on making improvements to capabilities, content, findability and the user experience, you can drive adoption; employees are more inclined to use a platform that keeps on getting better and better. Continuous improvement is not always easy to implement; but starting small and then getting into a process of improvement is the way to start.  Using measurement to find what works and what doesnt is at the heart of continuous improvement, as well as using valuable user feedback to see the real-world use and impact of the intranet. Defining what good adoption means makes continuous improvement easier as you can target your efforts.


Keep on working on adoption

We have only just touched upon some of the tactics that intranet teams can use to help drive adoption. We did not even talk about the importance of driving a good mobile solution, having naming contents, ensuring the intranet can be used for non-working communities and more.

At the end of the day intranets need to deliver value to employees, and that is the main prerequisite for successful adoption. Teams also need to work to spread awareness about the intranet and why people should use it. Many of the above approaches we have mentioned cover either one of these approaches. Another important principle is to keep on working on adoption there is always more you can do; an intranets teams work is never quite finished. If youd like to discuss how to improve the adoption of your intranet, then get in touch.

Webinar video: AI will transform the digital workplace. What are you doing about it?

Covid-19 has driven massive digital adoption and there is consensus that the new/next normal will be more digitalized than pre-covid19. Artificial Intelligence is believed to be central in the industrial revolution 4.0, however research shows* that only 10% of AI implementations deliver the value expected.

Join Esben Rytter, Dan Hawtrey, John Scott and Joe Perry of Content Formula as they discuss the topic and answer the following questions:

  • What is AI and why is it important
  • What is AIs role in the digital workplace
  • When will AI disrupt my business?
  • What can I do about it?
  • Where and how to get started?

*State of the Digital Workplace Report 2019 Q2, CMSWIRE and Simpler Media survey based on 450 executives globally

12 factors to consider when choosing your internal communication platform

We need an internal communications platform for our company. Where do I start?

Here at Content Formula we find ourselves being asked this kind of question from customers quite often. The technology choices for employee communications are now broad and mature; there are a lot of technology options and product choices. While this is a nice problem to have, it can be difficult to know how to start working out what will be the perfect fit for your needs and drive a strong digital employee experience.

There are a lot of different factors that need to be considered when you start choosing the right employee communication platform. It is likely that you will need to carry out some user research with your employees to nail down some specific requirements and then go through some kind of formal evaluation or RFP process. We are not talking about a decision that you can make in a week; investing in the right employee communications platform is important and warrants proper attention and process.


However, when you are starting out it can really help to know the kind of internal communications platform that you are after, for example whether you are looking for intranet software like Livetiles, or perhaps a LiveTiles Reach employee app. It is also important to know the kind of problems you are wanting to solve and focus on are you trying to improve the employee experience or are you more focused on efficiency?

Here are twelve things to consider when you are choosing your internal communications platform.

1. Your overall company strategy

What is your overall company strategy and objectives? Perhaps you are looking to merge two companies, to drive standardisation, to achieve digital transformation, to drive efficiencies or transform the digital employee experience. Perhaps you have to meet an ambitious recruitment drive? Perhaps you are having to readjust in the new reality of a post-pandemic world with continuing lockdowns and difficult economic conditions? Whatever your company strategy, the objectives and capabilities of your employee communication channel will need to align with these wider aims.

2. Key stakeholder strategies and objectives

Your choice of employee communication platform will also be heavily influenced by other critical strategies from key stakeholders. These include your technology strategy, your digital strategy, your internal comms strategy, your HR strategy and even your customer experience strategy. There may also be some related roadmaps which have some real bearing on your choices; the IT and HR technology roadmaps are particularly important here and may include dependencies that impact your communication technology choices.

3. Employee and user needs

A huge impact on your choice of your communication platform are the needs of your employees. It is important to have an understanding of:

  • the processes that need to be improved
  • the pain points that need to be removed
  • the information employees rely on to complete tasks
  • how employees interact with devices
  • the kind of content that engages employees.

The more you have of this kind of understanding, then the better decision you will make to choose the kind of platform that will make a real difference to the employee experience.

4. The composition of your workforce

Its also important to understand the composition of your workforce and the range of different needs across regions, locations, divisions and roles. Global workforces can be both complex and diverse with multiple cultures, languages and circumstances. In particular, you may have office-based employees and those who are frontline or deskless; your solution may need to be able to deliver effective messaging to very different groups.

5. Your current digital communications set-up

What you already have in place for digital communications is also a major factor. You may have an intranet that already works and need an employee app, or the other way around. You may have an extensive network of digital signage. You may want to change one of your technologies so it integrates with the others, or you may want to look to evolve an ecosystem from scratch. Knowing what already works and what doesnt is also a valuable input into choosing the right product and related approach.

6. The technology landscape: Micrososft 365 or not Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365The current technology landscape is also important in terms of ensuring that whatever you choose will fit into your technology stack and potentially integrate with other tools. Often the key question here is whether you are on Microsoft 365 (or SharePoint for on-premises) or not; do you want your communication platform to integrate with SharePoint, for example?

In our view if you are on Microsoft 365 it makes sense to make sure at least your intranet is based on SharePoint Online because it offers far more possibilities to evolve a compelling digital workplace and drive excellent communications.

7. Device ownership

The hardware and devices in operation will also be a factor here. You want to ensure the right compatibility with the computers and mobile devices that your employees have, and also whether some employees may have to use their own personal mobile devices to access digital tools. This latter point is often a key decision point on choosing an employee app platform.

8. Security and risk

Depending on your sector, legal and regulatory commitments, and information security requirements, security and risk are going to be a big factor in the choice of any product. Its always worth considering these from the outset as it can dictate your technology choices, in particular relating to cloud vs on-premises.

However, there can be a surprising amount of wiggle room, as sometimes risk considerations are dependent on the information and communications you choose to include on a communication platform. There are also configurations you can usually make to navigate some of these challenges.

9. Budget and resourcing

Obviously, your budget will be a consideration here and it will be useful to have some kind of range of what is realistic. However, when thinking about money it is worth taking into account the total cost of ownership across three to give years. Look beyond the first-year licensing and installation costs however attractive these may seem. Does the solution save you any time and money? Are there any additional costs that need to be taken into account?

Youll also need to consider the resourcing required to manage it. For example, a new intranet is likely to need some kind of dedicated intranet manager.

10. Identity management and related data

If any factor gets missed in choosing a platform it is considering the state of the data that underpins your identity management set-up. You may have data dependencies which you need to make a particular employee communication platform work. In particular, relatively  complete Active Directory data usually fed from a HR system is usually critical for driving effective personalization on an intranet, but not all organisations have this.

Also, whether your frontline employees have digital identities usually in the form of corporate email addresses will also dictate the kind of solution you choose; your choice of internal communication platform may need to be able to be accessed by people who arent on Active Directory at all. This tends to be an area where employee apps perform better than intranets.

11. Timetable

Your timetable can be important. There may be a pressing, urgent need to roll something out quickly, for example an upcoming merger. Some platforms are quicker to roll-out, although there are usually options to proceed quickly for most products, for example taking more of a minimum viable product (MVP) approach.

12. Detailed requirements

Ultimately you will need some kind of more detailed requirements to make any final decision on technology.  You want to ensure the platform you invest in has all the specific capabilities you need. Carrying out a detailed user research and discovery phase to get those requirements is critical.


Improving the digital employee experience

Your choice of communication platform is important in driving the best digital employee experience possible. But it is not always straightforward there are multiple factors to take into account. We hope this article is a useful starting point. If you would like to discuss which internal communications platform is right for you, then get in touch!

We use cookies to give you the best experience on our site. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find more about the cookies, please see our Cookie notice.

You can also read our privacy policy.