Developing a Learning Culture

Why Sending An Email Isn’t Enough To Inspire Employees To Learn

You put a ton of resources into creating a learning initiative for your team, all just to have it be neglected to wither away in an LMS graveyard. Sound familiar? It’s frustrating to put all of your time and energy into a program that doesn’t really get a response. Maybe you even tried to send out an email to drum up support–and still; nothing.Clearly, an internal email isn’t doing much to inspire your employees to take action and use the learning program. But you do have the tools to inspire. That’s where your marketing and communications teams step in and do what they do best: inform, intrigue, and inspire action.

Remember why you are building these programs from the ground up: to support and develop your team to ultimately build the knowledge and skills to tackle your toughest challenges and attain your larger goals. You want your team to actually use the learning you’re providing right?

Bringing The Marketing Method to Learning

Marketing has used something called a “product launch” methodology in marketing messaging and materials for years. It’s a way to grab the attention of customers and cause a burst of excitement and anticipation that ultimately leads to a surge of purchases the day the product launches. This time-tested approach also happens to be a really creative and effective way to get employees excited about upcoming learning, and most importantly, actually use the learning you create.

You need to do a little more than hit “send all” to get your learners on board. Here’s the secret sauce to apply this methodology to market your internal learning.

1. Stop presuming the benefits of your learning are obvious to your employees.

There’s a great fallacy amongst many product managers, which also applies to learning and development leaders: employees are just going to “get it.” But employees won’t blindly accept a new learning initiative just because you said so. You have to prove its merit and convince them that you’ve built something useful to them.

Unfortunately, email, messaging, and the entire campaign around getting learners excited about learning is usually either an afterthought or non-existent. If you take the time to implemented a “product launch” and explained the benefits properly, you’ll get a lot more employees trying out the initiative and utilizing more learning resources.

2. Tell a story with your messaging by putting together a launch sequence of marketing materials.

Sending one email to your team announcing the launch of your latest sales training, or leadership development program is not only uninspiring, but honestly, a little lazy. Remember this: Isolated pieces of communication often feel like white noise. Our brains are hardwired for story, so whether it’s our marketing materials or our internal communications to announce a new program, you get the best results from connecting each message in sequences.

Each piece must represent a part of the whole story you are trying to tell, and launch in the right order to keep your audience engaged. This can and should be more than just emails. Videos, GIFS, animations, illustrations, podcasts, PDFs, and a world of available content options offer you the ability to get creative and spur your employees to not only use the training, but spread the word about the initiative for you.

3. Capture attention through messaging. 

There is a formula to do this and do it well, and I’ll share it with you. (It’s important to follow this messaging sequence in this exact order for the best results.)

1. Intrigue

Tell them just enough but not all about how this program can change their life for the better. Whether it makes their job easier, leads to more career opportunities, or simply takes the headache of a certain task out of their daily routine, this is where you grab their attention by telling them how you will transform their life. Remember that learners always want to know what’s in it for them before committing to a program.

2. Painting the picture

It’s one thing to tell someone you are going to help them transform their life, but the next message has to paint a clear vision of what it would be like for them to experience that transformation. Video can be extremely impactful here at painting a clear picture using scenarios that show the aftermath.

3. Ownership

At this point, they are so captivated that they can’t wait to see how this transformation will happen. The solution? Your learning program. This is where you plug your program in and paint it into the vision you’ve already created in their mind.

When launched with a marketing mindset, learning initiatives can generate the same buzz garnered by high-profile product launches. Teasers paired with clear objectives help learners see that it’s not just another training program, but something that truly revolutionizes the way they act every day.

Can an email do that?