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The role of MOOCs in employee happiness

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Over the past few years there have been a number of studies showing the positive impact workplace learning has on employee happiness and engagement.  The general thesis is an obvious one – invest in staff and this investment will make staff feel secure and valued, whilst at the same time giving them new skills, thus improving their own value in the marketplace.

A new paper produced by office supply company Viking highlights how a relatively small investment in training can produce a big boost in happiness.  The paper, called The Boss’s Guide to Workplace Happiness, highlights how spending just £286 on employee training can boost workplace morale by 35%.  This compared to a boost of just 3% delivered by a £5,000 pay rise.

“The findings of this study considered, it is essential that you – the employer – take responsibility for implementing applicable changes within your workplace. With the costs of recruitment higher than ever, and the propensity for small businesses to rely on adaptable and loyal members of staff, the appropriate social, monetary and esteem-based remuneration must be provided to ensure employee engagement and success.” the study said.

It reminded me of a recent conversation I had with the guys at enterprise social networking company Broad Vision about various converging trends in workplace learning.  On the one hand, you have the multitude of studies such as this showing the strong incentives out there for organizations to invest in training their staff, both in terms of reducing the skills shortages and also boosting morale.

On the other, you have the rise of MOOCs as a viable mechanism for delivering workplace learning to employees as and when they need it, at of course a very affordable rate for employers and employees alike.

Throw into the mix the desire for MOOC platforms to promote social learning via formal and informal study groups and you also have a viable use case for enterprise social network vendors and consultants to encourage employees get together online and discuss what it is they’re learning.

There isn’t a great deal of evidence that such a triple threat is yet hitting the workplace, but I think it’s only a matter of time.  Watch this space perhaps.

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