5 Things to Consider Before Introducing Ongoing Learning Resources and Programs to Employees

For years, ongoing education was deemed a luxury, not a necessity; continued learning was something professionals could partake in outside of their day-to-day responsibilities when they had the time, unless obligated to do so by a professional association. 

Although professionals and their employers want to prioritize developing new skills, most don’t have the time to set aside to attend workshops and classes in person. In the legal profession, Continuing Legal Education (CLE) requirements are often obtained through online courses that lawyers will watch, which was far from the norm a mere few years ago.

And thanks to the rise of streaming and blockchain technology, today’s employers and employees can access a wide variety of educational courses and cultivate their own intellectual development when and where they want. Prioritizing real continued personal and professional development programs among employees is one of the best ways to ensure that your business does not get left behind amid the technical and digital revolution.

If you’re contemplating how to introduce ongoing learning resources and programs to your employees, here are a few things to consider.

1. Take advantage of streaming advancements.

Whether it’s a live-streaming conference presentation from a renown thought leader or a series of presentations and conversations from subject matter experts aiming to help individual cultivate real and tangible new skill sets like social media implementation and coding literacy, streaming advancements make any academic and professional development pursuit possible.

2. Don’t box your employees in.

Rather than forcing your employees to all sit through the exact same courses and programs, it may be more beneficial to both parties to give them choice. For example, an entry level employee on the sales team may greatly benefit from content regarding self-presentation and public speaking, whereas individuals in a design department may get the most out of coding tutorials and training. Plus, giving your employees the leeway to make their own choices, will also encourage them to take their development courses more seriously, because they’ve chosen curricula that is truly of interest to them. 

3. Allow them to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule

The most important factor is convenience. Being able to access the material anywhere, anytime and on any device allows people to fit learning into their busy daily schedules. If you force your employees to attend a mandatory three-day development conference, there’s a good chance you’ll receive eye rolls and less-than-enthusiastic attitudes. If, however, you present professional development courses as opportunities for them to personally grow and take control over, there’s a better chance their interest and commitment levels to the teachings will spike.

4. Be open to new payment mechanisms

Many up-and-coming educational resources will run on blockchain technology, which means their marketplaces will be fueled by tokens. If you are hesitant to jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon within your own business, it may be time for you to consider how tokens will make these business resources more accessible in real time.

“Tokens can have added benefits automatically attached whereas fiat cannot; for example, we may have a discount which is automatically provided for a purchase using tokens, or institutional lending for education may have a reduced rate for token holders buying courseware,” says SuccessLife CEO Tony Lorge, who runs a decentralized marketplace where people can access thousands of hours of content from renown individuals and thought leaders.

5. Pay it forward

The beauty of the proliferation of educational streaming resources is that anyone across any line of business has the chance to also impart their own wisdom on the world. As a business leader in your own right, you likely have an array of experiences and skill sets to share with other hopeful young leaders. Through decentralized streaming services, you (as well as any individual) have the chance to participate in the education landscape as both student and teacher.

Southwest's Apology to Passengers on Flight 1380 Is Brilliant, and It's Not Just the Cash. Here's Why

For the passengers who survived the emergency landing on Southwest Flight 1380 this week, on which Jennifer Riordan died, the flight must have been a horrifying experience. 

The pilot and copilot have had been hailed as heroes, and Southwest CEO Gary Kelly was praise for the fast apology and condolence statement he offered via video. But you can imagine that the airline might want to continue to respond to the affected passengers quickly.

Apparently, it has. Even as the federal investigation into the incident continues, Southwest reportedly sent letters with personal apologies and quick compensation to passengers from Flight 1380 just a day after the emergency.

Obviously, any big company that faced a debacle like this needs to do something similar and quick.  Many do, but only in exchange for people offering to drop all claims against the company (more on whether that’s happening here, in a second).

But there’s something interesting in how Southwest handled the issue–a combination of what they offered, and how they worded the apology letter, as reported, signed by Kelly:

We value you as our customer and hope you will allow us another opportunity to restore your confidence in Southwest as the airline you can count on for your travel needs. … In this spirit, we are sending you a check in the amount of $5,000 to cover any of your immediate financial needs.

As a tangible gesture of our heartfelt sincerity, we are also sending you a $1,000 travel voucher…

Our primary focus and commitment is to assist you in every way possible.

What leaps out at me is, oddly, the smallest financial part of the compensation: the $1,000 travel voucher. (Although, it’s funny: psychologically people sometimes put a higher subjective value on a tangible thing valued at a certain amount, then they do on cash.)

Even in the wake of tragedy, Southwest is taking steps to try to keep these customers–as customers. 

As some commenters have pointed out, while the uncontained engine failure aboard flight 1380 was terrifying for passengers, and resulted in loss of life and injury, it’s by no means the first time a flight suffered a similar catastrophe and ultimately landed.

Commercial airlines like a 737 are designed to be able to fly with one of the engines disabled, and professional aircrew train and drill on what to do in this kind of situation. The emergency was deftly handled by Captain Tammie Jo Shults and first officer Darren Ellisor.

Part of why this story was so widely reported however, is that passengers were immediately sharing it on social media. One passenger famously paid $8 for inflight WiFi even while he thought the plane was going to crash, so that he could broadcast on Facebook Live what was happening and say a farewell to friends and family.

So, connect this to the travel vouchers. Beyond taking a step toward repairing the relationship with these passengers, what better PR result could Southwest hope for than some positive travel experiences and social media posts from one of them, as a result? 

I wouldn’t expect Southwest to articulate this rationale; that would actually undercut it. And, I do have a couple of other questions about how this all works, for which I’ve reached out to Southwest for answers. I’ll update this post when I hear back.

For example, I would assume that the family of the passenger who died on the flight, Jennifer Riordan, would be treated differently, and maybe also the seven passengers who reportedly were injured. 

There’s also the question of whether these are really just goodwill payments, or a way to quickly settle 100 or more potential claims against the airline. If it’s the more traditional, transactional legal strategy of just trying to settle claims quickly, then that undercuts a lot of this.

However, I’m judging based on the experience of one passenger, Eric Zilbert of Davis, California, that this might not be the case. Zilbert reportedly checked with a lawyer before accepting the compensation,” to make sure I didn’t preclude anything.” Based on the lawyer’s advice, went ahead and did so.

Of course, this doesn’t mean every passenger is happy with the gesture. For example, Marty Martinez of Dallas, the passenger who became famous after he livestreamed the emergency landing over Facebook Live, said he’s not satisfied.

“I didn’t feel any sort of sincerity in the email whatsoever, and the $6,000 total that they gave to each passenger I don’t think comes even remotely close to the price that many of us will have to pay for a lifetime.”

Even so, Southwest sort of got what they’d probably like to see in his case, anyway: a tangible demonstration that despite the experience aboard Flight 1380, he’s willing to fly with the airline again.

The proof? He gave his quote to an Associated Press reporter, the account said, “as he prepared to board a Southwest flight from New York.”