•   Article   •   3 mins

Motivational Learning That Answers “What’s in It For Me?”

“What motivates you?” Ask 20 people and you’ll get 20 different answers.

“What’s in it for me?” It’s the primary question people ask themselves every time they log into your company’s learning platform.

These questions matter, and smart L&D pros understand how much the answers can impact the success of talent development programs. That’s why the most innovative learning leaders always consider the implications as they create, personalize and deliver learning.

“Learners want to become part of the learning ecosystem — not simply bystanders or recipients of the learning. They want to be part of the learning,” according to Training Industry. “The opening [What’s In it for me?] WIIFM slide listing what they will learn no longer hits the mark. It is critical to look at the bigger picture and broader purpose of learners’ intent and motivations.

“The fast-paced, ever-changing work environment learners operate in changes from week to week and month to month, creating a need for learning that directly addresses not only their motivators but also their barriers.”

Creating your learning strategy with WIIFM top of mind can deliver great outcomes. Take, for example, retention. According to the 2023 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, one of the top five factors employees consider when deciding to stay or leave a position is their opportunities to learn and develop new skills. When you provide meaningful learning opportunities, you can motivate employees to stick around, influencing retention in a positive way. 

How can you make the most of WIIFM thinking and motivate your people to the fullest? Let’s take a closer look: 

Motivate through marketing.

Perhaps your employees want opportunities to build new skills. Their WIIFM is they want to advance their careers or expand their understanding of your business or industry.

The first step toward enticing your people to spend time learning is to market to them what’s in it for them. 

  • Gather positive testimonials from power users. Share them in lots of places, for example an internal newsletter. 
  • Highlight statistics like learning hours logged across your company, top trending courses, or the total courses available on your learning platform. 
  • Engage influencers who can spread the word about learning. 
  • Conduct focus groups to gather feedback on the challenges and benefits of your learning platform, and thank participants in a meaningful way. 

Motivate through a supportive user experience.

When employees find the time and motivation to log in to your learning platform, what do they encounter? Is it easy to find what they need and get started? Is it slow to load? Is anything broken? The goal is to make sure your user experience is seamless.

  • Make sure people can easily navigate your system and find the content they’re looking for. 
  • Correct any lag times or buffering. 
  • Confirm content and tools comply with the latest accessibility standards. Consider closed captioning, translation, color 508 compliance, and more. 
  • Enable people to pause media and come back to content. Offer training in small, easily-digestible chunks.

Motivate by making time to learn.

Workers often say they “don’t have the time” to learn, they aren’t sure what to learn, and they believe their manager doesn’t encourage it. Managers and individual contributors alike can fear their teams will judge them for “not working” if they’re seen to spend time learning.

But giving people time to learn often means a break from heads-down work, a chance to breathe in some new skills that benefit the individual and your organization.

Overcome common objections with trusty techniques:

  • Get buy-in from senior management to earmark a certain amount of time for learning.
  • Encourage managers to build learning into standing meetings or check-ins. Even if they’re simply asking their employees to pre-read and then discuss an article, that’s making time for learning. 
  • Ask senior management to promote to share that learning isn’t a “nice to have.” On the contrary, it’s expected.
  • Ask leaders to publicly share what they have been learning lately, and the impact it’s had.
  • Create communities of practice nurtured by recognized experts.
  • Consider a “Champions” group of enthusiastic employees from the business, not L&D.
  • Run contests and award prizes to encourage a learning mindset.

Motivate through engagement.

Create features and learning pathways that keep your learners coming back. 

For people who enjoy the spotlight, share their individual success stories on your learning platform homepage. For people who seek career growth, group modules and create pathways focused on key areas or skills. For people who want to learn something new — even if it’s not directly related to their roles — promote “nice to know” bonus content. And if a particular business unit is laser-focused on a specific topic, you can emphasize that too.

In addition to motivating employees, pathways can also help narrow content, so people don’t get overwhelmed with options. And when people can click “Next” instead of searching and not finding what they’re looking for, you’re showing them it’s easy to make time to learn in a frictionless experience.

Ready to learn more?

By addressing WIIFM, you can unlock people’s motivations and better connect them to lifelong learning. When you enhance your user experience and build engagement on your learning platform, your people will see how learning benefits them and, in turn, they’ll benefit your organization. Let’s talk more about how you can help your company motivate its workforce.

Got questions? Contact a Degreed representative today.

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