ESG is a catch-all term covering Environmental, Social, and Governance issues. Regulators, potential customers, employees, lawmakers, and other stakeholders are increasingly looking at ESG factors when assessing an organisation. For example, a potential customer making sure your ESG strategies and priorities are aligned.
Providing e-learning courses can improve knowledge and change behaviours in ESG-related areas, but how do you make sure you get maximum return from your ESG e-learning investments?
Identify Priority Topics
The first step is to identify the topic areas where knowledge gaps exist. You can also look at the areas where your business faces the greatest level of risk, or where there is a pressing compliance requirement.
Examples of potential ESG e-learning course topics include:
- Introduction to ESG
- Why ESG Matters
- ESG Risks and Opportunities
- ESG and Decision-Making
- ESG Reporting Requirements
- ESG and Compliance Requirements
- ESG and Change Management
- Sustainability in Procurement and Supply Chain Management
- Sustainability and the Circular Economy
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Bribery, Fraud, and Corruption
- Harassment and Discrimination
- Human Trafficking
- Data Protection and Information Security
- Conflicts of Interest
- How ESG Gives You a Competitive Advantage
- Managing and Assessing ESG Risk
- The Future of ESG
Focus on Outcomes
When developing e-learning courses on ESG topic areas, it is easy to end up with content that delivers little more than a tick beside a box on a corporate strategy document. Given the benefits of ESG knowledge and awareness, it is much better to focus on tangible business outcomes from ESG training rather than simply getting people to complete a course.
Some outcomes that can be achieved through ESG e-learning courses include:
- Improved understanding of the importance of ESG to the business as a whole, including the ability of the business to implement and achieve its strategic objectives in relation to ESG topic areas.
- Better understanding of the ESG reporting requirements that exist in your organisation and where responsibilities reside.
- Enhanced knowledge of the wide-ranging impact that ESG topics have on the organisation, from financial performance to risk mitigation to perception in the marketplace.
- Increased understanding of how ESG is applied in your sector and the challenges your sector faces.
- Improved support for ESG initiatives across the organisation.
- Behavioural change, both in terms of behavioural change that can be measured using objective metrics, and behavioural change that is subjective, so is often measured through observation.
Tips for Creating E-Learning Courses on ESG Topics
Tailored training is always best
There are lots of generic ESG courses available on a wide variety of topics. They are suitable in some situations, but most organisations will not achieve the results they want through generic training.
Generic training usually fails to engage learners, even when the training is high-quality and professional. The main problems occur when learners can’t connect with the training because it is not relevant to them.
As a result, the best approach in most situations is to create tailored ESG e-learning content, particularly on the topic areas that are most important to your business.
Focus on relevance
Following on from the last point, make sure the ESG e-learning that you create resonates with learners by using stories, content, images, and scenarios that match their real-world experiences.
One of the barriers you will need to overcome with ESG e-learning is helping learners understand why the training applies to them. Using real-world examples and content will help connect the dots.
Lead from the top
In most situations, it is not enough to delegate the creation and promotion of ESG training to the learning and development team. After all, your employees are busy. They need to have a compelling reason to give up their time for what can appear to be an abstract or distant training topic.
When the importance of ESG training is communicated from the top of the organisation, learners will have a better understanding of the relevance of ESG topics to the wider business. They will also feel more involved in the process and will be more likely to engage with the training.
Make sure the e-learning courses are high-quality
As mentioned above, ESG training topics can appear to be abstract or distant from the day-to-day experience of learners. ESG training topics can also be complex, and they can be challenging and difficult.
With all this in mind, you can see how easy it is to lose the attention and goodwill of learners, particularly if the e-learning course is not up to scratch. Your ESG e-learning courses should instead be high-quality, and they should exceed expectations.
The best approach to achieve your desired outcomes with ESG training is to engage on an emotional level with learners. Facts and figures, laws and regulations, procedures and processes are all important. However, you also need to make a connection with content that is memorable and gets learners invested in the topic.
It is common with ESG e-learning development to have a burst of activity where courses are created and promoted. Attention on these topics then starts to drop off as other factors move up the priority list.
While this is understandable, it is also important to remember that topics that fall under the ESG umbrella are not going away. In fact, they are gaining in importance. Therefore, the best approach is to continually add to your ESG e-learning library, while also updating existing content with the latest information, thinking, and best practices