Can online peer-to-peer relationships boost your business?

Can online peer-to-peer relationships boost your business?

Are you doing enough to encourage your employees to share their skills and train one another?
According to the latest employee outlook survey from the CIPD, just over a quarter of employees (27%) say that their employer does not provide them with enough opportunities to learn and grow. Closely connected to retention, a lack of progression is one of the fastest ways to frustrate employees.
Interestingly, the survey also highlighted that it wasn’t always costly external training that held the most benefit for employees, with peer-to-peer training being particularly favoured. Of the 20% of employees who had learned from peers through face-to-face interactions or online networks, 91% rated it as ‘very useful’.
With that in mind, 2017 is likely to become the year the trend for peer-to-peer training truly takes off, with businesses keen to embrace employee development opportunities. The only question is how?
As Europe’s largest dental provider, mydentist has 700 practices across the UK, making it difficult for their teams to communicate with each other.
Speaking on the challenges they faced, Nicole Addy, their Social Media Manager said:
“I heard feedback along the grapevine that our dental nurses felt segregated from their peers across the business as there were no platforms for them to connect.”
Seeing an opportunity to rectify this issue, Nicole conducted a UK-wide trial of a Facebook forum as an online network, encouraging their dental nurses to come together and share experiences and advice.
“The forum is strictly for mydentist dental nurses and trainee dental nurses only; this helps them to feel like they’re in a private environment where they can voice their opinions and concerns. Since the forum started in August 2016, we’ve had over 890 dental nurses join. We see a lot of questions and advice on there as well as celebrating successes and general conversations, it’s all very encouraging as it shows the forum is serving its purpose of being a support network and providing opportunities for peer-to-peer training.
“The feedback has been so positive that we’ve now just started a mydentist hygienist forum, in hopes of replicating the success. With a plethora of clinical roles within our business, the possibilities of future forums are endless; it’s such a simple way of bringing our teams together.”
With training budgets often stretched, it’s clear to see why self-sustaining online platforms such as Facebook forums have never been more appealing to businesses across the UK. The question is, do employees share the same enthusiasm?
Speaking on her experience of the forum, and peer-to-peer training, Michaela Palmer, head dental nurse at mydentist Gloucester said:
“The forum has been a really positive way for all the nurses to ask any questions from many different areas, we are really lucky to be able to talk to people with such a wide range of experience and knowledge so easily, allowing us to develop as nurses and contribute to the practices that we work in. Also, it’s a great way to boost morale and really raise team spirit!”
There are few initiatives that hold so many benefits for both businesses and employees alike, and with social media the perfect way to provide efficient peer-to-peer communication it’s clear that innovative businesses will be embracing opportunities such as this across 2017.