digital rendering of a human brain in front of a blue and purple background

6 Online Courses to Level up Your Digital Workplace Leadership

May 03, 2022 Digital Workplace
Kaya Ismail
By Kaya Ismail

Managing in the digital workplace requires a very particular set of skills.

Motivating and engaging a diverse and sometimes remote team across time zones and locations is not the same as when managers and teammates worked face to face in the same office. Moreover, evolving collaboration tools and emerging workplace technologies are enabling new types of synchronous and asynchronous work that don't require the same level of in-person management. 

“The future of work is increasingly digital, with many employees and workplace leaders opting to work remotely for the foreseeable future,” said Yvonne Bell, senior vice president of people and culture at Kitchener, Ontario-based D2L, an online learning provider.

Some things remain true, though. Good managers take an interest in employee development, work to understand what motivates individual team members and look after their needs. But digital workplace leaders can't rely on the same old techniques. Managers need to be able to provide better support and training for employees working remotely or in-office. They need support in figuring out how to best use new technologies to foster better collaboration and boost productivity.

For digital workplace leaders, it has never been more important to grow their skills. Fortunately, we live in a time of abundance when it comes to online learning. A range of high quality courses, some of them free, are available through a wide variety of online learning platforms.

Build a Culture of Learning and Growth

A robust set of digital skills are essential for today's leaders if they intend to lead their teams through continuous change and transformation. Beyond that, the ability to create strong interpersonal connections across platforms is increasingly imperative as the world turns more digital. A culture of ongoing learning and development is key, and this should start with them. 

For instance, leaders, managers and workers should look to sharpen their skills to learn about the current communication trends, models and strategies. Online courses can be helpful in achieving this. “Courses that promote positive communication techniques can help retain employees and encourage safety, support and growth,” Bell said. 

While there are many online courses on offer, according to Bell, leaders should choose courses based on three criteria: quality, value and accessibility.

To ensure quality, find courses provided by reputable organizations, institutions or industry experts. Identify the value by defining the benefits the course provides towards achieving goals. Accessibility includes whether a course offers a flexible schedule that suits busy managers and can be covered within budget.

Some courses, particularly those from universities or graduate schools, come with a high price tag but will lead to a degree or a certification. Others from massive open online course platforms, or MOOCs, are more economical, even free, and include a digital badge for those who complete the course. Determining what is right for managers depends on considering their day-to-day needs as well as their career plan.

Related Article: Find Your Learning and Development Influencers

6 Online Courses for the Digital Workplace Leader

Here are the six economical online courses for the digital workplace leader:

1) How to Manage a Remote Team

Remote work is now the norm for many enterprises, and managing this distributed remote workforce remains a challenge. This course, offered by the remote work leader at devops platform GitLab, focuses on learning to lead and build high-performing, flexible remote teams. This course is designed to introduce managers to the remote-first mindset with develop insight and knowledge needed to implement remote work practices and policies and foster collaboration. 

Related Article: GitLab's Betsy Bula on How to Make Remote Work

2) The Ultimate Guide to Employee Onboarding

Onboarding is a crucial element in achieving high employee engagement and productivity in today's fast-paced work environment. This course, created by executive coach and former chief people officer Jessica Yuen, aims to help HR leaders and managers identify bottlenecks in their onboarding process and design solutions to help address them, and includes frameworks, practical examples and templates to get started.

3) Virtual Teams: Remote Team Management and Leadership

Leaders should aim to get the best out of their virtual teams and this course teaches strategies for retaining motivation, enthusiasm and a sense of belonging in the virtual workplace that also boosts productivity. While this course, taught by management trainer Chris Croft, doesn’t focus specifically on technology and tools, it teaches digital workplace leadership and how to navigate varying emotions, cultures and working conditions.

4) Skills to Succeed in the Digital Workplace

Today's workplaces are rapidly evolving and people have to adapt and grow to reach maximum productivity. This course, provided by the UK's University of Leeds, acts as a guide to help managers adjust and learn about the digital workplace. The course teaches current digital workplace trends, how technology is shaping the future, techniques to enhance communication and presentation skills, and how to build an online presence and professional network.

5) How to Influence, Inspire and Impact as a Leader

A skill that’s always important for any leader or manager is the ability to influence and inspire workers to achieve the organization's goals. This management course by leadership teacher Lorraine Wiseman is targeted at business owners, managers and those who want to polish up their leadership chops. Companies including Volkswagen, Box, NetApp, Eventbrite and Nasdaq provide this course to employees to help guide them from a manager's mentality to a leadership perspective.

6) Work Smarter, Not Harder: Time Management for Personal & Professional Productivity

Embracing remote work brings new challenges. How do managers focus on their own productivity and effectively manage their time? This course, from Univrsity of California, Irvine instructor Margaret Meloni, aims to give managers a deeper insight into time management, strategic planning, scheduling, delegation and prioritization.


Featured Research

Related Stories

close up of a stack of newspapers

Digital Workplace

Slack Unveils Canvas, ServiceNow Upgrades Now Platform, More News

pushing someone else across the ice

Digital Workplace

Can AI Nudging Help Keep Workers on Track?

Owl perched on wooden stake against clear blue background

Digital Workplace

Artificial Intelligence of Things Emerges: Should You Care?

Digital Workplace Experience Q4: October 12-13, 2022

DWX22 - Q4