How to Create an On-demand Training Program for Your Deskless Workforce

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Andrew Brown ·

Sep 01, 2022

By 2023, the volume of the gig economy (aka the on-demand economy) is expected to reach $455.2b. While that still pales compared to other industries, its growth is still impressive. 



For companies powering this economy, growth comes on the heels of an uncertain economy, society’s need for quick service and peoples’ desire for flexible work.

This growth and fundamentally different service model creates unique challenges for these companies. 

One of those is how to train, retain, and certify their workers. 

The solution is on-demand training

Here’s what you need to know to launch an on-demand training program. 

What’s On-demand Training?

On-demand training is a strategy gig companies use to educate workers on policies, best practices and other information they need to succeed. Unlike traditional employee training, gig companies design on-demand training to work on mobile devices so that people can learn whenever and wherever they want.

Why’s On-demand Training Important for the Gig Economy? 

Since the dawn of business, companies have used learning as a way to maintain organizational compliance and upskill their workforce.

These training use cases still exist, especially in the wake of the Great Resignation, but the methods used to deploy them don’t mesh with the DNA of deskless workers. 

For starters, these workers are mobile; it’s why they’re drawn to this line of work. 

It’s the flexibility that keeps them coming back. 

Asking them to show up at a specific time and location goes directly against this value prop and prevents them from maximizing earnings ASAP.

At the same time, gig companies are growing quickly. 

A company relying exclusively on in-person training will quickly blow through its budgets as the cost of venues and instructors rise. It’s also nearly impossible to deliver consistent and ongoing education to these workers. 

These people need answers now. If they can’t get those, they won’t succeed. If they don’t succeed, they’ll go work for another company that’ll provide more support.

If they do stick around, they’ll almost certainly be delivering subpar customer experiences, a move that’ll undoubtedly impact your ability to retain customers and increase their lifetime value. (LTV).

How to Create a 5-star On-demand Training Program

Now that it's clear why on-demand training is important, the question now revolves around how to do it well. 

How can gig companies effectively and efficiently launch an on-demand training program that’s capable of training potentially millions of workers located around the globe? 

Here’s how:  

Identify Key Business Outcomes

Creating an on-demand training program starts like any company initiative.

What are you trying to achieve? 

As the head of workforce training or someone involved closely with the program, identifying a key business outcome is vital. 

On-demand Training Goals

  • Accelerate workforce growth
  • Increase customer satisfaction (CSAT)
  • Improve workforce retention 
  • Speed up workforce onboarding (reduce TTV) 
  • Create operational efficiencies to help you scale

If you’re thinking, “I want to achieve them all,” you’re right. 

The best on-demand training programs benefit your workforce and customers. After all, well-trained workers deliver 5-star service to your customers, giving you a chance to retain both parties.

That said, at the beginning of your on-demand training journey, focus on one outcome and dedicate your resources to that. 

What’s the one thing really holding your company back? That’s your initial target.

Build Your On-demand Training Team

On-demand training teams come in different shapes and sizes.

A company like Instacart, for example, is likely powering its program with a large team and a ton of resources. Meanwhile, one or two people may be steering a startup’s program with a few pieces of content and little organizational buy-in. 

Differences aside, every gig company should leave 3 chairs at the table: 

  • An on-demand training leader 
  • A subject matter expert (SME)
  • An executive sponsor 

The program leader — maybe you! — is responsible for keeping the program on track and working with the SME and executive sponsor to keep it moving forward. Over time, this person’s role expands to account for a scaling program and team. 

The SME(s) — arguably the most valuable assets — helps you create meaningful content. This person, likely already located in your company, should be tied closely to your program’s goals (the one from above) so that they can align the content accordingly.

Finally, an executive sponsor will have your back at the highest level of the company, give you a vantage point into the boardroom and be your greatest advocate. While this person may lack on-demand training expertise and won’t be in the trenches with you, their support is essential to your program’s success.  

Choose the Right Gig LMS

As the art of on-demand workforce training evolves, one thing remains clear: You’ll need a robust, scalable, and intuitive learning management system (LMS) to make it work.

When considering an external partner, like Northpass, make sure that they bring together the right features and industry knowledge. But not just any features, they need to be equipped with ones tailor-made for the gig economy.

Related Reading: The Complete LMS Buyers Guide

LMS Features Built for the Gig Economy 

Generally speaking, you’ll want an LMS with features, scalability and adaptability to support the unique gig training objectives. Every LMS vendor will say they have those — and most of them do. 

But when you’re deep into the LMS RFP process, spend extra time on a few specific features: Embedded learning, an intuitive interface, analytics, cloud-based infrastructure, and customization. 

These 5 features are essential. Full stop. 

  • Embedded learning: You can connect your academy directly to your app and tech stack, giving your workers and admins an easy and seamless way to access the resources they need.
  • Intuitive Interface (UI): An intuitive interface makes it easy for your workers to find what they need, when they need it. Just-in-time learning is a huge part of a successful on-demand training program. If someone can’t easily find what they’re looking for, they won’t benefit from it.
  • Analytics: You should be able to quickly go into the LMS and get in-depth insights into performance. Quickly deploying that great content is great, but if you aren’t always monitoring it and making changes, long-term value is out of the question.
  • Cloud-based Infrastructure: A cloud-based infrastructure will allow you to deliver effective and consistent training to a scaling workforce without running into operational or technical hurdles that’d impact the learning experience and decrease engagement.
  • Custom: As with any such initiative, you want to reinforce the corporate image and messaging objectives and ensure it doesn’t appear as a standalone program. A custom LMS is the only way to do this, allowing you to completely tailor your training program to align with other touchpoints. 


Vendor Knowledge

A successful training program hinges on more than the right features; the vendor’s knowledge of the gig economy matters, too. 

Your vendor should know best practices, learning design and program management to ensure fast ramp-up and long-term success.

If you choose the right partner, the right platform and the right strategy, your efforts will promote retention and operational efficiency, while preserving the brand.

“I was looking for a platform with a culture that matches ours. A culture of delivering great things, and making magic, which is a core value at Uber. I was looking for a company that was genuinely willing to engage with us. This is what I’ve found with Northpass on a human and professional level.” Yann-Edouard Colleu, Marketplace UK Quality Lead at Uber

Once you’ve determined the scope and objectives, as well as the organization-wide stakeholders, it’s time to implement.

Depending on your resources and schedule, the implementation can be handled either in-house or through a vendor. 

In either case, it’s important to designate an in-house coordinator to work with both in-house and external teams to keep the project on track and resolve issues as they arise.

Moving Forward: What’s Next for You and Your Deskless Workforce?

Well, launch. 

Take what you have — even if it’s just a couple of pieces of content — and get started. 

As you go, take insights derived from your analytics suite and make meaningful improvements.  

If you do that, your on-demand training program is destined for success. 

Want to learn more about how Northpass can help you launch and scale an on-demand training program? Reach out today.

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About the Author
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Andrew Brown

Andrew is a Content Marketing Manager. When he's not creating, you can find him watching the Buffalo Sabres, obsessing about Scandinavia or exploring NYC.

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