Integrating Project Based Learning for Bench Employees

March 16, 2024
Today’s professional sphere demands continuous learning and skill development to stay competitive. For bench employees and individuals who are not actively engaged in client projects, finding effective ways to enhance their skills and knowledge is essential.  One innovative approach gaining traction is the integration of Project Based Learning (PBL) for bench employees. Let us look into the Project Based Learning concept and its importance to the bench employees and give the Project Based Learning topics to ensure effectiveness in professional development.

What is Project Based Learning?

Project Based Learning (PBL) is an approach to learning that centers on real-world projects instead of traditional classroom lessons. Different from traditional teaching, PBL encourages you to learn through practice, such as problem-solving and hands-on tasks. This enables you to build critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills by doing real-life challenges using what you have learned, just like you face at work. For bench employees who are not on client projects at the moment, PBL provides a great opportunity to continue learning and develop a set of skills. It ensures that even when not actively working on projects, bench employees stay important to the organization. They stay ready to contribute effectively whenever they are assigned to new projects.

Bench Employees: What Does It Mean in Business?

In business terms, a “bench employee” means a person in the company who doesn’t have a particular assigned project or task right now. Their job is to be on standby, waiting for their next task. This is a common case in industries that offer project-oriented work, like IT and consulting. While waiting for their next assignment, bench staff normally do activities such as training or skill development to remain productive. Being on the bench doesn’t mean they are less capable; it’s just a temporary phase between projects. Employers use this time to enhance their capabilities so they are prepared for the next project.

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning is a hands-on method that involves doing a practical project(s) to learn or strengthen existing knowledge. The purpose of the projects is to replicate real-life situations for participants and provide them with a chance to practice in a controlled setting. Skill development and application are the priorities, frequently in the setting of a certain job role or industry.

Pros of Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning (PBL) brings several benefits to both learners and organizations.
  • When employees play an active role in their training, it feels more meaningful, enhancing engagement and memory recall. 
  • PBL promotes teamwork, allowing teams to improve communication skills and work effectively together.
  • The culmination of the learning program could be a presentation, but the method does not focus on presentations. These skills are essential in various work aspects. PBL’s flexibility, whether in-person or online with a Learning Management System (LMS), facilitates collaboration among larger or remote teams.
  • For organizations, PBL poses real challenges, encouraging creative solutions from learners. By addressing authentic problems, organizations tap into employees’ innovation, fostering a culture of proactive problem-solving. This not only benefits individuals but also contributes to overall organizational growth and adaptability.

Project Based Learning Examples

Project Based Learning (PBL) involves tackling real challenges to find practical solutions. Here are three straightforward examples:

1. HR Team Project: Remote Collaboration

Challenge: “How can we make the most of remote work opportunities without losing the collaborative spirit among employees?” The HR team would research the benefits of remote work versus office work, examine best practices, and propose solutions. Their findings and a suggested remote-working policy will be presented.

2. Marketing Team Project: Social Media Strategy

Challenge: “How can we leverage social media’s power while safeguarding our company against risks?” The marketing team would identify effective social media channels, research benefits and risks, perform a SWOT analysis, and propose ideas for a balanced approach.

3. Leadership Team Project: Embracing Technology

Challenge: How can we use robots and AI to increase profits for our company? Senior leaders would look into the impact of AI and robotics on the organization and workforce. Research would delve into industry-specific implications, workforce changes, job loss probabilities, and potential impacts on the bottom line. This project could significantly shape the company’s future.

4. Tech Team Project: Cybersecurity Measures

Challenge: How can we enhance our cybersecurity defenses to protect against the latest threats? The tech team would research emerging cybersecurity threats, evaluate the company’s current security posture, and investigate best practices and cutting-edge solutions. Their project would culminate in a comprehensive cybersecurity plan to fortify the organization’s defenses. These instances demonstrate the PBL approach with teams’ active involvement in real-world problem-solving and promoting a result-oriented attitude among employees.

Strategic Integration of Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning (PBL) is not a method of pedagogy that is limited to the classroom; it has become a dynamic strategy that can be successfully implemented in corporations and shows positive results that contribute to organizational growth. The strategic integration of PBL for employees on the bench – those available between programs on client projects – requires a carefully considered approach for it to be effective. Here is a blueprint for strategically integrating Project Based Learning into the organizational framework:

1. Identify Organizational Goals and Skill Gaps:

  • Begin by aligning PBL initiatives with the overall goals of the organization.
  • Identify specific skill gaps or areas of improvement crucial for achieving those goals.

2. Tailor Projects to Organizational Needs:

  • Develop projects that meet the skill gaps or contribute to achieving the organizational goals directly.
  • Make sure that each project is aligned with the mission, vision, and strategic goals of the organization.

3. Involve Bench Employees in Project Selection:

  • Encourage input from bench employees when selecting PBL projects.
  • Empower them to propose projects aligned with their interests and areas of expertise, fostering a sense of ownership.

4. Establish Clear Learning Objectives:

  • Clearly state the learning objectives for every PBL project.
  • Make sure the objectives correspond to the skills and competencies the organization intends to develop.

5. Integrate PBL into Performance Metrics:

  • Align the success of PBL initiatives with employee performance metrics.
  • Acknowledge and reward employees for their contributions and achievements through PBL.

6. Provide Adequate Resources and Support:

  • Ensure that bench employees have access to necessary resources, both technological and informational.
  • Provide mentorship and direction to employees for the purpose of overcoming setbacks during PBL projects.

7. Promote Cross-Functional Collaboration:

  • Design PBL projects that encourage collaboration across different departments.
  • Encourage a knowledge-sharing culture and teamwork by providing opportunities for interaction among employees with diverse skills and backgrounds.

8. Incorporate Regular Feedback Mechanisms:

  • Establish feedback loops to assess the effectiveness of PBL initiatives.
  • Encourage bench employees to provide feedback on the relevance and impact of the projects on their professional development.

9. Link PBL to Career Development Opportunities:

  • Showcase the correlation between successful completion of PBL projects and career advancement.
  • Offer opportunities for bench employees to present their project outcomes to leadership or incorporate project achievements in performance appraisals.

10. Evaluate and Iterate:

  • Regularly assess the outcomes of PBL initiatives through quantitative and qualitative measures.
  • Use feedback and performance data to iterate and improve the strategic integration of PBL over time.

Take Your Next Step with Techademy

Techademy is your key to turning bench employees into valuable billable talents. With our ULXP, we make sure your team keeps learning and gains the skills to drive growth. Our Training is hands-on and personalized, guiding your employees smoothly into billable roles.  Our project-based assessments offered through our assessments engine: Techademy Yaksha simulate real-world scenarios and challenges. These assessments bring out the best in your bench employees and provide L&D leaders with valuable insights into their project management efficiency.  With Techademy, you can identify strengths, address weaknesses, and foster a culture of collaboration within your organization. Let Techademy help your teams transition effortlessly, unlocking their potential for long-term success. Connect with us today and convert your team’s skills into real value.  Don’t let your bench stay idle – reach out to Techademy to transform potential into performance!

FAQs About Project Based Learning for Bench Employees

Q1: Why is ongoing learning important at work?

Learning all the time helps you stay updated, gain new skills, and stay competitive in your job.

It keeps them engaged, improves their skills, and makes them valuable even when not on client projects.

Techademy’s ULXP is a great platform for constant learning, giving bench employees the skills they need for billable roles.

Techademy guides with Training, hands-on practice, and personal help for a smooth transition.

Yes, Techademy’s Training helps for long-term success, making employees a big part of the organization’s success.

Yes, Techademy’s Training works well for both small and big companies, giving personalized learning for everyone.

About The Author

About Techademy

The accelerated pace at which businesses are rushing toward digitization has primarily established that digital skills are an enabler. It has also established the ever-changing nature of digital skills, and created a need for continuous digital upskilling and reskilling to protect the workforce from becoming obsolete.

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