Are you ready to move from traditional classroom education to online employee training? Does your company have a lot of information employees need but lack a way to deliver it quickly? Can formal classroom training manage every topic or tool your employees need to learn? Or has your current classroom training fallen behind because of immense employee growth? Thankfully, online employee education can be delivered in many different ways. And not every company has the exact reason for wanting an online training program. Employee growth may be just one reason to move from a traditional classroom to an online setting. Other companies are looking for ways to recruit top talent and improve employee engagement by providing on-the-job training. Whatever your company's reasons for moving forward with online training, it never hurts to be prepared. Below you'll find helpful tips that will give any employee education transition a successful start.
Plan your Employee Online Education Program with Clear Objectives
You'd be surprised how many people start a transition project like online training without clear objectives. Perhaps, your company wants to reduce travel costs to in-person training events, especially for remote workers. Besides the convenience, maybe online employee education classes would benefit employees who need to learn topics your company wouldn't ordinarily devote time or space to, like software skills, workplace safety, or sexual harassment. Or perhaps, your company's employee engagement and satisfaction have decreased, and online training is a great way to increase worker productivity.
Another good reason to have clear, defined goals is that it's easier to track and measure ROI. Before you plunk a ton of money on online training software or get on board with all those super-cool e-learning features, you need to know your audience, their educational needs, and the type of training you want to deliver. So when you do sit down with vendors, you're ahead of the game before they start their sales pitch.
Determine the Online Training Format Your Employees Need
There is a wide range of online training options with various delivery methods. It's not always a one-size-fits-all because a varied audience or group of employees may learn differently. To meet this variety of learning needs in the workplace, it's sometimes easier to go with a mix of formats. Below we break down the most common types of online employee training:
E-learning comprises self-paced, computer courses where users interact only with a computer, not fellow students or instructors. This format is useful for learning topics that are not related to your company's industry or business, like software or sales skills.
Virtual Seminars or Live Meetings are a way to train employees online when interacting with a subject matter expert is necessary. It's also the perfect format if you have many remote workers. This format can easily be built into an E-Learning series.
Informal Learning, where employees learn a subject by collaborating with others, is a tool that can augment any of the formats mentioned above. They can be as informal as discussion groups where subject matter experts or trainers provide input to employees' issues or workplace queries on various subjects of choice.
A Mix of Formats may be the solution for your company. Even virtual seminars can be cost-efficient when extended over days or weeks to give employees more time and for instructors to supply feedback.
Get the Buy-In from Higher Ups Numbers speak louder than words when a transition to an online training program needs support from management. When getting management buy-in, consider creating assessments from internal surveys among supervisors and employees. Use these results as motivation for why online training would work with some teams or the entire company. Managers not only shed light on their employees' training topics but also advise which groups need training and where training gaps exist.
Once you have management's attention, share the facts.
Numbers from reputable sources can go a long way in stating your case for transitioning to online training. According to the 39th annual industry report from Training magazine, companies spent an average of $1,111 per employee for 2020. While training seems costly, other studies suggest replacing one salaried employee takes anywhere from six to nine months.
What small businesses don't have in budgets, they make up for in number; 101,258 small businesses participated in the survey comprising one-third of the total training expenditure of $82.5 billion.
These numbers touch the surface. Moving forward, 40 percent of all companies cited online learning tools as part of their future training expenditure.
Communicate the online training goals
Set the online training goals and expectations first. Then get management's feedback on the training content, course design, and program goals and ask if they would participate as facilitators.
Reveal the results of the online training
Reveal insights about how the online training is progressing. At the end of the training, explain what worked, what did not, and why.
Regardless of your company's size, implementing a well-planned online training program improves employee retention and keeps your company competitive. Companies that invest in training remain relevant while also increasing employee motivation.