Providing Staff With Training

With budgets tight and the loss of man hours whilst employees attend training, it is not surprising that many organisations find reasons to not provide training for their staff. The case for workplace learning has never been stronger, so such organisations are missing out on the many benefits their competitors (who provide training) achieve.

It is well-known that most employees highly value the opportunity to learn and develop their skills. This is particularly true of younger workers (the so called “Millennials”) and those who will soon be entering the labour market (often referred to as "Generation Z").

Knowing that the company they work for provides them with the learning and development opportunities they want not only helps attract such workers to your company, but keeps them engaged and motivated – so reducing staff turnover.

Though the cost of providing training might seem high in some cases, it’s probably far lower than the recruitment expense incurred replacing a bored member of staff.

But training is not just for your youngest workers, training your existing employees has benefits for the company too. Effective training, as you know, leads to a more efficient, flexible and effective work force and this can directly boost the bottom line.

A recent report by the Higher Education Policy Institute claimed that people in England and Wales possessed fewer technical and professional qualifications than people in other advanced economies. This skill gap is not new information, our clients have been reporting that they are finding it harder to both recruit appropriately trained staff and have concerns about succession planning as key people in their management teams approach retirement.

So for such businesses to grow and thrive investing now in closing any skill gaps is essential and also has the benefit of enhancing your company’s reputation as a Great Place to Work.

So what are the options?

There are basically three options companies use to provide training to their employees:

1. Long Distance/Part time Courses at Colleges or Universities.
Where formal qualifications are deemed essential companies can provide their employees with time off to attend a college or university course. Such courses typically cost between £6,000 to £9,000 per year. Courses take anywhere from 1 to 3 years to complete and are often undertaken on a day-release basis. As such they require a significant investment by the business in a single employee.

With such a high level of investment, it should be clearly established that the formal qualification gained is of true benefit to the company, and it is not a case of getting a qualification for qualifications sake.

The other issue companies have with providing such a high level of investment in a single employee is that the employee might leave shortly after completing their course.

To discourage this, a learning agreement is often set up which stipulates that the individual is liable to cover the full costs for the course should they leave within a specified period of starting or completing the course.

2. In-House Training/Open Courses
Not every employee needs, is able to, or indeed wants to undertake long formal courses. In-house training and/or open courses are a way companies can provide a well-rounded and inclusive employee training scheme

In-house training can be delivered “on the job” by your own managers (provided they are suitable skilled), by your own training department, or by employing an external training company.

Open courses are the most cost effective way of delivering training to individuals in situations where on-the-job training is either not possible, or requires reinforcement.

Which option(s) a company uses naturally depends on that company’s internal resources: knowledge and availability of internal "trainers", meeting rooms, suitable course materials, equipment, etc.

3. Online training
An increasingly popular way of providing all employees with access to training is the use of online courses. This mode of training allows employees to access the course(s) at their desks and is typically used for compliance training (such as health & safety training or business protection) either at induction or on demand as refresher training,

Online training costs are typically based on a cost per license purchased– with one license being required for every employee who accesses the online course.

Employees learn at their own pace and direct their own development so training administrative costs and managerial training time investment are minimised, making online training a very cost effective way of training large numbers of employees.

Getting the Most Out of Your Investment
Whatever option is chosen, you must be able to prove that the business is getting value for money from providing training.

Before any training is approved, you would naturally need to establish whether the course and the training method chosen is (a) relevant and (b) effective. Do not fall into the trap of selecting a course and training method just on its cost – focus instead on what you are trying to achieve and (if necessary) seek advice from training experts on the best way to achieve this.

How much should you invest in employee training? The simple answer is as much as you can. Everyone knows that training your work force does pay off. Training is about keeping hold of those valuable employees who could make a difference in the months or years to come and protecting your business by training the next generation accordingly as your experienced Baby Boomers retire and take their knowledge with them.

If you would like help or advice on the most cost effective way to train your employees, please contact us.