New research from C. Jeffrey Waddoups, an educator in the Economics Department at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, proposes there's been a sharp decrease in employee training over the 2000s -- the majority of it well before the Great Recession. This is sad news for a few reasons.
The fantasy that employees can somehow get skills without training, on their own or from the government, remains a fantasy. Even if we believe that there are good replacements for workplace training, they aren't happening.
1. Candidates aren’t prepared for the workplace.
Why is educating a workforce important? For managers, the greatest objection about potential candidates is that they don't have the right abilities. But how do you educate and train a workforce that is more easily distracted than ever?
For some companies, the answer is short digital-learning sessions that are available at employees’ convenience. Instead of going to a brick-and-mortar building or taking a correspondence course, employees can take courses online. There are courses that cover every imaginable topic for advanced certification, and there are basic certification courses to help new and budding employees as well. The stigma for online training has changed, too. What was once viewed as a poor man's method for obtaining a skill is now a golden industry standard.
2. Make sure new hires are trained consistently.
Traditional training models involve employees being trained by a supervisor, then being set free when they are deemed ready. There are too many variables to this. How can you ensure one person will train a new hire the same way time and time again? This conundrum is only magnified when multiple supervisors enter the equation.
Online training ensures consistency. It also limits excuses. Whereas an employee can always blame shift to their supervisor when confronted with their performance (I was never trained that way), it is not possible with online training. All training is consistent.
Yet, it is interesting to note that many employers are not completely sold on the concept of online training as a company paradigm. As many as 50 percent of them believed that in-person training coupled with online training would yield better results, as revealed in a 2015 survey conducted by InterCall. It seems that while an online-training model shows great promise, employers are still wrestling with buy-in to a degree.
3. Millennial workers are already on board with the model.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, millennials already represent the majority of the workforce, and by 2030, they will comprise 75 percent of it. That stat should bring hope -- not heaviness. This generation is accustomed to learning in an online environment. While older generations might offer a bit of resistance to online training, millennials already view it as normal and accepted. This makes employee online training a great model when trying to attract a younger workforce.
Beyond these three, there is one great reason to consider online training: It saves money. This is one area where you can go green and really make a dent in office / training supplies line item on your budget. Plus, the money spent with online training can be maximized to compound efforts by training employees in groups.
The best part? The training does not have to be provided by your company. By contracting out with other online training providers, you can ensure your staff are trained by some of the top professionals in your industry. This is a great way to increase productivity and improve employee skill. That is what it is all about anyway.