Studies have shown time and again that it costs less to provide ongoing training to current employees than to hire new ones. An article in Chron discusses this relationship, stating: "The type of training necessary to bring an employee up to speed also impacts costs. On the job training, where workers perform their tasks and learn as they go, is relatively affordable, while lengthy induction training—the training you provide for workers before they’re ready to begin job functions—can incur higher costs." But even if you and your colleagues have embraced this concept, the effort to lower training costs doesn't end there. For many, virtual training is a cost-effective solution.
Five quick tricks for lowering the cost of training
1. Seek alternatives to costly consultants
Big-name consultants can certainly play a useful role in training, as they carry a sense of authority and have an expansive knowledge of the product or process. But their services can also be massively expensive. If you're trying to save costs, look internally for someone who can lead the initiative. If you're starting with a new software platform, for example, there must be someone at the company who researched it and proposed the change, thus making this person an internal subject-matter expert. Use his or her expertise in creating an internal learning platform or finding the right partner to do so.
2. Switch to virtual methods and find the right partner
One of virtual training's many cost-effective benefits is that employees can fit it into their own schedules and complete much of it on their own time. As TLNT put it, "This learning model allows employees to participate fully in the training program wherever they may be as long as they have access to the Internet." In addition to saving the learners' time, it can also save managers' time, since they can easily partner with a virtual program that already has a dashboard of learning modules set up. Do your research and find one that is geared toward business productivity and isn't too broad in the topics it covers. That way, your employees will be able to conduct their training efficiently.
Virtual methods can also reduce the expense of keeping up with upgrades. Instead of having to redesign an entire learning platform, you can rely on a partner who regularly updates its dashboard with new modules geared toward changes in software versions, for example. Bloomberg Business heralds this as a great benefit to virtual training, noting: "With company strategies, products, and technologies changing so fast, it is virtually impossible to keep up if new information can be relayed only in person."
3. Set up methods that allow your learners to access training on their personal devices
In addition to simply making training easier to complete, and thus contributing to an increase in ROI for the effort, pairing with a system that can be available on personal devices can be a huge cost saver. Per TLNT: "The programs’ engagement tools also allow collaboration between the learners well after the program ends. When students access the training via their personal devices, the company’s costs for hardware are lowered." For example, you won't have to provide computers that are preloaded with the learning software. Instead, "Students will download what they need right onto their devices, virtually. They’ll access external materials, including supplemental study guides, workbooks and textbooks quickly and easily."
4. Know your learners
When you're focusing on cutting costs, you need to also focus on what type of learning environment works best for your staff. Depending on your needs, an all-hands, in-person meeting might not be the best option when you know that you might not keep everyone's attention, especially if you allow them to bring in potential distractions such as their own laptops or smartphones. If this sounds familiar, conduct smaller sessions or use interactive virtual methods that give you a better chance of helping them absorb the information.
5. Use real analytics
Determining whether a learning initiative was successful can be tricky when you're using nonvirtual methods. You're often left just seeing whether your employees complete the task properly in the future, which neither provides immediate results nor minimizes the chance for errors. Virtual methods, on the other hand, allow you to access analytics that can give you real data for calculating ROI. This will save you time and help measure whether you've paired the right type of virtual learning with the right employees, so you can tailor accordingly for the next initiative.
Want to learn more about the different types of virtual training available and how you can integrate them into your current learning opportunities? Download our complimentary eBook, "Choosing a Virtual-Training Method that Meets Your Needs."