Over the last decade, many organisations have thought about the switch to online training. Perhaps its to reduce training expenses, deliver training in a way which resonates with a modern workforce or improve learning outcomes through more consistent, slower-paced learning.
Sometimes, however, you might need to accelerate decisions and make a rapid switch to online training. Reasons for this could be to quickly deliver critical content, respond to changes in your business environment or immediately overcome hurdles in face-to-face training.
In this article, let’s consider six reasons why you might need to rapidly switch to online training – and how you can support your business case and inform your decision-makers during this process.
1 – Organisational change needs timely online training
A common reason to rapidly switch to online training is in response to change. When something important changes in your organisation, you can’t expect your employees to ‘keep doing what they were doing’. Typically a change in your organisation, or operating environment, requires a change in your organisation’s process in order to achieve the same outcome.
Training is a critical component of change management. Unfortunately, it is often an after-thought. Training occurs days, weeks or months after the change event. Employees are left struggling through the changes on their own.
This delay is worse if your organisation relies on face-to-face workshops. Successful organisations have a sense of urgency in ensuring that appropriate training accompanies change events in a timely manner. This is when organisations’ bite the bullet’ and rapidly switch to online training.
With the right platform, online training can be quick to develop, consistent in its delivery, easy to distribute and track, and available 24/7 in any location.
2 – Online training creates critical feedback loops
Continuing with this theme of change management, quickly establishing online training around a change event creates a valuable feedback loop for the organisation.
The faster training is provided, the sooner the organisation learns about change management issues. Problems in processes are identified, employee morale is quickly measured, and successes can be captured and shared to help build momentum in the change process.
Once again, organisations need to rapidly switch to online training to build this feedback loop faster. The need to quickly switch to online training is intensified by more significant changes, more expensive changes or changes which have short implementation periods (the change needs to occur NOW!).
3 – Online training helps maintain morale
Face-to-face training takes a long time to set up, book, organise and conduct. Think about a new employee waiting months for the next induction session, or an existing employee now working in a remote location (or working at home). For employees in those situations, face-to-face training may seem far away.
Access to training and personal development is a huge part of employee engagement. The further employees feel removed from training opportunities, the greater the negative impact on their engagement and morale.
Online training, meanwhile, is available all the time, in any location. It’s a perfect way to allow employees to feel supported. Even if an employee is temporarily busy and unable to stop for training, the knowledge that training will be available as soon as they are ready is critical for morale.
Unlike face-to-face workshops which have an ‘event’ feeling to them – a large, sudden sugar hit of engagement – online training can be accessed in smaller, bite-sized pieces and in a way which more easily fits into the schedule of a modern worker.
Online training offers constant positive engagement for employees in any location.
4 – Online training supports continuous improvement
Another key advantage of online training is its ability to manage smaller pieces of knowledge.
Consider a small change to your sales process. Perhaps 30-45 minutes of required training to update your sales teams on new product knowledge and sales methods you have introduced.
Face-to-face training for such small updates like these is difficult. The effort involved in preparing the session, organising a location and getting everyone to attend the training generates a poor RoI for training when the content only requires 30-45 minutes. At the very least, virtual training via a webinar would be more appropriate.
Rapidly created online training, through a learning creation platform like Tribal Habits, allows that knowledge to be captured in less time and distributed without delay to any employee in any location (as well as future employees or those who otherwise miss a face-to-face workshop).
With less effort to create and share online training, it becomes easier to provide more training and more often. Smaller, more frequent learning promotes continuous improvement. It allows the organisation to iterate change and avoid ‘big bang’ announcements.
It also encourages teams to review critical processes regularly. Managers can focus employees on specific issues each week, rather than trying to fix everything at once in a single day workshop.
5 – Organisations need experience with online training (to maximise outcomes)
If your organisation doesn’t have much experience with online training, then it needs to rapidly switch to online training right now for one very simple reason: it takes time to obtain organisational skill.
As you introduce online training into your organisation, not only is there a small adjustment for employees (although often much more modest than management thinks), there is also an adjustment for the organisation.
Managers, HR and training staff need to learn how to use their online training platform, how to best manage and distribute online learning, how to drive accountability for online training outcomes and how to create customised online training on critical topics.
The sooner this process of organisational learning begins, the faster the organisation will uncover more valuable ways of using online training (within that particular organisational culture). Like many digitisation processes, the snowball effect rewards organisations who move sooner.
6 – There’s no reason not to rapidly switch to online training
A sixth and final thought is ‘Why not?’. At this point, online training platforms are low cost and easy to use. The benefits are tangible and significant – with no downsides.
If your organisation continues to run face-to-face workshops, an online training platform can only enhance them. It can make the workshops shorter, more focused, or provide pre or post workshop content. It is quite possible that your net training costs even decrease with an online training platform as you can reduce the most inefficient of training costs (room hire, catering costs, travel expenses).
Finally, ‘times are a-changing’. The number of organisations not yet using online training continues to fall every day. Successful organisations are using rapid, online delivery to accelerate knowledge through teams – quickly eliminate mistakes, promote best practices, boost employee engagement, ensure operational compliance. In any location, for every employee, at all times.