If you’re thinking of decreasing your employee training budget, you’re definitely in the minority. In 2016, 37 percent of companies increased their training budgets, while a full half maintained their current budgets. And for good reason: access to training is important to employees. Last year, 87 percent of millennials said that opportunities for career growth and professional development were “very important,” while 68 percent of all workers called training and development the “most important workplace policy.”
Employee training and continuing education are essential to the success of your company:
- It improves each employee’s ability to do his or her job.
- It shows you care about your employees and their professional growth.
- It builds morale and decreases turnover.
- It helps you attract and retain top talent.
Until fairly recently, corporate training seminars were the easiest, most economical way to train large groups of employees. There are still a lot of good reasons to host or send your employees to seminars, but there are drawbacks, too.
Benefits of Training Seminars
- Your employees come together as a team toward a common goal of learning new material. If the training is not hosted by your company, it gives your employees an opportunity to network with other professionals in the industry.
- Employees are face-to-face with their trainers, allowing them to ask questions as they arise and receive immediate feedback on their in-training performance.
- Teaching methods can be quickly adapted if necessary.
- It offers a break from the traditional work week, which might boost morale, particularly if the training takes place in a location employees are eager to explore when the training day is over. It’s also inspiring to be around industry leaders who are excited about the future.
Downsides of Training Seminars
- That time away from the office could create extra stress as employees work to catch up on what they missed while at the training.
- Seminars require careful planning, and someone has to devote work hours to scouting and booking locations, equipment, and more. Even at a training that is not in-house, you need to book travel and accommodations for all attendees.
- It can get expensive. Between travel, missed work time, and attendance fees, training seminars need to be a major part of your budget each year.
- Employees don’t feel like they have control over their learning. They attend when told to attend and try to absorb the material as it is delivered, whether or not the teaching method suits their learning styles. Those who learn quickly grow bored and disengaged, while those who are struggling with the material have a hard time keeping up.
While the benefits are nice, they don’t always make up for the cons of a corporate training seminar. For that reason, more and more companies are looking to online training and blended learning opportunities to train their employees. In 2015, 38 percent of businesses were intending to invest in learning management systems; 37 percent were eager to purchase other e-learning programs and training software.
The Rise of Online Learning
Online learning has certainly changed the world of corporate training. It’s no longer necessary to send your employees out of the office to attend a seminar, hoping they pick up the information that will make them better at their jobs and increase your yearly revenue. It’s no wonder hours spent with online or computer-based learning systems increased from 26.4 percent in 2015 to 30.4 percent in 2016. Meanwhile, classroom learning hours dropped from 46 percent to 41 percent. Online learning has some major benefits:
- Employees can control the pace of their training. They can spend more time on difficult subjects and breeze through the topics they already understand. They can access the material when it works with their schedules.
- Online training decreases costs associated with travel, event fees, and time away from the office.
- Employers can easily assess comprehension and progress.
- An online learning management system gives your company an opportunity to protect the environment by cutting down on paper as well as the gasoline that would be used in travel.
- It’s easy to customize the program to suit your company’s specific needs.
Online learning has been growing steadily and shows no sign of slowing down. As it does, the need for classroom learning and seminars will continue to decrease.
Should You Continue to Invest in Employee Training Seminars?
Depending on your industry, certain employees might benefit from occasional seminars and hands-on learning opportunities, especially since it is a good way to connect with other industry leaders. However, the money spent on training like this goes further with a computer-based learning management system.
If you’re not ready to totally eliminate corporate training seminars from your strategy, you could consider a blended learning approach that combines both in-person seminars and online learning.
Either way, an online learning management system should be a part of your training program.
Staying on top of the online learning trend now means your company will be ready as corporate training continues to evolve. It’s no secret that the world of technology changes quickly, and falling behind could induce struggles that are difficult to overcome.
At Knowledge Anywhere, we have been ahead of this curve since 1998 with learning management solutions that have made it more efficient and more affordable to train your employees. We’d love to customize a program that allows you to shift to an online learning strategy to help you save money, increase productivity, and prepare for the future of corporate training.
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