By Kristin Pine
In today’s and tomorrow’s Advisor, we present an article on committing to continuing employee education by Kristin Pine, the director of Training & Education for Peabody Properties, Inc.
Almost every organization—regardless of industry—shares a similar greatest asset: their workforce. In fact, for many organizations, their human capital is what differentiates them from their competition. The right talent will constantly hit the points your organization is striving for—whether through having meaningful and productive conversations with clients, making good decisions that benefit the organization, or contributing to an overall positive work environment. Given this, continually reinvesting in this asset is an organizational priority that makes good business sense. One of the best ways to do so is by encouraging and offering solid continuing education on a variety of topics and utilizing a range of training formats.
One way to offer on-going educational opportunities is through an internal training program. At the beginning, it’s important for those leading the initiative to start off small, focusing on realistic goals. Timing and budgetary constraints are most likely the two biggest challenges to overcome when first developing your internal curriculum. However, it’s important not to completely dismiss an idea based on these issues. The key to success is to think long-term, recognize that it probably cannot happen all at once, and be open to revisiting ideas for implementation at a later date.
Given a wide array of learning styles, it makes sense for an organization to take a blended-learning approach and offer a variety of training formats, such as instructor-led trainings (ILTs), live and/or prerecorded broadcast webinars and podcasts, and hands-on training options. Implementing mentoring and/or coaching programs is another great way to help fill in the gaps between training opportunities while providing new skill sets that help develop your “coaches” and future leaders for the company.
Organizations need to work smarter, not harder, when implementing an in-house job training program. Reducing expenses is critically important when first developing your new learning program. Additionally, give yourself time to allow the return on investment to materialize. As the program continues, the more money saved in the present will allow for additional programs to be added and introduced in the future. Technology offers many cost friendly solutions. Virtual training sessions negate the need for reimbursing travel costs and also cut down on lost production hours due to travel time. Webinars—whether virtual or in-person—offer a low-cost way to train a greater number of people, across a large geographic area, for little money. Internal talent is another great way to reduce expenses. Finding that “special someone” within your organization, to lead a class or workshop, will not only save the company money on paying for an instructor, but it will produce other positive intangibles. Remember that internal trainers know the culture, the audience, your company’s background, and the industry—something to which you cannot easily assign a price or value. Another consideration is to look for opportunities to have training spaces donated whenever possible, such as a conference room, community room, empty offices, or other facility that can act as a space conducive to learning.
We will present the conclusion of Pine’s article in tomorrow’s Advisor.
Kristin Pine is the director of Training & Education for Peabody Properties, Inc. (www.peabodyproperties.com). She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.