By Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director at Training Force
By Daniel Orelowitz, Managing Director at Training Force

Workforce training, while essential for upskilling, can cause operational downtime which affects the company’s bottom line. However, this is easily countered with the introduction of on-demand online training.

This gives workers the flexibility to attend their training sessions without impacting their work schedules. Such training can significantly reduce the operational downtime that stems from face-to-face training sessions, which are usually scheduled during working hours. Online training makes it possible to accommodate both the operational demands of specific projects and the need to facilitate skills development.

Conflicting concerns

With conventional training programmes, the number one concern for businesses is operational downtime. While the need to upskill employees is undeniable, the need to avoid operational downtime is simply more pressing. This results in training programmes being constantly postponed, or delayed, in the hopes that training can happen during a quieter period, when the timing is better. Realistically, the timing is never going to be ideal, so businesses need to figure out how to fit training into operations and how to work operations around training. Here, online training is the solution.

Weighing costs and benefits

With conventional face-to-face training, employees usually have to apply for study leave in advance. Extra hands become necessary, whether this means another employee stepping in to cover that individual’s shifts or bringing in casual labour. There are plans that need to be made and costs that need to be considered in addition to expenses incurred with paying for the training course itself. While few businesses can afford the negative impact of downtime or the cost of extra hands, the positive impact of investing in employees through training and upskilling initiatives cannot be overlooked. With training, employees become better at their jobs - more capable, and more productive. They’re either able to do their job quicker, or they’re able to take on more work, which makes the training worthwhile.

How can online training make a difference?

The effect of operational downtime can be minimised by making online training available to employees. Lessons and course material are available on-demand to trainees, which means they can access and consume at their convenience. They can either come in to work a little earlier or complete the training during their lunch breaks, during quiet periods in the day or after hours, as their schedule permits. If they need to use company resources to do so, this is possible. Not only does online training facilitate convenience, but it also allows trainees to learn at their own pace. Something not necessarily possible with conventional in-classroom training. Learners can consume the material at their own pace and if anything is unclear, they can revisit or replay the audio or video or reach out to a training facilitator for assistance. This means that the individual can ensure that they fully understand the required material before moving onto the assessment.

From an operational scheduling perspective, if there needs to be face-to-face training, companies and employees will need to reach a compromise. The company can give workers a Friday off for training, and in return, workers can give a Saturday for the same purpose. Expecting employees to attend Saturday-only training is impractical. There needs to be a level of sacrifice on each side in order for everyone to reap the benefits of training.

Commitment is key

In addition to a level of sacrifice being necessary on both sides, employers and employees alike need to be committed to the training to see it through. It’s important to bear the benefits in mind, and to remember that the end will justify the means. In addition to productivity improvements that come with enhanced skills, employees that participate meaningfully in training opportunities will have a sense of accomplishment that comes with having achieved a new qualification or acquired a new skill set. This contributes to employee retention, which is a positive outcome for employers that is realised along with increased productivity. Ultimately, the form and format chosen for training will depend on each company’s unique requirements. The right training partner will be able to facilitate the necessary mix of online or face-to-face training, feedback and assessment - whatever it takes to get the training completed in a way that minimises operational downtime while maximising the opportunities for valuable skills development.