8 Practical Ways To Reduce Employee Training Costs
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How To Reduce Employee Training Costs

Employee training is absolutely necessary if you want your team to be effective. In no way reducing costs should talk "reduced training quality" to you. Don't underestimate the damage that unqualified employees can do to your business. The purpose of this article is to suggest you techniques that will reduce employee training costs without compromising its quality in any way. Let's see what you can do:

1. Choose eLearning

It's 2017. Do you really think you should organize a classroom with drinks and snacks and try to attract your employees attention on a blackboard while someone is talking? No. You should not. Today everyone is used to eLearning and you should use it for both better efficiency and lower costs. At the very least this would involve:

  • An eLearning blog where you share company insights. Think about the possibility to open it or part of it to the public - this could be great part of your PR and marketing strategy.
  • A Learning Management System (LMS) so you can structure the required content into modules, courses, and lessons, and track your employees performance. We'll talk more about choosing an LMS in the next section.
  • Instructional videos. It's nearly impossible to skip videos nowadays. Here's a great idea how to produce some videos without big spending: if you ever conduct any in-person training in a classroom or similar, just record it and use it for your future eLearning content. Screen capturing is another affordable way to create video content especially if you need to train employees to use a software package or other internal system.

2. Choose An Affordable Learning Management System Solution

There are 3 main ways to handle eLearning in your company:

  1. Outsource it.
    If your learning content is not very specific you can handle the learning over to a company which provides such services. You can even just buy access to appropriate courses at Udemy and similar learning sites and just not spend any internal resources on this. Sometimes this approach will be more expensive than doing the courses in-house, but most often it will actually save you money. However it's not always applicable as outsourced courses will rarely cover the specifics of your company.
  2. Use a software-as-service LMS.
    There are multiple companies which provide SaaS (cloud-based) Learning Management Systems. The big advantage is that while the learning content will be created by you and meet all your specific needs you will not need to worry about technology. It's all taken care for you. It can cost you from few hundreds to few thousands per months just to use the software however.
  3. Use a self-hosted LMS.
    As a company created the open source WordPress-based Namaste! LMS and the test suite WatuPRO we are big believers in self hosted systems. They give you full control over the technology and are huge costs saver especially long term. Let's not forget the most popular solution in this area -Moodle- is also open-source and even free. Moodle may require a bit more effort to set up but is probably the most feature rich software in this area.

3. Distribute Learning Across The Organization

Said simpler this means to delegate parts of the learning process to people inside your organization. A knowledgeable employee can create course content for the newer team members and can even help in assessing their progress.

Ideally, if your organization is large, 3 levels of distribution work best. The top tier supervises the result of the middle tear which consists of the actual "teachers". Teachers supervise / teach the third tier - the newest employees which are only learners.

4. Exchange Learning Resources With Other Companies

Yes, you can do it successfully even with competitors. As long as you are not sharing internal competitive strategies several companies can gain mutual cost benefits by sharing existing courses, video lectures, tests, etc.

A note of caution: Don't use branded eLearning content from a competitor company as it may hurt your company image among employees. Ideally sharing resources should happen between companies who are not directly competing for the same markets. Sharing content works best with partners and subcontractors.

5. Become A Badge Issuer

Instead of relying on external certifications for everything your company can become an issuer of Open Badges. This open platform allows learning exchange and standardization of learning activities and can even help your company become an authority in a given area. Speaking about costs saving however, the main advantage here is that the technology is open, relatively simple, and widely adopted. Many ready solutions supporting Open Badges already exist.

6.Use Virtual Gamification

Gamification is one of the best ways to increase learner's engagement. Increased engagement equals better results in shorter time: less employee's time spent in learning, less hours in virtual or real classroom spent and typically better learned material.

If you focus on eLearning then most of the gamification, prizes etc will also be virtual which means your costs for this part can be close to zero.

7. Use Reporting Tools

It's an absolute must to define which courses and modules are really necessary and useful. If you work with an LMS you need to be sure it provides reporting in several main areas:

  • Learner's engagement.
    Which modules, courses and lessons are read most?
  • Learner's retainment.
    Do learners complete the courses and move from module to module or lose interest and find excuses to not complete the learning process?
  • Learner's performance.
    How well have learners completed tests and assignments?

Most software LMS solutions will provide some kind of reporting. Make sure it fits the specifics of your company.

8. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

You have seen this a lot used from environment activists. How does it apply to learning?

  • Reduce the amount of learning material. Every year you must review the content and see what is not really required, interesting, or engaging. More learning does not mean better learning. On the contrary: overwhelming employees with learning material creates a lot of stress and reduces effectiveness.
  • Reuse learning content between company branches, video material purchased or created in the past, and so on. One of the greatest way to reuse is to video record any offline based lectures and then use the video content for the next learners.
  • Recycle. Perhaps a given course did not perform well and did not engage learners. But is the entire course for the trash? Maybe you can reuse parts of it, rearrange, rewrite the parts that don't perform well, but keep the good parts. Mix them with the new content to reduce the costs of creating it.

Before getting too excited about cutting costs, don't forget that the quality and results of learning have priority. Your company won't stay on top of competition by reducing costs: It does it by being better, having better employees and having a good work process. So while reducing learning costs is important, don't overdo it.

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