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Should You Invest In Custom Employee Training Courses?

September 9, 2021
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5 min

There are many challenges that pop up with ineffective training. Consider custom e-learning courses for the benefit of employees and your company overall.

Corine Tan
There are many challenges that pop up with ineffective training. Consider custom e-learning courses for the benefit of employees and your company overall.

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You’ve heard the business case for investing in employee training. We don’t need to tell you that losing revenue (at best) or wading into legally gray waters (at worst) due to lack of employee training is something to be avoided!

However, what about the case for overall employee wellbeing? Employee engagement? Employee retention? We’d guess that this side of employee training hasn’t been covered as much in your budget planning meetings.

It’s time to change that! Impactful training is one way to improve psychological safety, increasing trust and reducing undue stress across your team as a whole.

However, not just any training will accomplish these benefits. An 8-hour annual training meeting may do more towards overwhelming your employees than actually helping them feel secure in their roles. So, let’s dive into the importance of effective employee training further and the many benefits of using custom-developed training courses.

What are the consequences of not providing effective employee training?

Step into your employees’ shoes for a moment. You’re logging on for your first day of work at the company (or, even just your first day at work after a cultural change in your company), and you’re nervous. You started the day with some prior experience picked up from past employers or schooling, but how much of that translates into the work you’re completing today? How much of it doesn’t?

Surely, these questions will be answered in time. But, the first day passes, then the first week, then the first month, and you’re still waiting for answers. You completed some basic training, but it focused on generic topics that hardly targeted your key questions.

What’s the result? Maybe you feel:

  • Less engaged in your job. You feel that you haven’t been properly trained for the work you're doing, and it makes that work feel less important than it is. Feeling underappreciated, you’re less interested in performing at your absolute best.
  • Less confident in your performance. You’re constantly worried about making a misstep and focusing on that more than the work itself. The result? You make simple mistakes that could have been avoided!
  • Dissatisfied with your employer. You attribute these feelings of being underappreciated and unprepared to your employer, who isn’t setting you up for success. You understand why the company may have a high employee turnover rate and are considering your next steps.

It’s time to step back into your management shoes. Is this how you want employees to feel? Of course not!

Now, the negative impacts of bad employee training at your company likely aren’t this severe. But the truth is, if even one employee is feeling a fraction of these things, it’s time to overhaul your training.

There are a variety of benefits that come with using custom e-learning courses when you do so. Let’s explore the top four.

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Why consider custom employee training courses?

E-learning courses are time-management-friendly.

No employee wants to feel left in the dark and under-trained for their position. But at the same time, few employees want to carve out significant hours of their regular work schedule to complete required or even optional training. They know it’s helpful, for sure. But, there are probably more pressing “fires” to put out before employees can even consider opening training courses!

E-learning courses are completed independently— so, unlike instructor-led training, employees can work through them whenever (and wherever) they find the time. 

Making the Most of this Benefit:

Highlight key skills and concepts in microlearning courses, which are generally shorter and hyper-focused on one topic. If an employee is tight on time, they can cover the most important information in less than 10-minute segments.

For example, if you’re managing remote teams, you could create microcourses about setting up a home office, maintaining work-life balance, and ensuring clear video and audio quality in video-conferenced meetings.

Online courses can be revisited over and over.

Let’s say you’re onboarding a new employee. As an added obstacle, you’re doing so remotely. Think back to when you first started at the company. Filling out forms, meeting new faces and hoping you remember the names attached to them, navigating new technology, exploring the various business units at the company, learning the basics of your role— this list can go on and on.

This is a mind-bending amount of information to take in when you’re sitting next to your colleagues, let alone sitting alone in a home office and factoring in the added concern of spotty wifi. Even for the best of new hires, onboarding is a whirlwind!

You want to avoid the situation where new hires hear key information once, but don’t actually retain it due to all of the excitement. But at the same time, you can’t use up the time of other team members by tasking them with retraining their new colleague again and again.

Now, let’s say you used e-learning courses instead of a hosted training in this scenario. This way, the new hire can simply reopen the course as needed, revisit the key information, and proceed with their day uninterrupted.

Making the Most of this Benefit:

Create an online e-learning library that features all past e-learning training courses that you’ve provided. Encourage employees to revisit courses as needed and create an overall culture of continuous learning at your company.

Custom courses are more relevant.

Let’s say you’ve chosen to use e-learning courses for your employee compliance training, but you’ve chosen to purchase generic courses to do so.

The course in mind focuses on workplace safety. It shows general safety concerns and how to alleviate them… but it illustrates those points in a generic, high-rise office environment. You’re a remote company. We don’t need to explain the disconnect here!

You can customize e-learning courses to be immediately relevant to your employees’ day-to-day work environments. When they can see the topics in the course play out in an environment that matches their own, they can easily apply the topics to their own experiences.

Making the Most of this Benefit:

Consider the following when customizing courses to be more relevant:

  • Workplace Culture: How do you conduct meetings? Do you have any phrasing norms or common naming conventions for daily operations? What does your office look like?
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Are your courses accurately and respectfully depicting the rich diversity in your workplace? 
  • Common Challenges: What do the daily obstacles for your team members look like? Have you provided answers to those challenges alongside the reasoning behind that answer, for future application?

When employees see the topics in the course play out in an environment that matches their own, they can easily apply the topics to their own experiences.

You can update custom courses.

Last but not least, let’s discuss the disruption that happened in many workplaces in the past year. Not only did small businesses and corporations find themselves conducting training online, but all operations were pivoted to digital.

Businesses experienced a major shift in operations in the past year and needed to quickly train employees to keep up. While it was an unprecedented event that sparked this change, you can bet that major changes to operations are going to keep happening as technology evolves.

When that happens, do you create all-new training courses? For example, if you have a course on office policies that were created when you were in office, do you create an all-new course for remote work? You can. But that involves investing in a whole new course and asking employees to retake their training in its entirety.

With a custom e-learning training course, you can simply update the portions that were in-office specific. Then, you’d have employees retake those sections of the course alone. This saves time and resources for your company and employees alike.

Making the Most of this Benefit:

You’re probably going to partner with an e-learning content development company to create your training courses.

Make sure that the partner provides all source files for your course as part of the project. This will allow you to make updates in the future— whether you partner with that company again to do so, choose another company, or even carry out the updates yourself.

The last thing you want to do is to make employees feel unappreciated and unprepared for their roles— something that will put you on the fast track to high employee turnover and low perception as an employer.

Custom e-learning training courses have a variety of benefits for employees and your company alike. Employees will feel secure and confident in their roles and appreciate the effort you put into creating that environment. 

Meet the Author

Corine Tan

Corine is co-founder of Kona. They write regularly on emotional intelligence and people-first leadership. Their work has been featured by Fortune, Yahoo, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur, Harvard Business School, Forbes, and more. They've spoken at remote work conferences like GitLab Commit 2021 and advised Fortune 10 companies on remote strategy.

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