In any sized business in any sector, there is a need for balance – and this is certainly true when it comes to staff training.
On one hand, you want trained skilled staff but on the other, the training budget is under strain. Cutting the training budget so it no longer exists or is no longer useful means disenchanted staff – but you cannot afford to send employees on expensive training programmes.
There is a solution in the form of home learning courses. Increasing in popularity, the provide benefits for both employer and employee.
Home learning courses tend to be more cost-effective that courses being run at local colleges simply because the learning provider has lower overheads. For many employers, when an employee agrees to a home learning or distance course, it means that they can cover the cost far easily than that of a college based course.
For the employee, it means they feel valued and invested in by their employer, able to advance their skills and abilities without needing to give up their job, take a sabbatical and so on. They too can carry on working, with their income level remaining the same and also study for a qualification too.
There has to be a heavy dose of realism, however when it comes to home learning courses. Not everyone is cut out to make the sacrifice of learning from home – let’s be honest, it’s a tough call working all day and then coming home, knowing you have another hour or two of study to complete.
Feeling overwhelmed and tired, many people will switch on the TV and have a nap. Choosing the right people for distance learning courses is surely key to both the employer and the employee from getting the most out of the situation.
Allowing time away from work is another aspect that many employers find daunting. Allowing an employee day release every week to attend a course can place stress and strain on systems already under pressure, as well as places additional workload on colleagues.
This doesn’t mean that you have to dictate that any employee on a home learning course must do it all in their own time but maybe they could be allowed an additional day or two, or an afternoon or morning throughout the course when deadlines are near for them to complete work.
As well as helping with cost and time, an employer is perfect placed to offer support to an employee completing a home learning course.
Vocational courses will often need experience as well as projects competing around ‘real-life or real-work’ situations. Clearly allowing the student time, space and resources to complete this will be beneficial to both employer and employee.
Benefits to the business
Times are constantly changing. How business is done, how people buy and sell, how and why people make the decisions that they do about the products or services you sell will also change. It can be tough keeping up with these changes.
Training and upskilling of staff is key to making your business a more productive place. There is often a welcome by-product of more skilled staff and that is the knowledge that they bring of new processes, attitudes, theories and ideas.
For example, understanding the impact of social media on your business is one thing but understanding how and why it works in the way that it does can seem mysterious. Having a social media expert, an employee with an increased knowledge of what content you should share, why and when can have an immediate impact on the business.
Streamlining process, identifying waste or ear marking areas for change that will save the business both time and money are just some of the benefits that businesses can reap from well-skilled employees.
Happy staff equals happy business
To grow a business, you need employees to be not only skilled but to stay with your business. Home learning courses offer the best of all worlds for the business and the employee.
They acquire new skills and new challenges, and the business has the skills and expertise to explore new avenues. Skilled staff who are valued are happy people. This means that your business takes on the persona of being a great place to work.
This means better candidates when you advertise a post and it means you hang on to the skilled people that you need within the business to be able drive it forward.
Why wouldn’t employers and employees embrace distance learning?