The current and continuing economic market challenges will inevitably mean that a tighter leash will be kept on training budgets for some time to come. This presents HR managers with the ongoing challenge of attempting to implement tailored personal development plans and ensuring they dovetail and align properly with departmental goals and with organisational objectives, often on a restricted budget. However, recent advances in technology could provide a solution to staff training needs through remote delivery.
The remote delivery of training using a variety of different methods including: e-learning courses over the internet, live webinars, live face-to-face internet training and pre-prepared, tailored podcasts are all now reasonably straight forward to supply, given the improvements in technology on offer. Forward thinking training organisations are now providing bespoke content through web based platforms and companies are beginning to include these methods of delivery as part of a blended learning offering to staff, or as a complete solution. As most people are familiar with using the internet, they are comfortable with receiving information in this way, much more than they would have been a few years ago.
The benefits of remote delivery of training in terms of potential cost savings and the increased flexibility relating to session timing and content are also becoming apparent. This is because the internet allows the facility for both one-to-one and groups, where participants and the trainer can be geographically separated, to receive training at the same time. Staff can work in breakout groups and individual or group feedback can be provided at the touch of a button, all as if they were in the same location. This is particularly advantageous with teams whose members work in different offices around the globe and where it would be difficult to bring them together for traditional classroom based training.
Online training also provides easy access to the very best trainers – regardless of their location – as it removes the need for trainers to travel. This means trainers and sessions can also be more flexible with respect to availability, which can be at a premium for leading trainers in any field. Similarly, geographically dispersed employees can access the same training programme as other more centrally based staff and smaller businesses can gain access to the same calibre of quality training that may have only been previously available to large corporates with bigger budgets.
Similarly, due to the widespread use of Wi-Fi, it is possible to undertake training wherever there is access to a computer – this could be at home, in the office, or taking advantage of downtime during a stay at a hotel for example.
The other growth area is the provision of training using a podcast format. This allows employees to access training in specific modules in their own time, review the learning as many times as they need and a small on-line, self –assessed questionnaire can be built in to modules or at the end of the series to test knowledge retention.
Podcasts allow organisations to deliver the same training message to a large number of staff, across a variety of platforms, such as i-phone, Blackberry or memory sticks – where personnel may not have easy access to internet connectivity. For example, Farnham Castle recently produced a tailored podcast series for staff on an oil rig, ensuring everyone could benefit from the intercultural programme created. Podcasts can also be accessed through company intranets allowing employees to receive valuable information and advice at a time to suit their own schedule.
Due to reduced need to travel and elimination of the cost of venue hire, hotel and staff expenses, remote training will have far less impact on budgets, allowing larger numbers of staff to receive essential training. With higher employee churn rates than ever before, constant, on-the-job training can help companies remain competitive. However, using technology in this way not only eliminates the cost of travel and associated expenses of attending a residential, intensive, on-site study programmes, but it also reduces the environmental impact related to unnecessary travel which should also be a concern for every member of society in today’s world.
Director of Marketing & Client Services Farnham Castle
Jeff is responsible for the management and development of the intercultural training business and is also head of Marketing and Client Services for Farnham Castle International Briefing and Conference Centre, which offers meeting, training as well as corporate and private event facilities in the historic 12th century castle.