There is no way to avoid the recurring costs of classroom or online-delivered training. Historically, classroom training has been priced on a “per seat” or “per event” basis. It is model that has continued to today. Many online courses have used this pricing structure, as well, probably because it is familiar to everyone. Some online training providers offer “block pricing” based on number of course credits offered or “subscription pricing” based on the number of attendees during a set time frame. Nevertheless, these are recurring cost models given thorough scrutiny by accounting departments for evidence they are necessary and “add value to the business model.”
In the November and December issues of the Proactive Technologies Report’s two-part article titled, “Costs Associated With Unstructured, Haphazard Worker Training,” I touched on the notion that there is another approach to worker development that can clearly be seen as more of an investment than recurring cost. It is the formation of a job task-based, structured on-the-job training infrastructure that, once established, has declining per person costs for each additional trainee.
All factors considered, this is more like a “return on worker investment” model.
Training is occurring at all corners of an operation, all the times, whether anyone is aware or not. One person shows another person how to perform a required task of the job. It is often hard to see, hard to explain, hard to control for consistency and hard to document since it operates on a ad hoc, haphazard and unstructured basis. Miraculously it produces some skilled workers or we would not see any product or service output. But I believe everyone instinctively sees this as nothing more than a “seat of the pants” approach with malperformance as the only metric of ineffectiveness – which can be costly.
By simply structuring the unstructured an employer can take that which has marginally worked and make it deliberate, measurable and controllable. By analyzing each task for the “best practice” procedure, structured and standardized content yields materials that can facilitate the accelerated the transfer of expertiseTM while lowering the internal costs of training, raising worker capacity and improving work quantity, work quality and worker compliance. All factors considered, this is more like a “return on worker investment” model.
This is not to minimize the importance of well selected classroom and online learning modules to help shore up the trainee’s core skill base to make it easier to learn the required tasks of the job. But sometimes budgetary concerns make it harder to pitch to management the expense of sending someone through a pricey course or online session without direct evidence of how the course will lead to better employee performance or show clear job-relatedness.
On the other hand, structured on-the-job training based on a thorough job/task analysis, demonstrates job-relatedness without question. And once the investment to set up program is sunk, an employer can run as many people through the training program as they wish without additional cost, making it easier to explain to management. Furthermore, now that the outcome is established – full job mastery – selecting the right core skill classroom and online training content is easier and job-relatedness more discernible, making an explanation of the need easier to accept.
Especially during uncertain economic times, employers are forced to scrutinize expenditures more critically than ever. I find that most employers are not adverse to providing the funds for worker training, but they seldom do so unless they can clearly understand how the benefits far exceed the cost. Being able to see that the cost is really an investment is surely more comforting.
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