Blog Post - 6-18-13

Get More Training Done With Less

Agency XYZ was in a quandary; they had a new performance appraisal system and needed to train nearly 1000 employees to use it within six months. But since most of the agency employees were located in small field offices, a travel restriction limited the opportunity for traditional classroom training. Not only that, almost a third of the employees worked a graveyard shift, and due to operational needs and the agency’s collective bargaining agreement their hours could not be changed to accommodate training. How could they possibly get this done?

After a little research the agency’s training director found the perfect solution: a company willing to provide a series of live, customized webinars in a comprehensive schedule that included a twice-a-week midnight session for the graveyard shift employees. Two months later, the entire organization had received training and the new performance appraisal system was fully operational. As an added benefit, many graveyard shift employees had expressed appreciation for a training effort that had never included them before.

“We generally get the on-the-job skills training we need,” one worker commented, “but when it comes to leadership and supervisory skills training we always miss out. It puts us at a disadvantage when it comes to growing our careers within the agency.”

While face-to-face training remains the most effective delivery method for interpersonal skill development, a recent Department of Education meta-study suggests the gap between in person and online training is now quite small. The study indicates that when lack of resources makes classroom training impossible, online training can be an effective and appropriate choice. With a live, instructor-led webinar there is still opportunity for participant interaction, including Q&A sessions, group discussion, and targeted activities to reinforce learning. At the same time, the online format allows for advantages such as:

• The ability to schedule last-minute sessions and respond more rapidly to “pop-up” training needs
• No need for travel budgets
• Flexible scheduling options that include all shifts and time zones
• Consistent with sustainability goals due to less environmental impact
• Accessibility for remote sites that don’t normally have access to training
• A more consistent approach across the organization
• More convenient for employees
• Participation is more easily trackable