Monday, October 20, 2014

Blended Learning Strategy– Cost Effective Training

If you've not satisfied with continual staff turnover, escalating salary bidding wars and the quality of your current workforce skills you may want to consider a Blended Learning Strategy for your company. With the advent of eLearning, a cost-effective blended learning strategy for a small business employers can now be developed to train a workforce for both soft skills and practical skills. The formula might include a syllabus of off-the-shelf eLearning for soft skills, on-the-job training for practical skills, a process for filtering likely successful candidates, a means of testing milestone comprehension and a good benefits package to attract and retain the best possible candidates. 

It is an investment, for sure, but it can be very cost effective when you measure this against all the time and effort you dedicate to managing your workforce, the quality of work preformed, the cost of developing leadership and communications skills, the cost of retaining good performers and the effect that "churn" has on productivity, Developing a focused Blended Learning strategy pays long term dividends for businesses and organizations that are focused on growth. The changing economy and the rise of the too-skilled worker demographic has led to an unusual segmentation in the available labour force. This is borne out by the many discussions I have had with small to medium size employers who experience on ongoing shortage of talent. Many companies we work with could actually grow more rapidly if they could count on a skilled workforce to meet their demands.  

Pundits and experts point to the lack of training investment, economic uncertainty, poorly designed government programs and lack of employer vision in developing training programs - as the main culprits in this seeming shortage of qualified labour. Hard to lament a shortage in labour when the economy as a whole continues to sputter and unemployment continues to be an issue.

I believe, however, the employment shortage is real and not just imagined. In recognizing this shortage - I have identified three distinct groups of unemployed which can help us create solutions. The first group is the over –qualified university “Educated Worker” with eyes on a middle management position and little or no experience, the second is the “Employed” that has the skills and are actively being pursued by competing companies, while the third group, in this over simplified model, is the unemployed who may have little or no post-secondary education, not a lot of experience and are seeking opportunities with a future in a marketplace filled with service industry and part time positions.

A recent Labour Market Partnership (LMP) study (over 2,000 small businesses participated ) identified the following 10 learning requirements for small businesses, including: people skills/relationship-building, communication skills, problem solving skills, analytical abilities, leadership skills, industry-specific knowledge & experience, functional knowledge, technological literacy, project management skills and creative thinking.  

Accessing available online training for the bulk of the skills required and implementing a structured on-the job-training program can address the need for skilled labour in an organized and cost effective way. Adding a means of filtering recruits, testing for milestone comprehension and developing a strategy for ensuring they stay with the organization over the long term can make this training initiative a very cost effective means of acquiring and retaining a skilled workforce.

In today’s workplace it’s no longer good enough for employers, particularly in the manufacturing and industrial marketplace, to simply hope that there is a qualified talent pool, outbid competing companies or count on government initiatives that will address the need for unique skill sets. Employers need to invest in their own training program that leverages available low cost learning solutions for soft skills coupled with an on-the-job training program for practical skills. The magic additional ingredients in such a program are: the ability to benchmark test applicants, filter and select only the best potential applicants and develop a strategy for retaining these skills with a strong company vision and a good benefits package. Contact us to learn more.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent recommendations. A blueprint for business to take control of their own destiny rather than waiting for others to solve their human resource issues. Invest in your people and you will be handsomely rewarded.