Online Learning and Training: Reducing Employee Turnover and Improving Productivity

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Online Learning and Training:

Reducing Employee Turnover and Improving Productivity

Published in Virginia Human Resources Today

Winter/Spring 2014

As the economy continues to recover, companies understand the need to retain their existing and reduce the risk of employee turnover. A Harris Interactive poll reports that employees with excellent training opportunities are less likely to leave a company than those with poor training opportunities. Among employee with poor training opportunities, 41 percent planned to leave within a year, but, of those who considered their company's training opportunities to be excellent, only 12 percent planned to leave. That's why some companies should turn to online education to provide their employees with flexible, economical workforce training.

Using workforce training to retain employees can save companies a significant amount of money while also cultivating a more educated workforce and improving office morale. A study by the Center for American Progress found that replacing an employee can cost one-fifth of the employee's salary. Some companies have already used online education to re-educate their employees, preventing costly layoffs and reducing turnover by an impressive 40 percent and turnover costs by up to $1.5 million. There are five critical factors needed to ensure workforce training is effective:

Supervisor Commitment: Clear communication between supervisors and their employees is essential to helping them understand why internal training is important and now it can benefit everyone.

Trainee Incentives: Programs with incentives will encourage a greater personal investment from the trainee. The company can offer tuition reimbursement for online workforce training or the promise of a raise to employees who agree to participate in workforce training.

Program Timeline: Trainees should know the expected rate of progress through their coursework, and should be able to accommodate their work and personal commitments. Self-paced online education drives higher completion rates and educational effectiveness because it molds to the schedule of the student, rather than forcing students to attend class at an inconvenient time.

Skills Alignment: The training program needs to be relevant to the job requirements and the actual physical plant in the cases of operations roles.The best programs are built for each job function within the organization and, when necessary, tailored to the individual's level and capability through a pre-enrollment diagnostic test.

Support Resources: Trainees have the greatest opportunity to overcome difficult subject matter if there are resources available wherever they engage with their learning. These resources could include online study guides or even peer-to-peer social communities to provide beth academic and motivational advantages.

All of these factors are needed to ensure the success of workforce training, but they must be supplemented by something more.An inviting culture must be nurtured by managers and employees alike so that everyone, regardless of their position within the company is committed to making it better. At companies with a culture like this, workforce training is not a chore. It is an opportunity - online education can enhance to the advantage of employers and employees alike.

Frank Britt is the CEO of Penn Foster, a leading career-focused online and blended education institution that has helped more than 1,000 institutions nationwide to re-educate their employees, prevent costly layoffs and reduce turnover. Today they support more than 100,000 students across a broad range of training academies. Frank bas more than 20 years of experience with companies including IBM, Bain Capital Ventures and Pri-Med.


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