Have you ever heard the famous Benjamin Franklin quote that “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”? He definitely got it spot on. Many organizations support this idea today and consider corporate training an essential part of a company's investment and growth strategy.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the issues that concern everyone who is getting started with corporate training and wants to achieve perfect results. What types of corporate training are available? Why do you need to start training online and how do you do it? What software do you need? How to manage the cost of learning? Here you will find the answers to these and other burning questions.
Corporate training is a means of providing learners with the knowledge and skills they need to perform their jobs at a high level. This is typically the responsibility of the Learning and Development / Talent teams in larger companies and the Human Resources department in smaller organizations. They’re responsible for identifying training needs, developing training programs, and making it available for employees.
Corporate training is critical to the success of any business. Your employees are the powerhouse behind what you do, so helping them increase their knowledge and improve their professional skills will only boost your business. Here are at least four reasons why you should care about this.
Well-designed training that meets employees’ needs makes your workforce more productive and efficient. Over time, these improvements will make your company more profitable.
Training programs help individuals, teams, and departments unite as a single organizational structure. Employees who know how their job role supports the overall mission and goals of their company can draw a line between “my work” and “my company’s success.”
Surveys have shown that today’s young professionals want more than just a paycheck. Millennials (aged 22-37 years old) particularly value employers that offer flexibility, professional development opportunities, and a sense of purpose. They are likely to change jobs if they are unhappy with their current role.
The tendency to job hop can be expensive for employers. A recent Gallup study found that the cost of replacing workers is at least one-half of an employee’s annual salary. Turnover is preventable, so corporations have a financial incentive to keep workers engaged and productive.
Building corporate culture
High-quality training aligns corporate values and strategy. Going beyond the basics shows that an organization is willing to invest in its staff over the long term. For employees, robust learning sends the message that “You matter to us.”
Various companies may have several different training programs, depending on their size, diversity, and the specifics of their business. Here’s a list of the most common types of corporate training programs:
1. Onboarding and orientation
This kind of training is hosted right after a newly hired employee comes to the workplace and continues until they are able to work independently. Its main aim is to streamline the new employee adaptation process – help them feel comfortable and become productive faster.
The onboarding training program is quite flexible but is typically broken down into two main parts:
- Training for all new hires. It provides the general information about the company, its history, mission, vision, and values, as well as corporate policies and regulations.
- Specific training for a particular role. This is focused on developing basic knowledge and skills that are necessary for a new hire to acquire for a certain position.
2. Compliance training
Compliance training is often a part of new hire onboarding and has a mandatory nature. It is typically a formal program that is focused on company policies or rules that enable employees and employers to prevent both problems in the workplace and violations of the law.
These policies and procedures are usually job or industry-specific. Location can also influence what staff should be compliant in and what kind of training is required. For example, compliance training can include anti-harassment and diversity training programs, business ethics, workplace safety, and data protection and privacy training.
3. Hard skills training
4. Soft skills training
How your employees behave is equally important to what they know – that’s why soft skill training should not be overlooked. Studies have shown that by mastering soft skills, employees can positively affect the company’s success and increase ROI.
Soft skills relate to interpersonal relationships and involve things like communication, problem-solving, and decision-making. They help employees to interact effectively and harmoniously with their colleagues and customers. They are important for bringing new clients, improving customer service, and building a solid team.
5. Product knowledge training
Product knowledge is a skill where your team members fully understand and can confidently speak with customers about what you offer: its features, benefits, uses, and costs. This training is often included in the onboarding program for new hires. It also can be useful for employees who need to refresh their knowledge on the company’s products and services, and is conducted when a new feature or a new product is introduced so that the staff is always up to date.
Good product knowledge training is a sure way to improve both sales and customer satisfaction metrics in the company.
So, how can an employer create a high-quality learning program that works for all employees? The best corporate training meets the learner at their point of need. Corporate learning should be available on demand and delivered in a variety of ways.
Here are four common types of corporate training you can use in your company. Let’s look at how they differ and what benefits and drawbacks they each have.
1. Instructor-led classroom training
Traditional classroom-based training is the very definition of “old school” learning. And it’s not going away any time soon. A 2018 survey by Training magazine found that 32% of organizations use it for almost one-third of their overall training.
- Familiar to all participants
- Relatively easy to deliver
- Easy to customize
- Supports a variety of assessment types
- Easy to create and maintain
- Higher cost-per-learner than other methods
- Requires dedicated space and instructors
- No standardized learning experience
- Quality can vary depending on instructor
- Limited number of learners per session
2. Virtual instructor-led classroom training (VILT)
VILT puts a 21st-century spin on traditional learning by moving the classroom online. VILT software allows instructors to deliver lectures, show videos, conduct break-out sessions, lead discussions, and observe learner performance. Virtual sessions can be recorded and accessed for review at a later date.
- Eliminates need for classroom space
- Builds on familiar learning experience
- Makes learning accessible to participants regardless of location
- Supports a variety of activity types
- Can be recorded for future review
- Less costly over time
- Users may feel disengaged
- Requires experience with technology
- Requires a dependable high-speed internet connection
- Tech glitches can kick out learners
- Instructors may need upskilling
- Higher up-front costs to create
3. Online learning
Online learning has become the “new norm” for corporate training. Between 2002-2018, corporate use of online learning grew by 900%. The term “online learning” can include any number of learning products, including eLearning or microlearning modules, games, assessments, learning activities, videos, and discussion boards
Supporting materials, such as job aids and learning documents, can be saved in a .pdf format to create content that is both digital and accessible to learners.
- Globally scalable and accessible
- Standardizes a common learning experience for all participants
- Accommodates unlimited learners
- Meet learners at point of need
- Preferred learning method by many younger professionals
- May take longer to develop than ILT
- May require ID to upskill the technology and content development process
- Bandwidth can affect access to content
- Lack of face-to-face interactions
- May intimidate learners who are not technologically adept
4. Blended learning
A blended learning approach combines classroom-based training and online learning into one curriculum. Bringing these two methods together can create a learning experience that captures the best of each method.
- Globally scalable and accessible
- Greater opportunities for learner collaboration and connection
- Increased accessibility to learning
- Flexibility for participants to complete assignments
- Can increase engagement and interest for many learners
- Requires a solid technology infrastructure
- May challenge learners who are not technologically inclined
- Instructors and IDs may need upskilling
- Less motivated learners may struggle to complete work without instructor support
Assess your existing training to see if you are using the best training methods for your organization. To get a better understanding of which method is best, read our article about workplace training methods.
If all your classes are still instructor-led or you’re just looking in the direction of corporate training, it’s time to make the move to online learning. We have already covered some of the advantages of eLearning above. But the biggest reason to opt for it is that online learning is simply more effective. Here is some evidence for you:
The first thing you need to do is define your overall learning needs and expectations, set up training goals, and identify your audience. In this case, a smart idea is to ask some questions that will be the basis of what’s called a training needs analysis. To get a shortlist of questions, read our post on how to develop a successful training program.
Once you identify your big-picture needs and set objectives, you can focus on the curriculum and course details. Incorporate your findings into a corporate training roadmap that details your overall vision, wants, and needs for learning.
It’s also important to consult with your IT department to see what software you need to get started with eLearning (we’ll discuss how to select training tools a little bit further on).
If you’re ready to move forward and need more information about how to start training online, read our guide on launching a new eLearning project.
You’ll need a new set of digital tools to design, develop, and manage your online training. Let’s look at the basic software that will get you started.
Learning management system
A learning management system (LMS) is your platform for managing training. An LMS is a well-organized system that will:
- manage and store courses;
- provide learner access to content;
- assign, deliver, and track results.
Think of your LMS as “mission control” for all of your company’s training. A corporate LMS should allow you to quickly and easily update courses, while also providing robust tracking and reporting functions.
Automate corporate training and improve employee performance.
Let’s say you have an LMS to manage your corporate training. But what about the learning content? If you’re going to create online courses in-house, you’ll also need an authoring tool.
Authoring tools are typically offered as a package or “suite” of tools to create a variety of eLearning content types, from simple courses to interactions, assessments, videos, and games. They can vary in complexity and ease of use, so be sure to try out the software before you buy it. To delve deeper into the process of software selection, download our guide on choosing an authoring tool.
If you’re new to online training, you’re likely to opt for an authoring tool with a simple design and user-friendly interface.
For example, with iSpring Suite, anyone can start building e-courses right away – no prior experience necessary. And, with this authoring toolkit, you can create different kinds of eLearning content, including slide courses, quizzes, video tutorials, conversation simulations, and interactions.
See how an eLearning course created with iSpring Suite looks:
Check out eLearning demos to see what else you can do with iSpring Suite.
We’d like to offer some tips to help make your corporate training even more effective using iSpring Learn LMS and the iSpring Suite authoring toolkit.
Tip 1: Add personalized learning paths
Use baseline testing to measure the skills each new hire has already mastered. If an employee can successfully prove their knowledge, you can “pass” that learner out of a training class. This will allow your employees to use their training time to develop new skills, instead of just repeating what they already know.
With iSpring Learn, you can also create customized learning paths by mixing and matching multiple content items. You can combine various courses, quizzes, video tutorials, and other materials into one compound course and specify if the order of chapters is strict or flexible, set the completion date and the completion conditions for chapters and courses.
Tip 2: Conduct webinars
Are you ready to make your classroom virtual? An LMS that allows you to host webinars makes it easy to schedule live training sessions, invite learners and track their attendance.
As for iSpring Learn LMS, it is integrated with Zoom web meetings. Webinars can be conducted from almost any internet-connected computer or tablet, right from your iSpring account. During a broadcast, you can share your PowerPoint presentations, video, screen and even take polls and get instant feedback from your employees.
Tip 3: Offer learning certification
Learning certification programs are a great way to recognize personal achievement. They can also become an important differentiator for career advancement.
With iSpring Learn, you can set the parameters for any kind of certification program. Once a learner successfully completes all program activities, the LMS will automatically issue a certificate in the learner’s name. You can even customize a certificate with your proprietary branding and upload your template onto iSpring Learn.
Tip 4: Build a blend of different learning experiences
Today’s learners expect their training to be more than lectures and tests. When building your curriculum maps, consider how you can use different content types to engage your learners. Use iSpring Suite to include elements such as:
- A short video to welcome your learners;
- Job aids and manuals in the form of e-books;
- An interactive game to assess learners’ baseline competency level;
- An eLearning module or lecture;
- A tutorial with a step-by-step demonstration of a process or procedure;
- A hands-on activity, game or skills demonstration;
- A final assessment.
Tip 5: Make learning a game
The idea of “gamifying” learning has been a hot topic among instructional designers for some time now. A well-crafted gamified learning experience challenges learners through engagement and interactions.
The iSpring Suite can turn your existing PowerPoint presentations into games with customized questions and interactions.
Tip 6: Practice your team’s communication skills
This is especially critical if you’re going to train customer service and sales staff. With iSpring Suite, you can create realistic conversation simulations with branching, assessments, real-life characters and locations.
This is how a dialogue simulation looks:
Implementing an online learning strategy will require some hard dollar expenditures. Research conducted by Brandon Hall Group found that LMS costs account for about 38% of the average learning technology budget. That translates to an average annual corporate LMS spend of $70,614.
What’s the pricing model for LMS services?
LMS providers typically price their product in one of five ways:
- Pay-per-learner: a fixed price for a fixed number of learners
- Pay-per-active-learner: a fixed price for the number of learners who used the LMS during the billing cycle
- Pay-as-you-go: pay only for the features you use
- Subscription: a set price, based on the number of features selected
- Open source: free access to the LMS program; you are responsible for setting up, customizing, and hosting.
Work with your business partners to determine the best pricing strategy for your organization. The chart below provides some general guidelines for pricing.
|The size of your learning audience is fairly stable||A pay-per-learner plan could make sense.|
|Your learning audience is smaller than your total employee headcount||Consider a pay-per-active-learner approach.|
|You do not expect to use a lot of advanced LMS features||Try a pay-as-you-go cost model.|
|Your organization has strong IT capabilities||You may be able to customize free open source software, such as Moodle.|
For a detailed analysis on how to choose the best LMS pricing for your organization, read our LMS Pricing Guide.
How to save money on LMS costs
LMS providers offer an almost endless array of capabilities and options. A new LMS customer can usually save money by purchasing only the services they know they will use in their first year, and by closely monitoring the size of their learning audience.
Have a plan (or at least an outline of ideas) for how you will roll out online learning to your audience of learners. Decide which pricing model makes the best financial sense for your organization, then approach LMS providers to discuss how their products can serve your needs. Ask each provider:
- When (or how often) can you change your pricing plan?
- What are the baseline costs for your pricing model?
- Do they charge set-up fees for new customers?
- What kind of training or customer support do they offer?
- Will they meet or beat a competitor’s price?
Focus on your essential needs first. Avoid paying for extras that will not add value to the learning experience, or that are out of step with your corporate learning strategy.
The Bottom Line
We hope this article has answered most of your questions about corporate training. If you still have any questions, please add them in the comments section below and we’ll be happy to help you find an answer.