The UK is undoubtedly going through a time of uncertainty which is clearly impacting on business. Hitting the headlines in 2017/18 has been the demise of so many big brand names from our high streets, and businesses from all sectors announcing difficulties and being forced to take action to minimise the challenges ahead. Headlines such as ‘Jaguar Land Rover cuts output amid Brexit fears’, ‘Countrywide Farmers goes into administration’ and ‘More than 475,000 UK businesses end quarter 1 2018 in a state of significant distress’.
However, there is a glimmer of good news; unemployment is at a 40 year low and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has upgraded growth to a modest 1.4% in 2018, but says that anything better will depend on a good Brexit deal. The OECD’s advice to boost productivity, wages and job quality is that “priority should be given to greater spending on education and lifelong learning”. Unfortunately though, it is so often the way that when businesses are facing challenging times staff training takes a hit, which can have a long term negative impact on a business. Employees are a business’s biggest asset and require investment of training to remain efficient and productive, and to ensure that the business remains competitive in a fast changing world.
The hospitality sector, like agriculture and construction, is suffering from EU workers leaving the UK and is finding it difficult to fill jobs, resulting in taking on less qualified individuals, which according to the chairman of MW Eat, raises training costs. However, when you consider that it costs 38% of an employee’s annual salary to replace a member of staff, according to HR Management’s Jim Dooney, training an existing employee is a good investment. An investment not just to reduce recruitment costs, but trained employees are more likely to be engaged in the business and look for development opportunities within, rather than looking elsewhere. Trained staff also support succession planning, innovation, business efficiencies and competitiveness, so training is a win-win situation. But, with off-the job training costing from around £50 to £100s for a half day session per employee it is easy to see why businesses facing challenging times decide to cut training to save money. However, when it comes to mandatory compliance training cutting back is not an option, as this put employees in danger and businesses at risk of large fines, sanctions and even closure.
A large number of organisations large and small, whether commercial, charities or education are now choosing online learning as an effective and cost saving approach to training. The benefits include:
- Reduced training costs
- Reduced travel costs
- Reduced cost of employees time out of the business
- Reduced time allocated for training
- Training at the point of need
- Employees can revisit the training as often as they like to reinforce learning
- Training can take place at a time and place to fit around an employee’s job role
- Automated management of training using online platforms brings time, operational, compliance and cost efficiencies
- Employees discretion to learn without others knowing often resulting in an on-going positive approach to professional development.
In a Telegraph article on how SMEs are making the most of online learning, Flood Protection Solutions of Nottingham turned to online courses to boost business sales, flexibility, affordability and to save travel costs. Following staff undertaking an online sales course the company landed their biggest contract to date.
Howden’s joinery implemented online learning and found that employees were 90% more effective more quickly, there was 44% improvement in their knowledge and staff turnover reduced from 7% to 2.5%. Moray Council saved £95k on their training budget by turning to online learning and United Biscuits reduced their per head training cost from £78 to £8. It’s not just business that it is reaping the benefits of online learning, Hopwood Hall College saved £1.4 million when they implemented online learning and improved learner success rates by 10%.
Discovery Multi Academy Trust in Plymouth, an Academy of three schools, started using online learning in 2017. Leslie Rust, Facilities and ICT Manager said:
eLearning Marketplace is a new avenue for Discovery Mat side-tracking from the traditional method of booking individuals on courses that would take them away from their everyday workload. The courses themselves are very thorough and range from a simple or a more in-depth course to suit the needs of the workplace without losing working hours. The free system allows an overview of all learners to assess their stage of training, any problems are quickly remedied by a support team who are always on hand to answer calls or respond to emails. As a Manager, I have found huge benefits from using the free License Manager that is quick and easy to get quotations, provides the facility to allocate courses whilst keeping track of individuals learning journey alongside so many other attributes that assist in managing learners. eLearning Marketplace now plays a huge role in the provision of training that will only grow with time as the Academy expands further and would recommend all companies to take advantage of this online training provider
More and more people are turning to online shopping to source products and services. The pound continues to fluctuate and Brexit continues to cause uncertainties, so employers and their staff are going to need to be innovative, forward thinking and efficient in all aspects of the business to compete in an extremely competitive market. A knowledgeable and skilled workforce is a weapon in a business’s armour to sustain growth in challenging times.