Smart Money Training

Whenever there is talk about the lack of funding for training, there is talk of trimming the program or buying off-the shelf products. There are some smart solutions.

Michelle G. Rosenbloom, a colleague of mine on GovLoop and past guest writer, believes she has one or two smart money training solutions. Let’s see.

She presented her case on my training and development group page on GovLoop:

Ms. Rosenbloom generated some discussion about offering varying modalities/channels within the training world. The purpose being, to satisfy a multi-generational workforce. In order to effectively train employees, we need to offer the training session in a language they can understand. For some, that means hard copies and face to face training. For others, that means downloadable training modules on tablets, MP3 players, or computers.”

Here, she and I are on the same page to some extent.

Congratulations, you’re a multi-generational — multi-modality training machine. You’re willing to offer your employees a training solution that works for THEM.”

But then she asks about money and asks if a company can invest in a “multi-platform training program.” I think she is implying: It is expensive to order from multiple vendors, but cheaper to do one-stop shopping. Most likely she is correct, but I don’t have any statistics either way. I think it depends on the company.

Believe it or not, I also agree there is a time and place for module training on issues that don’t change and on which you can monitor your employees actually using it, like government regulations or mandatory yearly training. Which reminds me I still have to take my yearly ethics training.

Do I need it? No, but every employee is every employee. No exceptions. I can have a CD for that or a website, which I do, and the program on the website reports back to management when I have completed and answered every answer completely. This one of those “multi-platform training programs” — except since my company is technologically-based for most of its training, although I’m not a hundred percent for technology either.

The big sell for Ms. Rosenbloom has to do with the multi-generational workforce and offering “varying modalities/channels.” I still think there are other ways, often in house, to reach that multi-generational workforce without breaking the bank.

Ms. Rosenbloom has her view:

Now let’s talk about the money: Is this even possible from a financial standpoint? Can a company invest in a multi-platform training solution; one that ranges from hard copies and CDs to downloadable materials and E-learning modules?”

Her answer, of course, is “ABSOLUTLEY.” What she means is, if there is a way, her company will find it through “pay-per use” and “enterprise pricing options.” Sounds kind of sound like a sales pitch. I could use some examples. I’m sure it works for the right companies that don’t have time to seek out the cheaper in-house communication they can develop more cheaply themselves.

Carol Davison, also a GovLoop colleague, said she agrees with Ms. Rosenbloom “to some extent.” She says.

For example, although I might have on-line training I can’t imagine why I would DEVELOP CDs for training. It seems that as soon as the training is altered, or after its first iteration, the CD would be obsolete. One organization I know did exactly that and had to re-contact everyone to whom they sent a CD to ensure they were discarded.”

In-house blogs that cover a variety of subjects to employees. One, they learn peripherally what others are doing in the company. Two, training updates can be included with contacts for more information or individual training.

In short, Ms. Rosenbloom is marketing. By all means, check out what she is doing; she may have something there. We all do it if we want to make a living selling training products and services, and we are not company trainers. Myself included.

My idea of selling my product is to demonstrate that I am a knowledgeable person through writing or speaking on a variety of training ideas, which is what Ms. Rosenbloom is doing. The key difference is that I don’t have off-shelf products to sell, and I don’t agree her method is smart money training without seeing the stats or other evidence. She is talking about leasing a system of training you pick out for a specific amount of time thereby you aren’t buying the modules but the company takes care of that for you. Sometimes companies do that to afford fancy copy machines.

I pride myself on customizing my training solutions. But then I’m low upkeep. My overhead is slight in comparison; there is just me. I only have me to sell. What I think based on my unique experience, none of which includes sales. And I can help in the simple idea compartment and train in-house trainers to give dynamic presentations. However, customizing as I do takes time–too much time for companies in a hurry. I’ve missed many a lucrative offer because I couldn’t prepare two days worth of training in a few hours.

Training involves people’s moods, attitudes and desires. Given a CD, for example a portable source of training, is easily lost or forgotten “accidentally on purpose.”

Interactive media like tablets or pads get more attention, and can be specialized to receive training updates. I developed what I called a “donut hole” video magazine for training that had built in places that could easily be replaced with newer updated information. Something like that could also work with a pad or tablet or computer program that provided just the updates, which I think people are more likely to put themselves through. Just a reminder. Employees are more attracted to a dynamic speaker or actors demonstrating a scenario than words on the computer.

This may be a more expensive way to go for some, but for others the portable mediums don’t work, depending on the workforce. Managers hate training as much as anyone.

Blogging and short videos are making a big splash now and are easy to produce. Applications for just about anything are available at a very reasonable price. Even having someone develop a specialized app for you may not be that expensive. If you check it (without your training manager) out make sure experience trainers are helping with your decisions.

Even self-published e-books can be published in house for free with technology available for free on the Internet. People who want to be successful, at the top of their game, are constantly searching for these sources. Having someone do that for the company and recommend links, etc. would point out the top performers and those who didn’t care. Not a bad thing to know.

Not quite the same as a company blog. Trolling for information in short bits (a blog) is a current business trend that employees are getting more used to every day. My blogs on training and development generally averages #2 on Google’s most viewed sites in the area of training, next to ASTD. I’ve had days when I have surpassed that so I know people want the advice, the how-tos, and commentary (I tend to write more commentary) on what is out there. How-tos are necessary, too, for new companies.

In fact, I wouldn’t mind a guest writer to talk about the basics (check the categories). I am fortunate to have had several international inquiries as well as national looking for how-tos, and some universities using my articles and guest writers’ articles for discussion points in their graduate classes.

This Free Management Library’s training and development blog also feeds to it GovLoop directly.

But let’s not forget the Free Management Library, in general, which I’m sure gets many more hits than GovLoop and reaches more people in a variety of businesses, many not affiliated or associated with the government. As always, you can guest write on this site. We feature all views as long as they aren’t promoting one products. Writers and their companies are given full credit via links. We only ask that you link back.

This is me marketing.

My best-selling short e-book, Cave Man Guide to Training and Development continues to sell well and I have plans for similar books based on this blog. The link takes you back to the publisher, but you can find on most famous e-book sellers.

Check out Harry’s Reality, an e-novel of the near future.

Meanwhile, keep an eye out for my next two e-books on theatre for an out-of-the-box experience. These books are really about creative and critical thinking using the acting, directing and criticism as the vehicle for expression. Harry Bolls for President!

Happy training!

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