8 factors that negatively impact online employee training programs

Last updated:
September 9, 2021
May 3, 2022
min read
Jenna Bunnell
Online employee training programs
Table of contents

As the world shifts to one where we can work from anywhere, employee needs are also shifting. One big change that you’re likely to see is the rise in demand for employee online training programs.

People focus on whether a company offers opportunities for learning and development. In fact, a lack of upskilling and career progression is the number one reason that people leave their jobs.

It even affects your bottom line: businesses with high rates of development and internal hiring have on average a 41% longer employee tenure, reducing hiring costs.

So whether you’re planning to upskill your tech team with the latest technology, or implementing diversity training to ensure that your workplace is safe for everybody, it’s time to reap the benefits of online employee training.

Not sure what might be holding you back? Here are the eight big factors which we’ve noticed impact the effective implementation of online training.

1. Planning - or lack thereof

As with any business initiative, planning is essential to the streamlined implementation of employee training.

As the saying goes: fail to plan and plan to fail.

Before you begin an online training scheme, you should know intimately which skills your organization is missing, and which will be useful to have in the future.

You should also have continuity plans in place - for situations like a global pandemic - which account for major changes in the workplace and can be drawn up with the help of BCM software.

These plans will likely contain provision for remote working and online learning, whether that’s enrolling people in courses they can do from anywhere or focusing on call recording so that you have up-to-date training materials.

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2. Your timing is off

Timing is a significant factor in the success of implementing online employee training.

Whether you choose sessions during work hours or out of them, be mindful that employees have other tasks to complete in the time. That might be engaging in their personal lives, or making up for time missed during working hours if they have pressing deadlines.

Endless courses might well mean your employers have to sacrifice their own time - and what if those courses don’t even seem relevant to them? You have a recipe for disillusionment. Equally, you should be supporting mental health at work by realizing that not everyone might have the capacity to take on more training.

Getting the timing right involves thinking about the volume and length of the development courses you’re promoting, and which would be useful. It’s no use running a training session on active listening when your team tells you that the issues in their process arise from their understanding of engagement strategies.

3. Lack of engagement

Training strengthens the perception of your startup or business, it can dent your employees’ impression of the business if you are constantly asking them to engage in irrelevant or uninteresting training.

When you provide learning opportunities, it’s important to emphasize how these skills could be useful outside of their current position. Perhaps the increased tech knowledge might let them segue into a different sector, or developing communication skills might help to pursue a managerial position.

4. You don’t have a champion

To implement effective online employee training, you need people to want to partake.

As part of boosting engagement, have someone in charge of your learning and development scheme that can galvanize your employees, piquing their interest in the courses.

Your employees can contact them if they want to pursue specific skills, knowing they will get help when looking for a useful course or mentor.

This person should be dedicated to helping your employees meet their true potential. They should be able to identify the skill gaps in your organization too, and work out who might be the right people to fill them.

Ideally, this person should be constantly curious, and passionate about implementing effective training programs.

5. You don't measure impact

You must measure the impact of training on your teams and business - even online.

You can do this via test scenarios; observe employees as they use their newly-gained skills; or even set up a form of social learning in which people teach others about their new topic of expertise.

However you measure, be sure to do it. You’ll both have the data on which courses are most effective - meaning you can invest in them efficiently - but you’ll also be able to track your employees’ careers.

From there, you can use their trajectories and successes as a way of motivating a new wave of staff who - after all - are likely looking for reassurance that a skill will help them progress. You could even start a mentoring program that encourages more experienced staff to share their knowledge.

6. Your Team Leaders Aren’t On Board

Maybe they feel like they’re losing their star performer for a couple of hours every week. Perhaps they don’t even see the point of the training.

Either way, having your team leaders on board and actively encouraging employee training will make a huge difference.

It can be useful to have the aforementioned impact data on hand when you talk it through with them for the first time. If you don’t have that, some indication of how the skill in question will benefit the team - and therefore the leader - certainly wouldn’t go amiss.

Leadership support means that the employee can relax in the knowledge that they won’t be penalized for committing to a development goal.

It can also mean they are offered support and guidance, and the potential to use their new skills in a real-life scenario.

This follow-up is vital. Reinforcing the new skills with real-world tasks means that it is more likely to stick - and therefore be worth the investment.

7. Your IT is falling behind

A surprisingly easy point to forget: it’s helpful to facilitate your employees’ online learning by ensuring they have the right setup in place.

Perhaps that’s making sure you’ve invested in business communication tools so that colleagues can chat about the course, as well as collaborating on projects.

Think about a jarring video call or a site that keeps freezing because of shoddy IT - now imagine how frustrating that would be if you’re trying to learn something.

8. You’re picking courses that are dated

Just like IT, online courses can be outdated and irrelevant in a flash.

Not only will using outmoded courses mean that your employees’ knowledge potentially isn’t up to date, but it also suggests to them that you’re not that invested in their learning - and therefore engagement plummets.

Being forced to take part in a course that references ‘00’s accoutrements is likely to feel both useless and insulting - neither of which are particularly great for morale.

Instead, try to opt for courses that are up-to-date in their field. You can find relevant courses on Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Udemy and so many more. You’ll see a spike in engagement and thereby use your money more efficiently, instead of spending it on courses to be suffered through rather than listened to.

Could addressing these factors aid in the implementation of online employee training programs?

These factors all come together to form a picture of employees who are keen to progress but are held back by administrative or managerial issues.

By implementing modern, useful courses with support from the upper management team and team leaders, you’ll provide more reason to engage. Employees will have the opportunity to use their new skills, rather than letting them languish, and potentially progress their careers in new directions.

You make it a much more appealing prospect by giving people a reason to invest By giving people a reason to invest in online training, you make it a much more appealing prospect. Add in all the other factors and you have yourself a winning combination.

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