E-TRAINING STRATEGY BLOG
Day-1 Orientation on the job across sectors and industries
TC Ramaraj (CBS) PhD MS B.Tech
Successful transformation of a corporation requires successful transformation of its employees. That is people who have committed their lives and expect to succeed and derive satisfaction from their efforts and in turn be productive part of a financially successful corporate entity whose top line and bottom line growth is a result of its successful training strategies. Even highly experienced and well qualified new employees require support to achieve their maximum potential in order to transform themselves and as a result transform the corporation. This support can be in the form of direct mentoring, on the job skill development and/or training. E-training strategies offer an avenue of opportunity for individuals to bootstrap their skills. These strategies also offer methods to go through a personalized assessment profile, to gain baseline information prior to commitment to the E-Training process itself.
IMPORTANCE OF DESIGN
Depending on the level of participation, an employee can achieve full development through E-training strategies, if the training is well structured and follows a path that is traceable, that offers consistent feedback, allows for positive reinforcement in the learning process as well as generates an inherent level of enthusiasm because of strategically designed training modules. So, design of training modules is an important aspect of E-training strategy. Improperly designed training modules may appear to lead employees to believe they are making progress or had made progress in going through the process without translating into realizable on the job performance and results that are measurable.
What constitutes progress? What is measurable? What metrics do we use to define how performance can be measured? What is a baseline? How do we define it? How do we measure it? Is it necessary to provide continuous feedback to the participant? These are some of the many questions that may immediately arise.
Here comes the demarcation of training strategies depending on industry it is meant to address. Let us ask ourselves a few questions in this regard after proposing a set of realistic scenarios. To begin with, in this article, let us consider a single set of scenario and question.
As new employees are hired, and on day 1, some senior person from the corporation is requested by the training department to offer their wisdom to the incoming freshmen about corporate culture, corporate values, corporate goals and usually some catchy corporate mantra that promulgates the soul of the corporation.
Strategically, can this event be replaced by asking the new recruits to watch a video or watch a multimedia webcast? Will this multimedia webcast substitute for a hard body whose presence will probably be appreciated by the yet uninitiated audience?
That is the kind of serious question we need to address. Depending on the size of the corporation, size of the new pool of inductees, amount of resources available and the training budget, the day-1 training can happen in many different ways. Let us examine this question critically in a variety of corporate entities.
SMALL COMPANY AND STARTUPS
In the case of a very small company or a startup, probably the new pool of recruits is one person. The expectation is that the person would absorb as much as possible from the corporate website by the end of the 1st day. There may be assignments already waiting for that person to get on board. However, even in a small company, if the newly hired person is expected to follow certain procedures with respect to Environment, Health and Safety issues, follow approved protocols for regulatory purposes or follow approved protocols to be compliant, that person can pick up all the essentials from an E-Training strategy that optimizes training resources.
MEDIUM SIZED CORPORATION
In a medium sized corporation (< 1000 employees), the new pool of recruits usually is more than one person but less than 25. In this case, the day 1 training is a mixture of face to face corporate senior management motivating their new foot soldiers, some video presentations and E-Training modules to get the person up to speed on departmental procedures, compliance related requirements, electronic regulatory record keeping etc.,
Here the objective is to optimize training efforts so that a new team is energized and recruits are spirited away to their share of responsibilities. The effectiveness of training is easily tracked through surveys, feedbacks, on the spot assessments, quarterly reviews etc.,
In a large corporation (< 10000 employees), the new pool of recruits usually is 50 to 100. Here, day 1 training follows very similar steps outlined above for a medium sized company, but the training may be spread out in multiple locations within the company. These locations may be geographically separated by cities, states, countries and in some cases continents, depending on the global nature of corporation. Because of the diversity of culture, language and location, standardization of the day 1 training may not happen unless some uniform effort is placed on the training process. A simple strategy is to keep the underlying content the same, but tailor the individual site centric training module that adds the local flavor.
MULTINATIONAL HOLDING CORPORATION
In a Global Multinational Holding corporation (10000 to 400,000 employees), the new pool of recruits could run into 100 to 1000 depending on the nature of business. They will be spread across variety of business segments, again across countries and continents. Strategically, the E-Training process is mixed with mentors who are part of the buddy system to encourage quicker assimilation of new employees
We have only scratched the surface by posing a single scenario and a single question. There may be other questions for this scenario we will care about and take a closer look at in the future. There are other scenarios that extend beyond Day-1 training that will be addressed in separate future analytical evaluations.
LEVERAGING CORPORATE WEBSITE
Every time I read a flashing news item about a corporation, I always make it a point to visit its website to see what an outsider can learn about its employee orientation and training process even before one becomes part of the company. This transparency can be easily leveraged as a valuable recruiting tool to attract top talent. Of course networking probably will shed more light on the company rather than some electronic blurb. Some times even this electronic blurb might be out of date, if the training department has not been paying enough attention to its content in coordination with HR and media relations.
But a well updated and current informational portal on the company’s website about its training programs is by far the best leverage for recruiting top talent.
GLOBAL TRAINING BUDGETS IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY
Every year, corporations spend Billions of dollars on training. For example, according to one well known survey the combined training budget in 2007 in US alone of all corporations was approximately $60B before the financial storm hit the global economy. If we were to scale up and include corporations from all continents, this number could easily surpass $200B mark across the globe. That is a mind boggling number for a training budget. As an interesting subset of this global projection is the question of what percentage of this global spend might be on E-Training and how much of it has been really because of well thought out programs which have been strategically evaluated for their impact on the employees, impact on the resources, impact on the budget and finally value creation for the corporation. In subsequent issues, we will examine this important aspect, the strategy for E-Training in a global economy. This may be looked upon across many different sectors including: pharmaceuticals, big consulting, pharmaceutical CROs heavy industrials, aerospace, automotive, technology companies at the cutting edge and Banking entities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
TC Ramaraj (CBS) PhD MS B.Tech is an approved Certified Business Specialist (CBS) with the Academy of Business Strategy and his specialist subject is e-training strategy. He has achieved a PhD in Engineering Science and a MS in Engineering Science from Arizona State University. He has also achieved a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology. He has been employed as a Professor, Scientist, Technologist and Consultant for various companies and has experience within the pharmaceutical, biotech, clinical research, education, engineering, aerospace and automotive industries. His clients or employers have included Huntingdon Life Sciences, Reuters Insight, Covance Laboratories, Hoffmann-La Roche, Wyeth-Ayerst Research, Pharmacopeia Inc, Tennessee Technological University, Garrett Turbine Engine Co and Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co. He has geographical working experience in the United States of America and speaks English, German and Tamil. His service skills incorporates e-training strategy, client service and support, research and development, validation, project analysis and management.