How much will e-learning cost me? This is a question that most Operations Executives, HR Managers and Training Managers ask at some point.  It’s not an easy question to answer since there are so many possible variables.

A better question and one that can be answered with a degree of certainty is “What is the cost of NOT training?”

Consider how you train a new employee today.  It likely goes something like this:

  • New hire John Smith arrives and spends time with HR filling out required paperwork.
  • John is then taken to the department supervisor where he will be working and is introduced to a few people and given a brief overview of his job.
  • John is handed off, typically to a tenured employee like Sandra, so that she can show John “the ropes”.
  • Sandra spends most of the first morning explaining and showing John how to do his new job.  She may even let him actually do the job or a few simpler tasks while she watches over him.
  • By the first afternoon, John is pretty much on his own.  Sure Sandra is somewhere nearby in case John has a question but she has her own job to do.
  • John struggles for the first week trying to figure out how to do his job with little interaction from the others in the department.

This type of training is not uncommon in distribution or assembly line operations and has been the standard for generations.  Unfortunately, it has many flaws.

  • John will be very unproductive his first two weeks and will likely make many mistakes.  He is a rookie after all.
  • John will ask Sandra and any other employee nearby many questions and often the same question repeatedly for the more difficult or confusing tasks.
  • John will not feel part of the team.  He knows he is struggling and let’s face it, no one likes to fail.
  • After several weeks John feels like no one cares about him, he feels alone, he isn’t very successful and quits for a new job.

So what did John’s few weeks on the job actually cost the company?  The many mistakes he made resulted in returns, replacement orders, and customer dissatisfaction.   The hands-on training he was given cost hours of Sandra’s time.  HR spent money on recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and new hire paperwork.  Detailed analysis has shown the investment in an employee during the first 60 days is between $8,000- $10,000.    No matter how you add it up the cost of turnover is expensive.

So How can e-learning help?

Progressive employers understand the benefits of engaging new employees and providing early training on important work practices.  Human Resource experts agree that providing an engaging workplace is a primary factor in retaining employees.  E-learning is designed to engage employees through a variety of media that can deliver any or all of the following topics . . .

  • Welcome to our company- We’re glad you’re part of our team.
  • Safety orientation- What you need to know to be safe on the job.
  • Getting started- A guide to help you be successful in your first week.
  • Quality matters- Why our team is so committed to quality.
  • FAQ’s for our newest team members- We’ll help you be successful.
  • Order selecting 101- How to be efficient and accurate in your new job.

A well-designed e-learning program that offers new employees timely and actionable information will help them feel engaged, more productive, safer and part of the team.  It tells them you are more than just an employer; that you really care about them. That’s how you retain the best employees.