‘e’ or ‘me’ to develop management skills?

This week I wanted to talk about e or me? By ‘e’ I am referring to e-learning and by ‘me’ I am referring to a real person – the trainer.

When I talk to business and finance directors they all want to talk about e-learning. HR and training half heartedly talk about e-learning, but enthusiastically talk about face to face learning. Staff tend to shrug their shoulders and mutter that e-learning is still about ticking boxes and covering backsides. It’s a rare person who enthuses about the value and enjoyment of their e-learning.

Outside of those organisations, when you talk to training solution providers, they too only want to talk about e-learning – but not surprising, as e-learning provides them with better profit margins and greater business growth opportunities. I can’t knock that though as Jaluch is also in the process of adding e-learning into its offering!

Who is winning this battle of ‘e’ or ‘me’?

Well it appears that those who hold the purse strings are insistent on ‘e-learning’ with the odd bit of one to one coaching thrown in.

But in businesses who like to assess and understand the return on investment of their training, we continue to see lots of investment in face to face learning with e-learning supporting, but not driving, this learning.

As you will know, for almost all businesses their greatest total annual cost is their salary and employee benefits bill and, if you are a manager or in HR you will know that the greatest stress for 90% or more of managers is staffing issues. Worrying about how to raise performance, motivate and engage staff, tackle under performance, deal with absenteeism, reduce stress, cover holidays and maternity absences, respond to grievances, chair disciplinary hearings, sack probationers and attend tribunals! This is what causes managers to both lose sleep at night and age 10 years in just 10 months. Many of you will be proudly (wearily?) wearing that badge right now!

People issues are emotional, complex, fraught with biases, long held beliefs, prejudices and full of personal uncertainty. It will therefore be a rare e-learning course that will be able to get to the root of some of the issues and uncertainties around managing and dealing with people.

This is why so many in HR continue to resist e-learning initiatives. HR is responsible for developing the knowledge and skills of managers so that staffing issues can be dealt with promptly and with confidence. HR therefore needs to find training solutions that genuinely and sustainably (i.e. for the long term) increase knowledge and confidence.

All too often the accusation is thrown at HR that they are not sufficiently commercially minded, but in this instance we have decision makers advocating training options that tick a box, but seldom develop people in the way they sometimes claim.

Is it time to question why many hold this strong belief that the only way is ‘e’? Who has been doing the brain washing?

As all our clients know, I’m a strong believer in getting value for money, finding appropriate solutions and constant innovation in business… but this doesn’t make me a mindless follower of the ‘trend’ people say we should be following.  I have real reservations about the training solutions some companies are opting for, I can’t see how they will deliver what is required… surely this has to be the first question asked?

My views are that blended learning is the way forward, I believe that we should pick and choose our training tools each time we identify a training need, as there is no ‘one solution fits all’. I also believe that to embed training, often using a combination of tools to deliver the necessary messages, open minds and reinforce learning is most valuable. ‘e’ should often be part of the solution, but ‘me’ should be equally valued. Assuming of course that you genuinely want competent and confident managers rather than just a tick in the box.

Whilst currently developing e-learning to complement our existing training solutions, Jaluch is already able to offer training services and training products covering a whole range of topics relevant to the development of supervisors, managers, organisational leaders and of course the HR team. Please do call us to talk through your needs.

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