Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Are Custom Training Courses for New Hires Worth It?

The benefits of effective new hire training are crystal clear throughout the hiring process, during onboarding, and well beyond. When your training is top-notch:

  • It’s easier to hire top-tier talent. Talented individuals expect more from your company, and they’ll want to hear about your training and professional development procedures before signing on the dotted line.
  • You’ll have lower turnover rates. When employees feel confident coming out of training, they’ll not only perform better, but also feel less stress and more fulfillment in their roles. Training and retaining a skilled employee is significantly more cost-efficient than hiring a new one.

These two things go a long way when it comes to building a strong reputation for your company as the place to work. But, if your training isn’t quite having this strong effect, it’s time to revamp your offerings.

You’re already on the e-learning train—the convenience of online courses alone sold you on digital learning—but you’re unsure whether it’s worthwhile to purchase custom-made courses. There are already plenty of ready-made courses that you can purchase from reputable sources and start using immediately. So, why should you go through the process of custom-developing your e-learning training?

Let’s walk through three reasons why you should consider using custom e-learning courses in your training overhaul.

Reason #1: The training is tailored to your company’s needs.

It’s true that you can find a variety of high-quality, ready-made training courses online. Whether Udemy or LinkedIn Learning, you can find a variety of effective materials to share with new team members on the spot.

Unfortunately, just because a course is well-made and shares good tips doesn’t mean it’s a great fit for your company. Let’s consider the example of compliance training—undoubtedly crucial training for your team (that is, if you want to remain operating legally, which we’re going to assume you do).

So, let’s say you work at a medical office and are hiring new healthcare providers. You’ve found a general compliance course about HIPAA online… but, it only discusses the law with regards to adults. Your office focuses on pediatric care and therefore treats minors. Is the adult-focused course the most valuable solution for your team training? Probably not.

On the other hand, with a custom-developed course, you can discuss HIPAA as it pertains to your specific medical office. And, beyond ensuring the instructional material aligns with your company’s basic function, you can also include knowledge checks that test employees’ understanding of your highest priorities, adjust the format and length of the course to be enjoyable and accessible for your team, and incorporate your company’s culture to ensure the course reflects what it’s actually like to work at your company.

Making the Most of This Benefit

If you’re drawn to the idea of having content that’s tailored to your company’s needs, keep the following tips in mind when working with your content development team:

  • Reflect on what your company looks like. Consider the environment of your office, the diversity across your team, and the culture you foster each day. Don’t create a course that shows all blonde-haired, blue-eyed employees in a high-rise if that’s not what your company includes.
  • Incorporate common grammar, language, and phrasing. Do you use specific phrases, acronyms, and abbreviations in daily work? Include those, as opposed to generic or academic terms, to align the training closely with what each employee will experience.
  • Consider your employees’ availability. Design courses in a way that it will be easy for employees to access and complete them. Innovative formats like microlearning—or shorter, hyper-focused courses—can be a game-changer when fitting key skills training into a busy workday.

When you have the ability to custom-tailor a course to your company’s needs, go big (or go home!) to create a valuable course for your learners.

Reason #2: Training can be made more engaging for employees, increasing retention.

Let’s be honest—corporate training isn’t always created to be engaging and interesting for the employee taking it. Your goal as a human resources manager is to ensure the employee learns the skills in the course. If they enjoy it, that’s a bonus!

But in actuality, courses that are engaging and enjoyable for employees can be drastically more effective at training the employee and empowering them to retain the skills learned over time. But why is that?

Consider this corporate e-learning example:

You’re learning how to navigate your company’s constituent relationship management (CRM) solution. On one hand, you can read a guidebook about all of the key features and functionality. Or, you can engage with a number of interesting elements—from an animated on-screen character that hops around and shows you the key sections, to a speedy game in which you learn about common CRM challenges and navigate through the solution to win points.

Which would you prefer to complete? Most likely, it’s the second one. And, because you’re having fun completing it and there are memorable elements (after all, everyone remembers “Clippy,” Microsoft’s cute animated character), you’re more likely to retain the information you learn.

There are unique hurdles to overcome in the transition to remote and hybrid offices, whether hiring challenges, project management challenges, or even culture challenges. Custom courses ensure that knowledge retention isn’t added to the list.

Making the Most of This Benefit

Consider any of the following ways to add spice to your courses, making them more engaging and increasing knowledge retention in the process:

  • Sliders and dials
  • Labeling and sorting elements
  • Audio review
  • Simulations
  • Scenarios
  • Drag-and-drop
  • Click-to-reveal

Remember—your employees are likely tech-savvy enough that simple bulleted lists and graphics aren’t enough to grab their interest alone. Build elements that they need to actively interact with, and you’ll see engagement rise.

Reason #3: Courses can be updated over time as training expectations evolve.

What does your office look like today? What’s different now, compared to what your office looked like in January 2020?

Maybe you wear masks and have implemented social distancing. Perhaps you have a hybrid schedule, and only certain teams come in on certain days. Or, maybe your (and your colleagues’) office is at home.

With the changes came new expectations for team members. With new expectations come—you guessed it—new training needs.

But, we know that custom training is more expensive upfront than generic courses. So, you’d think that you’d want to steer clear of custom courses knowing that they may become outdated over time.

However, notice that we said more expensive upfront—not over time! Unlike generic courses, you can make edits to custom courses to realign them with your company’s new training expectations. Rather than starting from scratch with a whole new course, you can simply build upon the courses you already have.

So, let’s say there has been a small change to the cadence that your sales team uses, and now your custom sales training is slightly outdated. You don’t need to make an entirely new course. You can simply call up your content development team and make the minute change needed to bring your training back up to par.

Making the Most of This Benefit

To make the most of this benefit, work with an e-learning content development partner that provides you with all source files for your project. With this, you can keep the door open for future updates, whether you choose to work with the consultant again, with a new partner, or with internal teams.

Further, during the content development process itself, frontload the feedback. Have multiple sets of eyes from multiple teams view and experience your course to ensure any needed updates are caught early in the process. This way, your initial courses will be as close to perfect as possible, and you’ll ideally only need to make small updates as needed to update the content going forward.

The truth is, custom courses are more effective at training your employees now and well into the future. And, considering effective training can be directly linked to mental wellness and productivity, these courses can have major positive implications for not only your new hire training but overall employee retention.

If these arguments have convinced you, it’s time to reach out to a custom e-learning content development expert. Good luck!

About the Author

Amy Morrisey is the President of Artisan E-Learning and serves as Sales & Marketing Manager. Amy started with Artisan as a contract writer/instructional designer. She was our Production Manager for four years and helped the team to double its capacity. As President, she stays focused on maintaining the high standards our clients have grown to expect. She believes that staying close to our clients, our people, and our work is a smart way to do that. One of her favorite things to do in the e-learning world is jump in with a client to write a storyboard that is creative and application-based. Before working with Artisan, Amy spent 17 years in corporate training and development predominantly teaching leadership development and coaching teams and executives. She currently serves on the board of ATD Detroit. 

Guest Post