The Cost of NOT Training New Hires – Option: Learning Outsourcing

A recent Human Resource Executive e-newsletter article, entitled “Ill-Prepared Workers?” cited per a just-released Conference Board report that a little under 50 percent of the employers who participated in the 2009 survey provided any workforce readiness training for newly-hired entry-level workers. The article and report further stated that the most common training technique these days was allowing employees to read materials on the intranet.

The report went on to say that employers which provided no such opportunities thought it was not their responsibility to do so, that the finger usually points to schools, but that most of the gaps seen in new hires were not about academic skills but rather centered on behaviors such as “creativity”, “ethics” and “professionalism”.

The sub-head of the article read, “In the past, most entry-level workers learned their skills on the job, but such training programs went away long ago. These days, most employers expect schools to prepare students for the workforce – and then they are disappointed with the abilities of their new hires. There is probably no easy resolution to the disconnect.” I have a slightly different view on this issue.

Obviously many work-related skills can be learned in school, but specifics’ relating to an employer’s operating procedures, or behaviors such as creativity or professionalism, require on the job training and support. Very few new hires can hit the ground running in a new job. Further, per NelsonHall and others’ research, the top reasons employees leave their current employer include dissatisfaction with their supervisor and leadership, and lack of training and developmental opportunities. And when you factor in repeated employee cost-to-hire, proper training of new hires is a much less expensive and valuable investment.

How can this be achieved? Outsourced learning (LBPO) can offer an effective middle ground to provide low-cost yet effective Web-based training for basic job skills and employee development. For the newer generations coming into the workforce, online training does need to be engaging and well-designed, but there is a lot of expertise out there. The use of social media can be another relatively low-cost way to form internal communities to engage those new to the workforce. All the outsourced and Web-based choices make more training options affordable to companies. And if the right balance of early training can bring new workers to competency faster and reduce turnover, it will more than pay for itself – whether the new hires are destined to remain with their employer for their lifetime career or just a few more productive months in high volume entry-level jobs.

Per our research, we expect LBPO contract activity to pickup by 2010 as the economy recovers and organizations’ financial positions improve, enabling the critical investment in its people to develop and retain its talent.

But in order to make this a reality, company leaders need to fully support training initiatives and, well, know how to lead. Thus, I was impressed with Kenexa’s new leadership and development offering program announced on September 17. The offering includes:

 • An audit to assess the capabilities of existing leaders

• Online leadership assessments for hiring, developing and promoting top leaders

• Developmental tools to improve leadership skills

A final thought. New entrants into the HR workforce might want to pursue their first career with an HRO provider where they’ll get significant on the job training. As HRO contracts carry high stakes, outsourcing providers have a highly vested interest in making sure their associates are well-trained.

Your thoughts?

Gary Bragar, Lead HRO Analyst, NelsonHall

Explore posts in the same categories: hr outsourcing, hr outsourcing research, hro, HRO providers, lbpo, learning outsourcing, nelsonhall, outsourced learning, outsourced training

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