Ways A Knowledge Base Can Cut Employee Training Time
Robin Singh | HR| By
Training new employees to tap their highest potential is essential for business success. As success of any organization is directly tied to employee skill and performance, gaps in training can prove detrimental. No matter how seasoned your new hire is, they need a certain level of training to get accustomed to the routine tasks and processes, and organizations face multiple challenges in striking a balance between training quality and costs.
In fact, there are organizations infusing hundreds to thousands of dollars into onboarding new hires. Reports even suggest that training costs can go beyond a staggering $13 million dollars for large organizations. Ever-growing training costs is something that keeps hiring managers awake and restless at night. Now, is there a way out? Luckily, Yes. A knowledge base – a bank of ready-to-go information, fact sheets and other assets for trainers and other employees – can help you train your new hires, without spending months and sacrificing the quality of information. While knowledge bases are common in large organizations, few small businesses spend the time and money to develop one.
Here’s why you should consider a knowledge base for your small business.
1. Provides First Hand Information
Onboarding a new hire can take more than a few weeks, especially in the case of extensive training programs. Many organizations conduct classroom trainings for new hires, expecting them to understand and remember every detail. Although classroom instruction is still popular, it has a number of downsides such as:
- Inconsistency in level of engagement
- Inability to grasp information in single go
- Information gaps in delivery
Introducing a knowledge base can solve both these problems for organizations by streamlining the training program. New hires can easily access information in a few clicks and consume information from anywhere and everywhere. All they need to do is to click on the relevant link and start consuming the training material. Most KB tools also offer context-sensitive help to facilitate better understanding, in case the user is unfamiliar about a term and needs more detailed understanding of it.
2. Reduces Information Overload
New hires can get lost in an ocean of information, especially during those lengthy, never ending training sessions. If the instructor needs to repeat something over and over for the sake of clarity, it can be frustrating for both parties. When you document training information in a knowledge base, you already have a fair idea about what to cover and what not. You know what’s been successful in the past and as you plan training material in advance, you can eliminate the fluff and put forward ideas that are succinct and easy to consume. Simply create short manuals, articles and How To’s for the new hires, so that they consume only what’s required to do the job and leave the rest.
3. Promotes Internal Collaboration
Incorporating a knowledge base not only streamlines employee training, but also fosters internal collaboration. New hires can undergo training right from their workstations. Moreover, they can go through the entire training program before firing off questions to the instructor, something that can disrupt classroom sessions. When new hires have readymade access to training information, managers need not allocate separate bandwidth for conducting sessions. And being better prepared, new hires can let go of their apprehensions in attending live classroom sessions, making them more enjoyable and fruitful.
4. Allows Location Independence
Location freedom has a direct correlation with employee training time. Every employee in an organization has different learning preferences. While some are comfortable learning in the office, many millennials expect learning on the go, sometimes from the comfort of their homes. Now, if your goal is to shorten training time there’s no harm in a new hire completing their training from a beach or riverside. A knowledge base ensures that new hires can get hands on training anywhere. All they need is a computer or phone, internet and the KB link. They’re good to go.
5. Minimizes Errors
Hiring never stops. Every time someone joins an organization the onboarding process starts again. Conducting the same training sessions over and over can be emotionally and financially draining. Because of this the odds of miscommunicating important information during live training sessions is quite high. Investing in a knowledge base can save time and energy while reducing the probability of inadvertent errors. As a knowledge base gives real-time visibility to training information, it can be constantly refreshed to meet the diverse requirements of new hires. Your knowledge management never gets obsolete and at the same time, the probability of committing mistakes in training is reduced to a minimal.
Don’t Let Training Drain Your Revenues
Training new employees is an activity that’s never going to stop. But the costs associated can be minimized. If you haven’t started to consider the importance of knowledge management for small business, you should start today. Documenting training information means that hiring managers never need to scramble through their drawers to find training material – it resides safely in your knowledge base. You can also ensure that every employee is trained on the essential skillsets they are supposed to have. And finally, harnessing knowledge management allows you to build a learning environment, one where employees believe in sharing knowledge rather than keeping it to themselves.
Good point! Recruitee has one that helped me onboard quickly, now that you mention it. There are also unconventional ways of saving time with onboarding, like using employee referrals or even former employees. Boomerang employees (see: http://recruit.ee/bl-boomerang-employee-eb-bh) can actually be great fits later down the road once they (and your company) have changed and grown. Thanks for sharing this! Great tips.
Katie Brunette says
Great points here! It is vital to create a knowledge base if you want to reduce your training time. We’ve found that by using an online training software, our company has seen faster ramp times of employees and increased productivity. We’re able to create short, bite-sized lessons that employees can take on their own time so, as you mentioned above, they aren’t overwhelmed with information. This also allows for training not on location, which can save a lot of money for a business. Some also have practice functionality where a new employee can record themselves practicing a sales pitch or customer service call and then submit it for review. This also reduces on-location training needs & costs. The best part about creating this knowledge base on an online platform is that it becomes your own personal search engine, making it easy for employees to access the information later in case they forget (which we all do!). Thanks for taking the time to offer solutions to low-cost/high-value training for employees!