Regulation and legislation are across most industries today, and businesses know they need to comply with industry standards of excellence to secure clients and grow.
Training staff, is a costly exercise, and it’s hard to find any education that’s free.
Industry regulation compliance, can be an annual requirement too, for example in the retail sector there’s the need for PCI compliance. There will be a budget for compliance but often not a lot put aside for training in other areas like the use of technology (Tech).
Tech is always evolving, and we can no longer function in business, and in life, without it. Portable hardware including laptops, tablets, smartphones require regular replacement, and whatever you end up purchasing, there’s some up-skilling required to use it completely.
Business Tech Software & Apps
Another drain on a business’s learning resources is their software systems, and applications, and mobile Apps.
A software update can require no training, except when providers release newer versions that include added functionality and improved features, then staff need to know what they are and how to use them.
Tech is used as a competitive edge so to stay viable, in highly competitive industries, businesses need to use the latest systems, and apps, particularly at the front end, so clients and users get a comparable or improved experience than they get elsewhere. This commitment involves your staff trained in the use of all new technology.
Training in some systems must be done by specific certified providers,. As such, there’s probably not a lot your business can do to reduce the cost, however for the more generic tech systems, and apps, there’s a lot more wiggle room for negotiating training costs and to use training that’s free of charge.
Tech Systems & Apps Training Options
Here are many ways your business can reduce it’s staff training costs:
Sign up for webinars. In the technology sector, product and service providers run regular webinars, and they’re usually free. They can be a trade-off, i.e. you get knowledge from them, and they get your acceptance to join their newsletter, or receive an online meeting to discuss their business and what they sell.
Blog Posts & Articles & White Papers
There’s a plethora of blog content created and shared online by subject matter experts in just about every field. More academic or technical topics will also publish white papers. There is a huge amount of knowledge available that’s free. The challenge is knowing enough about your subject to conduct granular searches to narrow the search results.
Industry & Business Associations
The Chambers of Commerce are not-for-profit business membership associations. Their role is to provide support for businesses and encourage good business practices, so they succeed in their endeavours.
The Chamber of Commerce membership fee is usually modest. Yet, the ROI favourable, especially when the Chamber is used for staff training and globally this is the primary focus, so there are many examples of success. Hutt chamber of commerce in New Zealand, is the benchmark regionally, in its commitment to membership training.
Every week, Hutt Chamber hosts industry trainers to impart knowledge for its members in areas; such as technology, social media, online business security, marketing, sales.
Online and in your local or regional area there are networking groups for specific niches.
These groups can be informal and arranged by a business keen to know who is in the same industry. For example with cybercrime at an all-time high, white hat hackers in a specific industry like banking and finance, may meet up to share their experiences and knowledge of the latest threats.
Even compliance providers like PCI auditors will happily collaborate with the end users and industry experts to learn and share information.
Niche topic discussion forums are also excellent sites for knowledge transfer. They are frequented by hobbyists and professionals in all areas of expertise. If you’re a software developer in a particular language like Java, you will find a discussion forum with forum users willing to assist you and answer your questions.
There’s a discussion forum for just about every topic, and they can operate on a dime. Most are moderated by volunteers for example PropertyTalk discussions forums have been operating for 15 years, on a shoestring budget. Its members include property accountants, lawyers real estate agents, property managers, investors all with the same willingness to share their experiences with new members keen to learn.
Staff training and learning, in most general areas of technology, and other core disciplines in the business can be achieved for low cost or free. Therefore there really is no excuse for businesses to keep current and their staff skilled, at least in this area of the business. Share your comments with us below and join our newsletter to get our top articles to your Inbox.