MOOCs and the SMB: Are MOOCs the answer for the SMB? Part Three – Avoiding Termination

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MOOC

Pronunciation: /mo͞ok/ NOUN

  • A course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people:anyone who decides to take a MOOC simply logs on to the website and signs up

SMBs can face many challenges.  Creating business plans. Entering the world of Social Media.  Actually leaving work at the end of the business day.

Often times, those challenges are HR based.  Recruitment.  Retention.  Training & Development. Termination.  Each of those challenges are expensive, time consuming but extremely valuable.  What is a SMB owner to do? Earlier in the series, we covered recruitment, retention and T&D.  Today we are going to look at termination – and if using MOOCs can help revive the career of an underperforming employee.

Termination

No one wants to terminate an employee.  We want to see people do well and succeed.  But what do you do about an employee who is underperforming?

First, look at why they are underperforming.    Have they been given clear direction?  Do they truly understand the expectations?   Have they been given honest and timely feedback about their work? If you have hired a Gen Yer to work for you, they will be looking for frequent feedback – not just a “good job” but detailed feedback. Have they been properly trained to do the job or handle the situation?

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly. Thomas H. Huxley

Often times, poor performance can be linked to training opportunities. Either the person did not know how to do the job properly or what was expected of them in a given situation.  Identify training opportunities and building those into a performance improvement plan (PIP) along with specific deadlines and intended improvements.  PIPs need to be very specific, SMART goal oriented and achievable.

“I think including relevant, skills-based MOOCs within a Performance Improvement Plan can not only help employees learn to be better at their jobs, it can also encourage participation in these courses,” says Erin Osterhaus, HR Researcher at Software Advice “As MOOCs and other skills-based online courses gain acceptance in the business community, I think that having an online portfolio that tracks projects and courses completed by job seekers may become a helpful addition to any job application. With an online portfolio, employers can actually see the capabilities of potential employees in action.”

By including MOOCs and requiring a learning portfolio, including goals, coursework samples and self reflection, it may be possible to retain a trained employee – one who is now more knowledgeable, more loyal and more motivated!  This will save you time and money in the process – by not having to pay a severance package, recruiting and training a new hire and loss of potential profits (in the time lost between dismissing one employee and bring another one on and getting them up to speed).

Whenever possible, retraining an existing employee is a far smarter move financially for the SMB.  MOOCs provide a financially feasible way to provide training with specific, measurable, realistic goals.

So…are MOOCs the answer for a SMB?

MOOCs are a great way to recruit new talent, retain existing talent, train and develop your team in a fiscally responsible way, cross train employees to increase motivation, loyalty and efficiency  and avoid termination of existing employees by giving a fair chance at retraining.

what smbs want
Are they the right option for your SMB? That is a decision only you can make, but for more information, check out Accredible.com to find upcoming classes and to create your own training plan and  e-portfolio!

If you missed any of the series MOOCs and the SMB: Are MOOCs the answer for the SMB?, you can find the article on Recruitment and Retention and T&D at Accredible.com  

MOOCs and the SMB: Are MOOCs the Answer? Part Two – Retention and T&D

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MOOC

Pronunciation: /mo͞ok/ NOUN

  • A course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people:anyone who decides to take a MOOC simply logs on to the website and signs up

SMBs can face many challenges.  Creating business plans. Entering the world of Social Media.  Actually leaving work at the end of the business day.

Often times, those challenges are HR based.  Recruitment.  Retention.  Training & Development. Termination.  Each of those challenges are expensive, time consuming but extremely valuable.  What is a SMB owner to do?  In the first installment of MOOCs and the SMB: Are MOOCs the Answer? we looked at determining your target audience and recruitment.  Today we will explore Retention and T&D.  

Retention

So you’ve hired a Gen Y worker – now how can you keep them? When Software Advice studied a sample of job applications from 2013 asking the question “What is most important to you in a job”, the top 4 things were:

  1. Salary and Benefits (34%)
  2. Culture and Atmosphere (31%)
  3. Fulfillment and Satisfaction (30%)
  4. Growth and Development (25%)

A SMB is in an ideal position to provide any and all of these top 4 requests.  Cultural misalignment was found to be a top reason why Gen Ys leave a company.

Gen Ys want consistent and ongoing training.  When respondents were asked if they would participate in an employer offered professional development training via a free MOOC, almost 75% of 18-24 year olds and approximately 60% of 24-34 year olds said Yes!

If your employer offered professional development training via a free MOOC, would you participate?

If your employer offered professional development training via a free MOOC, would you participate?

 

It is interesting to note that about 58% of respondents (18-24) and over 50% of respondents (25-34) said that they would be more likely to stay with an employer if they offered professional development training via a free MOOC.

Gen Y wants table

Considering that Gen Yers will leave a job if the things that are important to them are not meant – and studies have found that many will move on –  at a significant cost to your business, it is in your own best interest to provide great reasons to stay.  A survey conducted by Millenial Branding and beyond.com found that “87% of companies said it cost $15,000 to $25,000 to replace a departed millennial employee”. That’s a lot of money – of your money and potential profits!

Training and Development

T&D is a part of any good HR plan.  It’s a necessary expense for a business to grow and prosper.  Training must be of high quality and employees must see the value in it.  Technology changes quickly and training needs to keep up with those changes.  MOOCs can provide an opportunity to train your team at a lower cost.

 “CEO says to CFO we need to spend money training our staff.  CFO say what if we spend the money and they leave?CEO says what if we don’t spend it and they stay?” (Author Unknown)

Keeping your team trained and up to date will make them happier and more productive.  Employees who feel like a company invests in them  - especially if they are cross trained for other positions – are generally more efficient, feel more confident and find their jobs more interesting.

By finding the right MOOCs for your business, you can train multiple employees on any number of things – from programming to social media, from proper business communication to marketing and anything else you can think of! Best of all – if there isn’t a MOOC for it today, there could be tomorrow! “Many of the courses that are currently available online through sites like Coursera or edX are theory based academic-style classes. While these are useful for users seeking general knowledge about featured topics, these type of theory based courses are
probably not the best fit for SMBs. However, these sites also often feature skills-based courses that focus on a specific business objective, which would be more useful for SMBs,” explains Erin Osterhaus, HR Researcher at Software Advice.

As more Universities come on board, the number of quality MOOCs are growing.  More training and development groups who would typically have come into your business and trained on Time Management or Selling Techniques are now developing MOOCs to be used and referred to at anytime.  These groups will customize a Learning Management System (LMS) to suit your needs for a large scale training plan or build a single course. Developing an LMS gives you the power to assign classes to specific individuals, see their progress and give you or the instructor a chance to create a dialogue with course participants through forums and chat rooms.

Coming up in our last article on MOOCs and the SMB: Are MOOCs the answer for the SMB? we will be looking at Termination and the use of MOOCs in a PIP to improve an underperforming employee.  

 

MOOCs and the SMB: Are MOOCs the answer for the SMB? Part One

comic

MOOC

Pronunciation: /mo͞ok/ NOUN
  • A course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people:anyone who decides to take a MOOC simply logs on to the website and signs up

SMBs can face many challenges.  Creating business plans. Entering the world of Social Media.  Actually leaving work at the end of the business day.

Often times, those challenges are HR based.  Recruitment.  Retention.  Training & Development. Termination.  Each of those challenges are expensive, time consuming but extremely valuable.  What is a SMB owner to do?  We will be reviewing each of these challenges over the next week in this series on MOOCs and the SMB: Are MOOCs the Answer?

Determine your Target Audience

One key element for success would be identifying your target group of potential employees.  Are your available positions internships or entry level?  Are you a start up company?  Do you need employees with the most up to date education and training?  If so, you are looking for a Gen Y worker.  Which is great – because they are looking for you!

Most of Gen Y isn’t working for large companies. The highest concentration of Gen Y workers are at small companies with less than 100 employees (47%), followed by medium companies that have between 100 and no more than 1,500 employees (30%), and the fewest work in large companies with more than 1,500 employees (23%). “ (Payscale and Millennial Branding, 2012)

Various studies have shown that Gen Ys want to work for SMBs as a way to be a part of something.  They want to belong and make a difference.  You want them to belong and make a difference.  They want a challenge.  You have opportunities galore! So…how do you make the match?

Recruitment

When you are recruiting for an available position, clearly define the job and the benefits.  Benefits do not have to be expensive – casual dress, flexible schedules, staff social events or opportunities for training and development.  According to Software Advice, their study of 1,500 job seekers showed that over 50% of 18-24 year olds said access to MOOCs for professional development and training would positively impact their decision to apply at a company.

“I had my suspicions that younger workers might be more receptive to the use of MOOCs in the workplace, so this study more or less confirmed those suspicions,” says Erin Osterhaus, HR Researcher at Software Advice.  “Given the results of the survey, I think MOOCs present employers with an excellent and inexpensive opportunity to incentivize workers—younger workers especially—to apply to their companies in the first place. Employers seeking to leverage MOOCs in the recruitment process should be sure to emphasize access to these sorts of training materials on all their recruiting collateral, e.g. listing access to MOOCs as a perk offered by the company on their careers page, as well as within each and every individual job listing,”

As a job seeker, if a company offered professional development training via a free Massive Open Online Course, would you be more likely to apply?

As a job seeker, if a company offered professional development training via a free Massive Open Online Course, would you be more likely to apply?

Given that MOOCs, by definition are free (or at least low cost), providing opportunities on the clock for your employees to improve and update their skillset makes a lot of sense.  It’s a great ROI – Low Cost and High Return.  Imagine training an employee about Ruby on Rails for $0-$200 (not including their hourly rate) online in MOOCs or paying $900-$2000 for the same type of training in a classroom – which may also involve travel, hotel and meal expenses (costs not included).  For a budget conscious SMB, MOOCs could provide a great alternative to traditional, expensive training options.

When recruiting the best and brightest young minds available, it is in the SMBs best interest to advertise that they offer opportunities for T&D – and to consider MOOCs as a viable form of development.

Watch for our next article in the series which will cover retention and T&D – can MOOCs help you provide the necessary training to keep your staff up to date and satisfied?