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



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.


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 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