Human Resources, Training

Training as a Voluntary Benefit? Hmmmmm

Whose job is it to pay for training? We have always assumed the employer will develop staff and encourage them to grow professionally by supplying training. But, is that true today? Was it ever really true at all? Is this assumption even fair? businessman showing Try new things words underneath his shirt
Employers are required to provide and fund mandatory training for their workers. OSHA, HIPAA, Sexual Harassment are just a few examples of training that may be considered mandatory in your organization. But, how about other training like:

-Digital skills training
-Software tutorials
-Online applications
-Problem solving
-Stress management
-Speaking with empathy
-Networking and Partnering in the workplace

There are so many more I could list. These topics clearly benefit an employer when the workers apply what they learn at work. They benefit the worker when applied to a resume. Advancement into a new position may depend on understanding how to manage Mail Chimp. Developing the mind-set of “they will teach me” is archaic and dangerous in this develpong world of multi-generational co-workers who may understand the most confusing digital application by age 10.

So, what is the solution. How can employers encourge professional development without breaking the bank?

Training as a Voluntary Benefit

Let’s say the employer has 75 workers and would like to offer training, but just can’t afford to go all out when many of the workers may not even participate. Here are a few steps this employer can take to get the job done.

1. Research solid Learning Managment companies with a wide range of training resources
2. Negotiate a group rate based on the number of expected enrollments
3. Offer this professional development training as a new voluntary benefit. (like you do ALFAC)
4. Work to build a culture of encouragement in your organization.
5. Offer incentives to workers who participate – Get Creative!
6. Pump up your achievers and let them help you rally support
7. Negotiate a ‘family member also” to allow workers to get this training price for college kids, tweens, teens and even younger homeschooled children. BONUS!

Employee Participation

Employees will love this idea and see the immediate value. Others may balk using old-school logic that it is not up to them to be sure they are successful. Here are a few tips to increase buy-in:

1. Promote life-long learning and discuss employee advancement considerations
2. Never be coercive with your language. Just be honest and clear about your goals as an employer
3. Offer to do a payroll deduction like you would for AFLAC
4. Reassure employees that all mandatory training is still paid for and on-the-clock
5. Explain this is a benefit you hope they use to grow and stay. But, you understand the possibility you may lose those who advance to the point of qualifying for new opportunities.
6. Provide incentives for those who participate. But, not penalties for those who opt out.

Employee’s Cost

Let’s just say you negotiate a price for 50 of your 75 employees who wish to opt-in. Maybe you get $120 per year per worker. That would be about 66% off the average pricing. The employee would use a voluntary payroll deduction and about $5 per payday would come out. Very affordable! (People pay more than that to play in weight loss / wellness contests employers sponsor.)

Maybe you supplement the benefit. Now, we are talking an even better deal for getting buy-in and you are demonstrating your committment to making this work.

One final twist!

Perhaps you negotiate the training with a non-profit that offers training as a benefit of membership. Now, all employee payments become ‘donations’ and they are members. The training is one of several benefits they receive as members. Now, the total paid to the non-profit is a deduction at tax time, as it is a charitable donation.

Where will you find such an amazing opportunity with a non-profit? Andere Foundation. They supply training to victims and Survivors of domestic violence. When you take advantage of employer discounts, you are also winning and helping those who really need a hand to pull away from an abuser and self-support themselves and their children. Andere Academy contains more than 6000 videos, tutorials, and courses that can be accessed on-demand 24/7. Employers, managers and all other employees will benefit from this wide variety of professional development opportunities.

Andere has no religious mission. So, workers will not fear their money is going to a cause or belief system they do not support. The mission is simple. Educate / Empower / Elevate. Stop future generations from growing up in abusive homes and help the spouse or partner who needs education to move forward.

OK! Let’s do it.

Great. Make your plan. Have your discussions. Choose your provider. Negotiate your fees. Bam! Contact Andere Foundation for information about how they can help you. OR, use these tips and go out there and create an amazing well-trained workforce with a Win-Win attitude!

Lisa Smith
Executive Director, Andere Foundation


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Lisa Smith is CEO of Andere Seminars, LLC and Chief Content Developer at BeAuditSecure.com. Follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, listen to her Small Business Spoonfuls Podcast, and find more from her in Audit-Secure Authority at BeAuditSecure.com.

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