Following massive lay-offs in Belgium this September, politicians debate the need and the support for innovation.
All political parties seem to agree on one thing: the government needs to invest in and support the employee. Training employees is one of the topics. And training should not only be offered to employees that have already been laid-off, but well before such thing happens.
The politicians then came up with this remarkable suggestion: “let’s create a law providing the right to each employee to take 5 training days per year”. Spare the obvious costs increase for the employer and the debate if governments should impose such things in the first place; it is worth reflecting on the proposal.
Allowing employees to take some training days to help them become better at what they do or soliciting for better (internal) jobs, feels like an innovating idea. But 5 days per employee per year is too little to learn a new job or a new language and too much if not specific and tailored enough to the exact need of the employee.
Who has not been bored yet by the generic 3-day Excel or Word classroom training that you strongly believe could have lasted 4 hours for equal value? Alternatively, e-learning en e-training, despite their growing success, have their limitations as few are those who like to be housebound after hours in front of their computer waiting for the specific info they require.
This question kept me busy for a while. I dislike reading manuals, hate to waste my time in classrooms and have no patience watching a video hoping that ‘what I need’ will pop up soon. Google is a good friend but I can barely name it a trainer.
The Walloon government (a regional Belgian government body) asked me to screen a startup and eventually give them some coaching. The innovative concept brought by this young company is that knowledge, skills and experiences that you typically need are often available in your own company. But you do not see them, as they are not easily approachable, if ever you can find them.
Say you are an employee and you want to become better in something. Or you just need some advice or a short training on a topic. Just type your question in something that looks like Google and there is a 90% chance you will get an answer within the hour from one of your colleagues. No need to know that colleague or where she works, and yet, your request, maybe even a short training, is delivered to you for €0.00 ($0.00). Because next to learning, a lot of people love helping or teaching too. Companies are stuffed with skills that are underused. Helping someone is fulfilling. Having talents joined is feeding ground for innovation.
It is clear that no employer wants his company to turn into a school. Similar to the politician’s proposal of limiting training time (to 5 days), the app allows you to do the same.
The request for more training is interesting but it would be a shame to limit the offer to classroom training only. Alternatives, such as provided by the startup I analyzed, are based on crowd-sourcing and are tested by a large bank and a telco operator as we speak. First results are positive and prove that specific, tuned advice and training, given at the right moment, by a colleague, outperforms classical training by far and represents a fraction of the cost for the employer.
Would you like to know how the benefits of such a platform and how it could be deployed in your company? contact us.