How Knowledge Management Systems Reduce Training Costs

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Jon Hill
4 mins
training leader in front of team is able to reduce training costs

Training new employees isn’t cheap. According to data from Training Industry Magazine, global spending on employee training surpassed $370 billion in 2019, and the average training investment per learner was $1,286. And that doesn’t include the lingering loss in productivity as employees struggle through learning curves and work to master new tools and processes.

It can take a long time before even a highly qualified hire becomes proficient in their role. Meanwhile, although many business leaders are hyper-focused on their bottom line and constantly seeking opportunities to save money and boost efficiencies, few opt to reduce training costs or shorten those timelines. After all, you don’t want to jeopardize your new employees’ ability to help your organization drive success.

Luckily, there’s a way to reduce training costs while simultaneously improving (and speeding up) employee training outcomes—and it all lies in the power of your knowledge management (KM) system.

We’re delving into exactly how you can leverage your KM solution to save money and help new hires adjust more effectively.

Speedy and Effective Onboarding

Training will help new employees understand your internal processes, procedures, and how to use various technologies and equipment, but thorough onboarding helps them assimilate into your organization’s culture. It’s also slightly more ambiguous and time-consuming—which is why lots of companies drop the ball.

Unfortunately, without proper onboarding, employees can feel like outsiders long into their tenure with the company. Inevitably, the lack of assimilation can make them less satisfied, less engaged, and less productive. If you’re not careful to catch this misstep, poor onboarding can push your new hires straight out the door.

Knowledge management helps prevent this outcome by creating a more cohesive, accessible, and faster onboarding experience. Here’s how:

 It allows you to organize information.

A KM platform helps you organize and document the onboarding process, so you know you’re not missing anything critical—like partnering with IT to make sure a new employee’s laptop and logins are ready before their first day. This way, your new hire doesn’t have to waste time tracking down tools and information and can instead dedicate themselves to getting to know your business.

 It ensures a warm welcome.

A great KM system also helps keep everyone in the loop so a new hire’s team knows exactly when they’re starting, how the department plans to welcome them, and what they can do to make the transition easier. This way, new employees will feel acknowledged and accepted from day one.

It facilitates capturing and sharing essential knowledge.

Veteran employees are a wellspring of helpful information, but they often take that knowledge with them when they leave. A KM platform allows you to record vital information, so it’s available to new hires immediately. It’s a way for them to stand on the shoulders of giants—even if those giants have moved on.

Training Available Anywhere at Any Time

Onboarding and training programs often overload new hires with more information than they can retain. This can create issues—especially when employees aren’t sure where to find the information they missed or forgot.

Additionally, it can be expensive and time-intensive to bring all employees to one central location for a meeting. And even if you host the training virtually, it can consume a lot of resources.

A KM platform solves both of these challenges by offering training on-demand. Instead of repeating the same information over and over (and over) to each new hire, you can create videos and documents with all the material they need so employees can learn at their own pace and revisit information when they need a refresher.

Not only does this help ensure new hires aren’t missing essential details, but it also helps cut down on time hiring managers and other leaders have to spend bringing employees up to speed. This will reduce training costs and headaches (for everyone involved).

Reduced Demand on Subject Matter Experts

Similarly, having information available to new hires to access at any time and from any place also alleviates the burden on subject matter experts. In many cases, SMEs are some of the busiest and most in-demand members of your organization. While it’s crucial they impart their wisdom and expertise on new team members, spending time with each hire on an individual basis can pull them away from other duties.

But if you’re leveraging a knowledge management solution, you can capture their knowledge and make it available for new hires to peruse at their discretion. This way, SMEs have more time to focus on their core responsibilities, and your new employees don’t have to chase them down each time they have a question.

Fewer Mistakes

To err is human—and there’s not a person among us who hasn’t made at least one minor mistake at work. But while missteps happen, it’s important to learn from them and strive to make sure they don’t happen again.

With a KM platform, new hires will not only learn from their own mistakes, but they can learn from other employee’s blunders too. By creating step-by-step how-tos, tutorials, and valuable lists of do’s and don’ts, you can curtail mistakes and help new hires feel more empowered in their roles. This extra layer of support will cultivate better habits and reduce the number of productivity-threatening (and expensive) mistakes employees make while learning the ropes.

More Satisfied Employees

According to data from Jobvite, about 30% of job seekers leave a job within 90 days of starting, citing unmet expectations, bad experiences, and company culture as their top reasons. To make this even more painful, the cost of replacing an employee can be as much as twice that employee’s annual salary, according to data shared by Gallup. So to replace an employee who makes $50,000, you could end up spending $100,000—only to turn around and spend even more if that new hire also leaves.

While you can’t stop turnover entirely, better onboarding and training efforts can reduce the number of new people walking away—which, in turn, will help reduce training costs and recruiting expenses. And giving people all the knowledge and support they need from the beginning can mitigate the issues that drive new (and old) hires to quit.

As it turns out, many of the challenges driving up the cost of onboarding new team members are entirely solvable with the right tech. Investing in a knowledge management platform is one of the best things you can do to reduce training costs, improve the new hire experience, and help all employees thrive.

July 7, 2021

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