4 min read

Are You a Training Department of One?

By Kathy Irish on Feb 21, 2019 2:46:33 PM

ej4 Blog - Are You a Training Department of One?

Or two, three, or four? How can you possibly create 100% of the training you need for all of your employees? Whether you have 30 employees or 300, one person can’t do it all. You can check the box and handle the training to keep your company from being sued. But what about the soft skills gap we keep reading about with the labor shortage?

I’ve been there. In my previous life as a corporate trainer, I loved creating training. I loved researching the topics and writing the content. As an instructional designer, I could use my expertise but also flex my creative muscles to make the classes fun and engaging. I loved designing the slides.

I am an expert in PowerPoint but I don’t have a four-year fine arts degree. I don’t know Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator. My slides looked pretty good but not quite what a professional designer could create. I thought my movie screen-grabs were cool but I would never show them to my team of ej4 designers. I couldn’t handle the laughter!

I loved being an instructor. Each class had its own personality and energy. I could repeat my corny jokes and they always got a laugh! But after a few classes when my content and jokes were perfected, I had to wonder “now what?” The drudgery of the repetition was exhausting and demotivating. After a while, I felt like I was going through the motions and the audience was there simply because it was required. In one position, our budget was cut and I could only deliver the same six programs over and over.

I recognize that in today’s world there are so many priorities fighting for the trainer’s time, it is impossible to create 100% of your training in-house. I also believe a blended-learning environment makes the most sense to leverage the best of instructor-led training created in-house along with off-the-shelf content from an eLearning provider (like ej4!).

A Few Scenarios for Off-The-Shelf Training Content:


Fire Extinguisher Safety

Are your fire extinguishers any different from ours? Why would you need to create your own safety course on fire extinguishers? Use our course and then use our authoring tool to tell your employees where they are located and what your policy is on calling 911, building security codes, etc. Just having fire extinguishers on the walls in your kitchens and warehouses isn’t enough.

Supervisory Training

A staff employee gets promoted to supervisor and needs training? Do you or another supervisor have time to train them one on one? They don’t have time to wait six months when the new manager class is scheduled. How quickly can you create a course about going from co-worker to boss? What if they are supervising remote employees? Do you have any courses with advice for this situation?

Customer Service

Management roles out a new strategic plan to create a culture with a focus on exceptional customer service. This is a big deal to the company! How you deliver customer service in the call center is probably different than how you deliver it on the store floor. And what about the team in shipping and fulfillment?

Unique Employee Situations

  • IT comes to you with an urgent plan for cybersecurity training for all employees after a system breach. At the same time, they need to train everyone on a new enterprise system.
  • An employee is going out on FMLA to care for a spouse and they need to prepare for leave. What do they need to do? How can they prepare to ensure coworkers and customers are up-to-speed and not left in a lurch.
  • A new mother returns to work after maternity leave, how do you help her prepare to pump at work?
  • What training can you provide to a workgroup when a member of the team loses a loved one?
  • A manager comes to you with concerns about a team member with needle marks on their arms and frequent bouts of slurred speech and drowsiness. Could training on the opioid epidemic be applicable? How long will that take you to create?

These are very specific examples of courses that a third party eLearning provider can offer but are nearly impossible for a small training department to cover, let alone cover just in time when employees really need the training. Trainers are naturally empathetic to the needs of their employees. It can be disheartening and demotivating to tell employees you can’t support them. Or to just Google it.

You are a rock star trainer. And I know you want to do it all, you want to help your employee succeed, but you just can’t get it all done. And that is ok. Just consider some learning partners. There are so many choices out there. We offer several handy checklists and resources.

We offer courses on all of the scenarios mentioned above. You can view our full library in a free trial of Thinkzoom, our learning management system.

Kathy Irish

Written by Kathy Irish

Kathy joined ej4 in 2007 as our first Instructional Designer. She has over 15 years’ experience in Human Resource Management, Training and Organizational Development. In addition to managing and planning ej4’s yearly new content development, Kathy also oversees all the production on updates (both legal and style-wise) to current off-the-shelf content.

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