The Pros & Cons of Online Leadership Training

Whether you aim to improve communication or critical decision-making skills, an investment in leadership development helps companies reach their short and long-term goals; but is this type of training right for you and your team?

Understandably, every company needs to adhere to their budgets when it comes to implementing any form of training. In-person training vs online training – both have their pros and cons and a full evaluation is necessary in order to find the best solution for your workplace. If cost-effectiveness is a concern for you, it is important to note IBM saved approximately $200 million after switching to e-learning.

A Better Leader offers online leadership training for your workplace that focuses on building employee trust, improving morale, maintaining engagement, and even developing your leaders’ coaching skills. Of course, we understand that online leadership training isn’t always the best choice for every company. So today, we’ll focus on both the pros and cons of online leadership training specifically. We want to give you a clear understanding of whether or not it will benefit you and your workplace.

Online Leadership Training: A Closer Look at the Pros and Cons

As stated by Gallup, managers, who are often workplace leaders, profoundly influence their teams. Accounting for approximately 70% of the variance regarding team engagement, a manager’s experience with the company they work for can significantly impact the entire workplace and, in turn, workflow.

Before you invest in a training program like online leadership development, it’s important to weigh the associated pros and cons.

The Pros of Online Leadership Training

The concept of optimal leadership is a complex topic. However, there are many advantages associated with online training — especially for those who can not physically travel to off-site workshops.

Cost-Effective, Flexible Training for the Entire Team

Some of the benefits of online leadership training revolve around the ease of access to this kind of coaching. First, since it takes place online, there’s no travel involved. This means your company does not have to spend thousands of dollars on plane tickets, hotel rooms, and food for employees, nor are you restricted to training sessions within driving distance. When the courses take place online, you have a lot more options, even when you’re on a budget.

There’s also the fact that online leadership training saves a lot of time. When your employees take courses online instead of traveling for in-person training, they don’t have to take days off work. The result is that your company does not have to deal with less productivity while your employees are training.

In fact, with most online leadership training courses, participants can typically learn while on the go. Thanks to smartphones and tablets, they can watch or read while they’re at home, waiting in line, or taking public transportation to work. And of course, you can set up times for your employees to train while during the workday. Taking the time to do that ahead of time will be much easier than coordinating everyone’s schedule so they can all take a class that meets a particular time and place.

Improve Productivity

One of the best benefits of online leadership training is the ability to boost your team’s productivity. An online training program can be utilized from anywhere. This helps your team actively participate whenever they please. Smart devices allow employees to access videos and resources on the go, such as when they’re riding the train or during lunch. 

Additionally, when employees are well-trained and knowledgeable about their role at your company, they will get more work done daily. Their confidence and increased productivity at work can inspire the rest of the team to get more done, as well.

In fact, a Manchester Consulting Group study found that extra employee training led to an ROI of nearly six times the cost of the training program. Additionally, there was a 67 percent increase in teamwork and a 48 percent increase in quality. If you knew there was a chance to achieve this kind of measurable improvement merely through leadership training, then it makes sense to sign up your employees so they can get on the path to better productivity as soon as possible!

Boost Employee Engagement

After all, providing employees with the information they need to be more effective at work can be motivating and make their job easier on them in the long run. Good employees are always looking for ways to learn more and keep growing. Those who don’t have the chance to continue to grow through ongoing training will feel they’re stagnating and not living up to their potential, causing them to be unhappy at work. Leadership training will provide them with the tools they need to keep improving in the workplace.

Another reason to consider online leadership training is to increase employee engagement. When your employees recognize that you are investing in their development as leaders, they feel appreciated. Additionally, they are more motivated to grow with the company and understand their role in that growth. Increasing engagement leads to your employees feeling valued in the workplace and being more passionate about what they do. One study discovered that 79 percent of employees who quit their job said “lack of appreciation” was why they left. Engaged employees feel appreciated and proud of their work every day, so they’re more committed to the company. It makes sense that leadership training would lead to this result.

If you’re not sure why better employee engagement is a significant advantage, note that employees who feel engaged in their workplace can outperform those who don’t by about 202 percent! That means increasing employee engagement not only leads to happier employees in the workplace, but it also translates to the overall success of your company.

Keep Your Current Employees

E-Learning retention rates were found to be around 25-60%, as opposed to face-to-face learning at around 8-10%. Additionally, if you want to reduce the risk of your employees leaving their job due to ineffective bosses, online leadership training may just be your missing link. Developing your employees and leaders with training should not be considered a “benefit” to your employees. It should be considered a critical element to their position in the workforce. 

Furthermore, the same 2018 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report that found the above, shared #1 struggle for talent development — their employees can’t find the time for it. If this rings true in your workplace, online leadership training could be that form of training for employees who crave career development but need the flexibility to complete it at their own pace.

Focusing on retaining employees—rather than losing them and having to recruit more—can save you a lot of money. One report found that replacing one employee can cost a company 33 percent of that employee’s yearly salary! Ultimately, it makes the most sense to try to hold on to your current employees. Increase their leadership skills with the right training, so you can provide them with the support they need!

Cons of Online Leadership Training

Although there are many clear benefits associated with online leadership training, it’s essential to understand what potential negatives may arise. That way, you can be more mindful of what you need and what programs fit those needs.

Some of the cons associated with online leadership training programs you may want to consider include the following:

  • A lack of immediate clarification between the employee and those teaching the course. This can potentially cause slight learning delays when aiming to understand new and challenging leadership skills. To remedy this, create and implement a system that encourages real-time feedback.
  • Concerns over tracking employee completion. Unlike in-person training, where participants are physically in attendance, online programs require employees to work through modules on their own. You’ll want to select a program that includes some level of compliance reporting so that you can better understand which leaders have completed their training.
  • You may not achieve the level of customization you desire based on your specific industry. This one-size-fits-all approach is often impractical, focusing more on theory than real-world advice. That is why you’ll want to select an online course that is immediately actionable.

Is Online Leadership Training Right for Your Team?

Unfortunately, many companies invest in leadership training but do not see a return on that investment. This can be frustrating. However, if you take a proactive approach, understanding why these companies do not see results, you can significantly benefit. Understandably, online leadership training may not be the most beneficial for your workplace. Your team may benefit more from in-person training or a seminar.

If online leadership training seems like the right fit for you, you’ll want to select a program that covers all the bases and diversifies your employees’ leadership skills. For example, A Better Leader allows organizations to help the leaders in their workplace encourage motivation, inspire productivity, and maintain engagement, focusing on four core areas — Support, Motivate, Improve, and Connect.

When you and your team have access to such a wide variety of topics and courses, you can ensure that all aspects of leadership training are covered, leading to a trickle-down effect throughout your workplace environment.

If your workplace needs to create behavioral change at a cultural level, let A Better Leader navigate your next steps.

About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

With over 25 years in the industry, and now as IRI's Director of Business Development, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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