ThinkHR, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based human resources (HR) and workplace compliance specialist, is taking a cloud-based approach to employee training.
The company's latest offering, called ThinkHR Learn, gives small business an affordable way to train employees without having human resource experts on staff or without forking over tidy sums on seminars and on-site classes. ThinkHR Learn consists of more than 300 educational courses, ranging from OSHA requirements to sexual harassment, and hundreds of areas in between, all delivered over the Internet.
During an online demonstration, company executives showed how you can quickly log in and complete courses in bite-sized chunks using the service's clean, user-friendly interface. Administrators, in turn, can track their employees' progress and generate reports.
Affordable Human Resources Training in the Cloud
All told, the small business human resources site provides unlimited access to quick, responsive and easy-to-digest learning experiences. Managers gain visibility into their employees' training, along with notifications on when they have earned their certificates. ThinkHR Learns costs $3 per employee per month. Check the site's pricing page for details.
And the lessons stick, according to Dan Riordan, ThinkHR president and COO. Employees truly "learn by doing courses," he said. According to the company research, employees' achieve 90 percent retention after completing their courses.
The company's Founder and CEO, Peter Yozzo, calls ThinkHR Learn an "employee-enablement platform." Apart from subjects like ethics, workplace diversity, discrimination and substance abuse, the product offers career-building resources. Topics include, project management, running effective meetings and motivating employees, among others.
"We provide the ability to quickly make an organization better," said ThinkHR's Michael Wood, vice president of product development.
ThinkHR Learn furthers the company's vision, which is to "make companies more productive and to make HR people more efficient," said Yozzo. "We find ways to help empower HR people to build better companies."
One of those ways is to break down the barriers to employee training for small businesses.
Training options are particularly limited for startups and small businesses that simply don't have the money, according to Wood. As a consequence, they can be flirting with disaster.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), $44.6 million was paid out in sexual harassment charges filed with the agency during 2013—not including lawsuits. Large businesses usually have the financial resources to settle such matters, but the typical storefront or mom-and-pop could end up buried in the legal fees alone.
Don't forget the harm experienced by targets of sexual harassment, and its disruptive effects on family, friends and colleagues. A little guidance in such matters goes a long way.
Encouragingly, small business owners understand the need for human resources training, but their hands are often tied. Wood said smaller organizations realize the value of well-trained workers, but they lack the funds, time and HR expertise to supply the required instruction. "They want to provide specific training, but they have time budgets and money budgets," said Wood.
His company's solution, "an easy-to-use system that allows an employee to come in and train quickly," he said. Plus the courses, designed by the company's in-house HR specialists, aren't the workplace equivalent of moldy old videos that health class teachers play for their students.
According to Yozzo, the company fields more than 50,000 calls each year on its hotline from businesses seeking answers related to HR and workplace compliance matters. That number balloons to 150,000 if you take emails and self-help into account. Those real-world inquiries are helping to shape ThinkHR Learn.
ThinkHR blends real-world data and market intelligence to structure the course work and e-learning platform. "We know what people need. We can create the courses," said Yozzo.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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