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Why should L&D strategy include off-the-shelf programs?

While it is great to have custom programs designed for your company, off-the-shelf programs can also be a great resource for your L&D strategy. Off-the-shelf programs are often less expensive and can be easier to implement than custom programs. They also provide a wider variety of training options and can be updated more easily than custom programs.

In this article, we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of off-the-shelf programs and how they can be used to support your L&D strategy.

Advantages of Off-The-Shelf Programs

  • Less Expensive: Off-the-shelf programs are often less expensive than custom programs. This is because they are not specifically designed for your company and do not require the same level of customization.
  • Easier to Implement: Off-the-shelf programs can be easier to implement than custom programs. This is because they are already designed and ready to use. 
  • Wider Variety of Training Options: Off-the-shelf programs often provide a wider variety of training options than custom programs. This is because they are not specific to your company and can be used by a wider range of businesses.

Disadvantages of Off-The-Shelf Programs

  1. One size does not fit all: The main disadvantage of off-the-shelf programs is that they are not specifically designed for your company. This means that they may not meet the specific needs of your business.
  2. Not Customizable: Off-the-shelf programs are also not customizable. This means that you cannot tailor the program to meet the specific needs of your company.
  3. Out of Date: Off-the-shelf programs may be out of date. This means that they may not reflect the latest learning and developments in the industry.

Selecting the right off-the-shelf programs

When selecting an off-the-shelf program, it is important to consider the needs of your company and the learning objectives of your employees. There are many different types of off-the-shelf programs available, so it is important to select one that will fit the needs of your company and employees.

Here are some tips to select an off-the-shelf program:

  1. L&D Objectives: Identify the learning objectives of your employees. What do they need to learn to be successful in their roles? Once you have identified the learning objectives, you can narrow down the selection of off-the-shelf programs.
  1. Company Needs: Consider the needs of your company. What are the specific training needs of your business? Once you have identified the needs of your company, you can narrow down the selection of off-the-shelf programs.
  1. Type of program:  Consider the type of program that is best suited for your company. There are many different types of off-the-shelf programs available, like e-learning courses, webinars, and videos. Select the type of program that will best meet the needs of your company.
  1. Budget: Consider the budget for the program. Off-the-shelf programs can vary in price, so it is important to select one that fits your budget.
  1. Implementation: Consider the implementation process for the program. How easy is it to implement the program? Is there a lot of customization involved?
  1. Reviews: Read reviews of off-the-shelf programs before selecting one. This will help you to get an idea of what the program is like and whether it is a good fit for your company.

Basic and Common Skills.

Off-the-shelf programs are most useful if the organisation wants to target a large group of employees for training on basic and common skills. These programs can provide a cost-effective way to train employees without having to spend the time and resources to develop a custom program.

Here are some areas where off-the-shelf programs can be very effective.

Compliance Training. 

Off-the-shelf programs can also be used for compliance training. This is because they are often designed to meet the specific requirements of a particular industry. For example, many off-the-shelf programs are designed to meet the compliance requirements of the healthcare industry.

Diversity Training. 

Off-the-shelf programs can also be used for diversity training. Since achieving diversity in the workforce is a common objective across many industries, off-the-shelf programs can be a great way to achieve this goal.

Health and Safety Training. 

Off-the-shelf programs are also ideal for health and safety training. This is because they often include modules on how to stay safe in the workplace.

Computer Skills Training. 

Unless the employee is required to learn specific software skills, basic computer skills can be learned from an off-the-shelf program. These programs often include modules on how to use common software applications, such as Microsoft Office.

Communication Skills Training.

Communication skills are another area where off-the-shelf programs can be very effective. These programs often include modules on topics such as active listening, nonverbal communication, and conflict resolution. Irrespective of the industry, these skills are essential for success in the workplace.

Of course, there are many more areas where off-the-shelf programs can be effective. The important thing is to identify the specific needs of your company and employees before selecting a program.

Integrating off-the-shelf programs in L&D.

It is important to have both customised and off-the-shelf programs in your L&D strategy. A well-planned L&D strategy will always have an off-the-shelf counterpart that can be used to supplement the training. Organisations should consider how off-the-shelf programs will be integrated with the organisation’s overall learning and development strategy.

There are a few things to keep in mind when integrating off-the-shelf programs:

1. Define the objectives: What are the goals of the organisation? What does the organisation want to achieve with the off-the-shelf program?

2. Align with business strategy:  How does the off-the-shelf program align with the business strategy? Does the program support the overall goals of the organisation?

3. LMS/LXP Compliance: Will the off-the-shelf program be compatible with the organisation’s Learning Management System (LMS) or Learning Experience Platform (LXP)?

4. Measuring success:  How will the organisation know if the off-the-shelf program is successful? What are the key performance indicators?

5. Evaluate and modify: The organisation should regularly evaluate the off-the-shelf program to make sure that it is still meeting the needs of the employees and the business. If not, the organisation should modify or replace the program.

By following these tips, organisations can successfully integrate off-the-shelf programs into their L&D strategy.

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