Cash Accounts for Employee Training

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A great way to give employees more autonomy and choice in their

own development is by providing individual learning accounts that

provide employees with a set amount of training dollars they may

spend per year from among a menu of company-sponsored training,

including a course or two for pure self-enrichment.

The Horn Group, a public relations firm based in San Francisco,

offers employees cash that they are free to spend on any type of training

they feel would help them do their jobs better. Employees use

the training dollars—called ‘‘a personal development fund’’—to take

courses in time management, writing, and many other subjects.23

cording to competencies needed by the employee. One survey indicated

that up to two-thirds of companies planned to increase their investments

in Web self-service between 2002 and 2005.22

Media such as CD-ROM, computer discs, videotapes, audiotapes, or

textbooks have become popular means of delivering course content. Another

effective practice is creating intranet-driven, knowledge-sharing networks

where employees can ask and answer each other’s questions via email,

bulletin boards, or in real time.

Many companies offer ‘‘soft-skills’’ training—in communication, giving

feedback, and negotiation—to technical staff. Such training is typically

offered in classes where new skills can be tried out in face-to-face situations.

Most companies now reimburse tuition for college courses completed

onsite or through e-learning. Reimbursement policies usually require that

course work relate in some way to an employee’s current position or a

foreseeable one.

Larger organizations often have internal corporate academies or universities,

such as the one at Seagate Technology, which, in addition to

formal training sessions, offers site tours, job shadowing, and team-building

sessions at several locations. TrumanMedical Center in Kansas City features

a cyber cafe´, which offers employees computer access and training. As an

incentive, for every course an employee completes, Truman also gives

‘‘learning points’ that can add up to paid time-off.

Smaller companies make the most of resources by having employees

who attend industry conferences take detailed notes and make presentations

to employees who could not attend. Others may start informal ‘‘brown-