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“Eduson Helped Us to Increase Our Employees’ Loyalty”

How can e-learning help companies during the economic crisis? Svetlana Kosyakova, the Head of Staff Evaluation and Development Department at Mechel, a company with more than 70,000 employees, told about how training is arranged in their company.

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Who Is Taught and How at Mechel?

Mechel was founded in 2003, and it is one of the leading global companies in the mining and metallurgy industry. The company with annual revenue amounted to $6.4 billion (2014) has manufacturing industries in Russia, Lithuania and Ukraine. In total, the company has 70,000 employees working for it.

The majority of the staff are production workers, and they are the ones who receive the most training; they must undergo training and learn materials on occupational health and technical safety, and they are trained in core areas to boost their qualifications.

We do not fully use all the benefits that distance learning can offer. Separate elements of this teaching are used in several Group enterprises, but we have achieved our first experience of focused and mass e-learning only with Eduson.

Why Eduson?

When we first started using Eduson we decided a few things.

First, we wanted to try and evaluate how to become accustomed to the online format in general, and whether people would or wouldn’t learn with it, who responded and which courses on which topics they would select.

Second, we wanted to understand the risks and technical problems involved when using distance learning, so that we would know what to provide for in future.

Third, we planned to use this training as an additional way of motivating and increasing loyalty amongst the staff. During times of crisis, the issue of maintaining the staff always becomes serious. It is important to somehow support and motivate your staff, and we did this by giving them excellent opportunities to receive new knowledge and add to their qualifications.

We were left with good results. Despite their unfamiliarity and the newness of the format, around 2,000 staff members voluntarily registered with Eduson during the first month, and only a few less people studied to receive a certificate.

The staff members chose themselves what to study and where; at home or at work. The simplest courses were the most popular: about working with office programmes, making presentations and time management. We received a lot of good responses, and I think that we have achieved the aims of the project that we set out to do from the start.

Useful Statistics

There were also other advantages. At Mechel there are a lot of different enterprises, not only just for technology but also for corporate culture. When tracking how the course is progressing in the system, we can easily locate the “enterprise-honors”, where students studied intensively for courses, and those enterprises where people were less interested.

We analyze the reasons for this and examine how the HR services work and how they coped with the task of informing employees about it. From the statistics you can immediately see which HR departments in enterprises were the best at Eduson e-learning project, and where the information was practically not shared with staff, and people only found out about it through us, from general emails.

One of the most convenient things about Eduson is the fact that you can download it in Excel, and you can look at it in any format; you can merge it according to staff categories, according to the courses or according to the enterprise.

After receiving the results of the pilot project with Eduson, we created a presentation to instruct the management of all enterprises so that they can look at their enterprise’s place in the project as a whole. In this way, senior management can clearly have all the objective information, such as which percentage of staff expressed interest in receiving new knowledge, what they are learning and how.

Training Format

When we select a format, we begin with the learning objective.

Of course, gathering a group together in person is always difficult, as staff members have different workloads and schedules. However, this face-to-face format is often more comfortable for older members of staff, and that must also be taken into account.

Online courses are good because people can always have the chance to read material or watch training videos if they have a window in their work schedule. Those who are interested can take other courses on the subject.

The base of online courses is a collection of best practices, as in a well-structured library.

For example, if you don’t have much time to study an issue, then you can go into the system, select a speaker or an expert on that topic, and take their course. It is much more effective than just searching on the Internet, when any search can give you one million answers and you don’t know which lecturer will be the most useful to listen to on the selected topic.

Which Kind of Training Is Effective?

I think that a universal recipe for effective corporate training does not exist. Even money is not the issue.

I know companies that don’t spend any money at all on training, but staff often plays football or celebrates holidays together, which they organize by themselves. Maybe they have such a well-organized mentoring process, that their colleagues don’t even use that word to describe it; they simply decide to share knowledge with their colleagues constantly and teach newcomers; their sharing of their experiences and mutual learning is valued in corporate culture. Who said that it was a bad thing?

In some different companies, they waste an enormous amount of their budget on training, and they observe no serious positive changes in relationships between people or their professionalism.

There are companies which buy access to this or that training system so that their staff can independently boost their qualifications. And people actually appreciate this very highly. It is very important to personally motivate staff to receive new knowledge.

You must always take into account the specifics of each organization, industry and even individual managers or owners when selecting the format to develop your staff.

The main thing is that training ought to produce results, and measuring its effectiveness needs to be performed using concrete indicators, firstly according to the staff’s quality performance. If the system is used properly, any approach may be effective.

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