The Cost of Free Training

The Golden State Warriors, to almost no one’s surprise, recently won the NBA Championship for a second straight year.

The only mild surprise during their historic championship run, however, was that they swept their opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning the title on the road instead of in front of their home crowd, in the Oracle Arena.

Although BizLibrary is no stranger to basketball analogies, this article will focus less on the sport and more on Oracle Arena, or more specifically, the company the Arena is named after.

Oracle is one of the most profitable companies, valued at a staggering $188 billion as of the writing of this article.

What’s more impressive about Oracle, however, is that although they offer companies much-needed services, there are open-source, free alternatives to their products.

That’s right, Oracle has created $188 billion in value competing against open-source software that is free.

How in the world can any company do something like that?

It’s All About Risk

A relationship between a company and a customer is established on trust. That’s not just a business buzzword, it’s also a legal term. When a consumer puts money in a bank, they are entering what’s called a fiduciary trust agreement.

When a customer agrees to buy your insurance, they are entering a relationship wherein the customer trusts that if they pay their premiums every month, your insurance company will help cover emergencies when the need arises.

And if you work in government, citizens are entering an agreement where if they pay taxes and generally behave like good citizens, in exchange, your government office provides a service, such as parks, or infrastructure, or safety.

Inevitably, in each and every industry, there will come a time when that trust relationship is challenged.

Perhaps an insurance provider can’t cover a claim that a customer feels entitled to. Maybe a park project is delayed, or maybe a product delivery is backed up and left unfulfilled.

Customers and businesses alike expect that these instances will occur, and it’s often up to the organization to make things right, and always up to the organization to minimize the risk of errors that affect customers.

That risk mitigation is what has propelled Oracle into one of the most valuable companies in the world. Oracle customers, who include almost every single Fortune 500 company, understand that when a mistake happens, it can’t be because they were cutting corners and trying to find free alternatives to proven software.

The Same is Largely True For Training Content

Free resources are absolutely wonderful. We provide them for HR and learning professionals every day. We live in a wonderful time where free information is accessible whenever and wherever we want it, so we can learn how to do just about anything.

For instance, YouTube hosts thousands of hours of free learning content. But when you’re interviewing someone and they ask about development opportunities within your organization, the moment you bring up YouTube, you’ve lost the opportunity to hire them — potentially losing them to your competition.

Had Starbucks shut down 8,000 stores to listen to podcasts and watch webinars about sensitivity training, customers would still be angry with the company’s response.

Training is an important asset to an organization, and cutting corners by relying on free or low-quality content will cost your company dearly.

Instead, achieve success proactively for your organization by sourcing professionally produced content, written by subject matter experts, or hire professionals to teach classes in blended or instructor-led training sessions.

When employees see that your company is invested in training, they’re more likely to seek out training and engage with your content, ensuring that you’re seeing a return on your training investment.

And when training is taken seriously at any organization, the result is better customer service, higher client retention, better management practices, better productivity, and higher employee morale.

If you’re having trouble getting your company’s leaders to realize the value and importance of high-quality training content, download our free infographic, “How to Gain Leadership Buy-In for Your Employee Training Program”

Content Marketing Specialist