Training in U.S. companies is holding steady, and high-tech training methods are on the rise, according to the American Society for Training & Development's 2004 State of the Industry Report. The annual per-person budget for employee training was $820 in 2003, about the same as in 2002. The use of online training and other learning technologies shot up more than 8 percent in 2003.
“Organizations are linking learning to performance and the bottom line, and they understand the relationship between creating a skilled workforce and achieving enterprise-wide success,” said report author and ASTD senior director of research Branda Sugrue.
Financial services and insurance industry execs predict that as a result of industry investigations, the number of training and education meetings will be on the upswing this year. “We're doing more training meetings than ever before,” says Jim Henson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Shenandoah Life Insurance Co. in Roanoke, Va. With market conduct concerns engendered by investigations into brokerage practices, and the fact that “we are in a litigious society,” he notes, “I don't think [agents] can ever learn too much about a product, its features and benefits, and how it can benefit the consumer.”
The ASTD report is based on data from 344 U.S. organizations of varying sizes from different industries, including financial services. For more information, go to www.astd.org.
Online Training for Agents
LOMA, an Atlanta-based research and training association for the insurance and financial services industry, now provides more than 100 online courses through LOMALearn Online. Content includes life and health insurance, property and casualty insurance, retirement planning, and money management. Many of the courses enable agents and brokers to earn CE credits online. For more information, including a complete course catalog, visit www.lomalearn.com.