iPods on the JobUse of iPods to deliver training and other company communications seems to be spreading. Today's Wall Street Journal reports on a number of recent applications by businesses such as National Semiconductor, Capital One, and Siemens.
As discussed in an earlier post, the process for creating podcasts for downloading onto iPods and similar devices is not complicated. Once the process is in place, a company can easily disseminate training courses (e.g., learn to speak Spanish), individual lessons (e.g., how to cook a cheeseburger), sales support (e.g., how to install a piece of equipment), and announcements. Employees can listen and, in the case of video, watch at whatever moment is most convenient and timely.
The cost savings of using podcasts can be substantial due to reduced need to pay for travel and lodging to bring people into a single location for classroom instruction.
The article does raise the issue of a generation gap in familiarity with iPods. I believe that just about anyone can be motivated and trained to use these devices. The key is to recognize that not all employees already know the drill. Therefore a company needs to be ready to provide friendly support to get employees up to speed.
Another issue is intruding on employees' personal time. Here I would say that the key is dialogue about where exactly the time for listening to and watching the podcasts will come from. Reasonable people should be able to arrive at reasonable arrangements.