Ask just about any human resources professional what they consider as the most important part in employee development and most will likely tell you that training is it. The workplace is in constant change therefore keeping staff up to date with change is critically important to the way business is conducted. Without a well trained and informed staff, customers will go elsewhere. Training, however, isn’t cost free, but it isn’t nearly as expensive as it once was. Thanks to the internet the bulk of employee training can now be conducted online. Flying core employees off to a conference or seminar in a remote city for training is expensive as air fare, hotel accommodations, food, and other incidentals can take their toll. Never mind the time that employees must spend away from their usual pursuits; training can add untold thousands of dollars to the cost of employee development. The internet has leveled the field considerably by bringing the training to the customer instead of the other way around. Online seminars and webcasts have replaced distant seminars and conventions, not completely but significantly enough to where companies can now justify training more employees for less money. What used to be a nearly prohibitive expense for small businesses has now become much more manageable as training is held onsite. Online seminars (or webinars) can be accessed from just about any computer that has an internet connection. Companies may develop in-house seminars which are recorded and viewable at a later date or distributed to customers, colleagues, even competitors. Many webinars are free and can be viewed by anyone; a vertical search engine such as Finervista catalogs many of the popular webcasts available allowing users to choose from Marketing, Finance, Sales, IT Management, and a host of other business topics. As expected the quality of each webcast varies, but some of what you can find online compares favorably with what you will find at professional conferences. Online training can be accomplished by having employees view webcasts collectively or at separate times, especially if having your staff available to serve customers is important. One advantage of an online seminar is that if an interruption is necessary, the video can be stopped and restarted as needed. Of course, having your employee’s undivided attention is the best way to realize the benefits of any seminar! Savvy companies also realize that videotaping their own seminars and making them available online can be a great way to delicately promote their products and to gain new customers. Through seminar registration and the soft pedaling of one or more products, your “Fundamentals of 21st Century Marketing” webinar could be the best selling piece developed by your company – you’ll train your employees while getting the chance to pitch your knowledge to everyone who accesses your webcast. So why is online training an underappreciated value? For one simple reason: it isn’t yet utilized to the fullest extent. However, that will change in time as awareness of this cutting edge medium grows stronger and as the number of quality webcasts added to vertical search engines such as Finervista becomes significantly larger. For the company wanting to train their employees and needing to save money, webcasts are an important way to reach that goal.