Challenges in the Telecommunications Industry

To succeed in the dynamic and ever-expanding telecommunications industry, organizations must train their team members to be equipped for long-term success. From comprehensive tech training for on-site technicians and engineers to providing top-tier client support via sales enablement training and customer support skills.

With such complex industry-wide training requirements, hybrid training will most likely be the go-to model, with hands-on, face-to-face training, coupled with online learning and on-the-job performance support.  

While the stakes are high for training in the telecommunications industry, it’s perfectly possible to get it right. The secret ingredient lies in the flawless execution of your telecoms training program, whatever that looks like. 

So, how can telecoms training managers better manage L&D initiatives to both satisfy company goals and increase customer satisfaction? 

In this post:

Trends and Developments in the Telecommunications Industry

New Technology

The telecom industry faces perpetual challenges related to ever-changing technology and the management of its services over its network. For example, the 5G mobile service was released in 2019 and caused a logistical uproar within telecom networks in preparing for the full rollout in 2021. At the same time, talks of 6G technology began, and it’s currently in development to address dead zones in areas that 5G is incapable of covering. That’s just one concern for telecom companies adapting to new technology that a sophisticated market demands.

New technology is a perpetual factor for companies operating in the telecommunications field. New developments incentivize new product offerings for customers, which in turn incentivize training for company employees to service their growing needs. From managing faster mobile cellular services to more complex telecom services, including mobile internet hotspots and fiber-optic internet, telecom companies have a wide array of services to manage for tens of millions of customers.

Growing Demand to Fill Telecommunications Jobs

The telecommunications industry is here to stay and is both promising and a concern for companies. Zippia projects the technician job growth rate to increase by 8% between 2018-2028, with close to 71,000 openings across all technical roles. Furthermore, the job search board Indeed suggests that careers in telecommunications are the most sought-after in both the US and UK due to regular postings monthly. Because of the scope of services provided by mobile and internet service providers, ensuring the quality of their products is paramount from the customer service side, all the way to technical support. 

This creates the need for training that can keep up with rapid technological advancement across a wide array of roles, including (but not limited to): 

  • Network engineers 
  • System administrators 
  • Telecoms specialists 
  • Cable and network installers 
  • Area managers 
  • Customer service managers 

Mergers and Acquisitions

To provide better services to customers, telecommunications providers are cyclical in streamlining their business operations via M&A. According to consulting group Bain & Company, mergers and acquisitions in the telecom sector for 2023 alone brought in close to $49 billion in value from infrastructure and service contracts and is projected to only grow in the future.

While continual acquisitions can lead to increased business development opportunities, they also open the door to decreased efficiency among employees. While M&A can lead to some degree of consolidation in the industry, it can also drive a chaotic transition for employees of both the acquired and acquiring company. With new team members in place, there comes a need to initiate cross-functional and onboarding training to understand the new processes required for customer excellence and on-site repairs. Each employee suddenly needs to adapt not just to the new technology itself, but also to new administrative protocols, teammates, and training processes, which can significantly slow the speed of knowledge transfer. 

Customer Turnover

Customer churn in telecom is a perpetual issue within the industry and for no surprising reason. With several mid to high-tier providers that provide competitive pricing for packages to both homes and businesses, customers aren’t as loyal as they once were when contracts were the norm. Consumers are constantly looking for the best options, whether the reason is price, service, or quality of service. To combat turnover, telecom salespeople must work with the company’s leadership team to address customer concerns and uncover the best options to improve consumer retention. After all, it’s more expensive to make a new customer than to keep one. 

The Nature of Training Programs for Telecom Companies

For the most part, internal training for telecoms companies has kept pace with the standards recommended by L&D professionals.  

At least for the administrative and business development aspect of telecommunications training, a majority of training can be delivered via eLearning and a learning management system (LMS) to provide onboarding videos and skills assessments via a variety of learning delivery methods. This is especially true for those with more hands-on roles, such as cable installers or maintenance technicians who may need to visit customers’ houses or businesses. 

Because the telecom industry requires a multitude of technicians and engineers to manage their infrastructure, it’s pertinent that telecom companies implement predominantly on-the-job training compared to eLearning. One case study examining Verizon’s high-speed internet network found that it takes on average 38 days to train a technician and even more training if acquiring industry certifications.

Challenges for Telecommunications Training

The challenges of training in telecommunications stem from the trends previously discussed. New technology, business decisions, and the industry’s growing job market make it clear that training for telecom personnel in both technical and non-technical roles is paramount.  With service networks over vast geographical spaces and a team of providers to maintain the network’s services, the telecommunication industry has a logistical challenge in managing training operations, whether that’s onboarding new employees or training skill sets for seasoned personnel.

As a result, the primary challenge for telecommunication providers is how will they manage training given trends and how effectively can they do it given the conditions posed by their market.

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Managing the Logistics of Training in Telecommunications

Between multiple connectivity services and the multitude of people managing the network, it’s easy to see why having a regular process in place to manage all facets of training can be daunting. When training programs and processes aren’t efficiently managed to sharpen a telecom workforce it can cause a variety of issues. Poor training management could potentially be the root of all service issues when it comes to providing a service that’s much needed by employees and customers alike. 

Managing training operations is more than just cross-comparing availability with attendance.

Despite the challenges of training within the industry, many telecoms organizations still manage training protocols internally, with their HR and operations team, by utilizing a loose “system” of multiple spreadsheets, calendars, and databases. Here, the learning specialist in the L&D or HR department will connect a trainer to a classroom based on a variety of factors including attendance, equipment needed, and learning goals, just to name a few. While that may seem like a harmless challenge, when that’s multiplied over the multiple services and number of personnel across a wide network, it can become an administrative nightmare of juxtaposing spreadsheet after spreadsheet to schedule ILT and instructor-led online training.   

Naturally, telecom’s L&D teams will hit a breaking point when the number of employees, training programs, and subject matter experts become too complex to manage in spreadsheets alone. When this happens, the learning and development team is strained with administrative work as opposed to focusing on providing better training that can contribute to the company’s business development goals and prospective outlook. 

Streamlining Telecoms Training Operations With a TMS

Training teams can do their very best at managing a multitude of courses for employees, but they may still be wasting precious time on overly complex processes. That includes everything from finding an available instructor to selecting the right venue (or venues, for multi-site sessions) to tracking the budget to ensure that you’re not exceeding your allocated spend. 

Training Management Systems (TMS) are ideal for an L&D team leading a learning operation in the telecom industry. The primary benefit is that it streamlines the complexities associated with scheduling training sessions for both instructor-led training (ILT) and virtual instructor-led training (vILT) in addition to coordinating the resources needed for multiple training programs and courses.

With how complex managing training schedules for multiple locations can get, the tools within a TMS allow telecom training specialists to better manage resources that are needed to deliver and improve the learning experience. TMS software is ideal for telecom organizations as it allows the internal or external L&D team to efficiently manage the administrative processes behind the scheduling of sessions, the assignment of instructors, the maintenance of resourcing, and the maintenance of the training budget.

TMS Features to Help Improve Telecom Training Operations

Maintaining customers and the infrastructure that provides connectivity is hard enough. Managing the training to keep the services connected shouldn’t add any more difficulty.

Given the nature of managing multiple training programs across various departments and specialties, a training management system (TMS) is equipped to allow L&D specialists the insight they need to plan, schedule, and improve training processes.

When utilizing a TMS for managing training programs and on-the-job course scheduling, telecommunication companies and organizations should utilize a system that has the tools they need to better plan learning events and training.

What’s included in a training management system for telecom training providers?

  • Scheduling and resource management – this is probably the most important feature and the one you’ll use most often! Look for intuitive execution, such as drag-and-drop scheduling, and user-friendly features such as color-coded training overviews, to make it as easy as possible to schedule, reschedule, and plan your telecoms training. It should also be simple to search and filter by instructor, venue, equipment availability, location, language, and anything else you need to ensure your training is a success. 
  • Budget and cost tracking – keep a close eye on your training budget with comprehensive budget and cost tracking. This should cover every aspect of your training costs, from instructor fees to venue costs to travel, catering, accommodation, and more. This will help you see where you’re overspending and where you can afford to spend a little more to improve the training experience. 
  • Reporting and analytics – of course, you’ll want to see how your training is going. Your reporting and analytics functionality should show everything from instructor utilization rates to learner satisfaction ratings to overall costs for each training program. 
  • Instructor collaboration portal – an overlooked aspect of training is the time and effort spent liaising with instructors. Choosing a TMS with an instructor collaboration portal ensures you can better communicate with your instructors from a single platform, along with assigning tasks and sharing documents. 

The good news is that Training Orchestra has all these features and many more to help make your telecoms training management as smooth and efficient as possible! 

As you will likely have identified by now, the TMS is a vital component in the telecoms learning technology stack. A TMS will help you manage your personnel, multiple locations, and even the most complex training requirements, ensuring you get the best possible outcomes from your telecoms training program. 

Looking to Level Up Your Telecoms Training?

We know how challenging it can be to train thousands of telecom employees, especially when they’re based in many locations. That’s why you need a reliable, comprehensive TMS to manage your instructors, venues, training calendar, and resources. 

That’s where Training Orchestra comes in! We work with organizations worldwide to help them manage even the most complex ILT and vILT programs, If you’re looking for a telecoms Training Management System to make your life easier, it’s time to find out more about Training Orchestra. We’d love to show you around, so please book a demo to find out how we can work together for your most efficient training program yet. 

 

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