The company invested about £20,000 in an e-learning package to teach staff Microsoft Office, the internet and Lotus, and to organise recruitment, meetings and workshops.
The system is currently being used by 100 Bayer staff, but use is expected to expand throughout the company. "You can still do a good job and have really good solutions without investing huge amounts of money," said Karen Murphy, development consultant at Bayer Business Services.
Bayer introduced the system, supplied by Global Knowledge and other e-learning providers, in September last year following a four-month pilot, which will be expanded to field- and part-time staff. "Up to 46% of our workforce are based in the field, and we also have people who work flexibly. We did not want to leave those people out," she said.
Bayer provides back-up by training staff in a classroom with tutors on hand. Staff are given a mentor who will phone them to check on their progress. The company is backing the training with GlobalStore's Ondemand software.
The company plans to extend the training to cover SAP, Siebel and Lotus.