1. Training embeds theskills that ensure business success A business simply will notsurvive long if it can’t deliver its service or product up to itscustomers’ expectations. That’s pretty clear. Yet many businessowners think they can get away with meeting the very lowestexpectations. In the current climate such companies will notsurvive. The companies that prosper will be those that recognisethat they need to continually empower its staff to deliver companysuccess is the way forward. One way of ensuring staff can performis through training them to a higher level with the skills andknowledge they need. Training ensures that allthe skills needed to deliver above and beyond customers’expectations are in place and in action. ‘And in action’ iscritical. Training is all about changing behaviour and outcomes –it should make a positive difference to the company and provide areturn on investment which is measurable.
If not then it shouldn’ttake place. Know the value that the training will add to yourcompany is crucial and should be weighed against the cost. Butequally, you need to think about the other side of the coin: thecost of not providing the training. In other words, what businessor outcome could be lost if the training isn’t provided and thestaff can’t perform to the level needed? One thing is certain. Yourstaff must have the skills to do whatever their job entails andtraining is a key mechanism for ensuring that they have them. Anycompany that fails to ensure that staff are skilled are going toface a very tough time indeed.
2. Training can motivate and createpowerful focus Training is a powerful wayof demonstrating to staff that the future is good and that thereare things to be achieved. Training conveys a message that staffhave security, purpose and goals. Afterall, who would train peopleonly to sack them a few days later! Let’s face it, we are all humanand have peaks and troughs of motivation. And, of course, aworkforce is no different. Habit, task repetition, ‘same old, sameold’ all sneak into our way of looking at our work from time totime (or even very often in some cases!). Training can helpalleviate this by adding fresh impetus and a clearer sense ofprogression. OK, so training doesn’t set out to motivate.
Indeed,in the training field it is recognised that you can’t train formotivation. However, it is clear that training can producemotivation. The sense of purpose and direction that new skills, orfreshly embedded and reviewed existing skills, offers an employeecan lead to massive changes in morale. This new morale, determinedfocus and sense of purpose can lead to increases in profit throughthe higher quality output and application of skills. At the veryleast it will exponentially increase your ability to power throughthe Credit Crunch era.
3. Training can lead to identifyingweaknesses your business The process of training itself is a greatway to identify weaknesses in your business which could otherwisego unnoticed, impacting on the business profits for months or yearsto come. How does training identify business weaknesses? Through aTraining Needs Analysis (TNA)! This stage of training is oftenneglected. It shouldn’t be. A TNA analyses staff development needsidenfitying the gap between the desired outcome of the individualor team and the current performance. Using discussion, interviews,questionnaires and any other appropriate means of analysis, the TNAwill ensure that the broader issues of the performance gap areidentified. And it can be surprising what is uncovered! Theperformance gap may not be bridged only, or even at all, bytraining – there could be issues of processes, internalcommunication structures, recording and measuring results – indeedendless possibilities.
Importantly, it is the process of conductinga Training Needs Analysis that unearths these issues. And, ofcourse, knowing about it is the first great step to sorting it out.The TNA will leave you empowered to take the right steps, be theytraining or other, to improve weaknesses which, left alone, wouldimpact on your profit.
4. Training can give fresh perspective todevelop new ideas Training often acts as a catalyst for new ideasand new ways to do things to increase performance and profit.Because people are so often creatures of habit, work is oftenperformed on auto-pilot. Taking time out to learn a new skill orfresh knowledge can have a impact beyond the learning of thatparticular skill. It can impact across the skill-set of theindividual allowing them to see their role in a new light and withnew creativity.
You should harness this by a rigourous follow-upprocess from the training room back to the workplace. So, fortraining to achieve its best results it needs to be seen as farmore than a linear path to a skill. It is far better seen as a partof the holistic development of your member of staff which can havebenefits in unexpected areas. The key to this, however, is the“what next?” after training has taken place. Do not, whatever youdo, simply treat training as a ‘been there, done that’ exercise foryour staff. Explore the training outcomes with your staff and agreehow these will be used and what other knock-on effects they can seeit having.
5. Training helps retain the best staff Sometimes youdon’t know what you’ve lost until it’s gone. Never is that moretrue than with staff. Key individuals, feeling unvalued andunappreciated, can very quickly quit, leaving you high and dry. Intough economic times, there can be a temptation to assume staffwill remain loyal out of inscurity, fear and lack of externalopportunity. Possibly this is true, but business is a long termproposition and employees have memories like elephants! In theeconomic recovery, the payback could be swift as staff takeadvantage of opportunities elsewhere.
The axiom that it costs agreat deal more to gain new customers than to keep and growexisting ones has an equivalent axiom in staffing. Losing staffcosts money, recruiting costs money, training from scratch costsmoney, the lower performance of a new, learning employee costsmoney…. It is far more efficient for a company to retain its staffand help them become as effective and as motivated as possible.Salary increases and bonuses only every act as a short-termmotivator or, more negatively, as a longer-term solution in theform of staff being financially unable to leave. Either way, theseare not ideal forms of motivation for staff to remain in yourcompany.
We know that motivation based upon raising self-esteem andthe sense of being valued is much higher and more enduring. It ishere that training can be so powerful. Training helps staff feelpart of the company’s bigger strategy and valued as importantcontributors to success. As a consequence, retention withincompanies that consistently train and develop their staff is higherthan those that don’t.
6. Training trainers internally will reducethe external training budget and improve skills transfer Earlier, Iquoted the saying ‘if training is expensive, try ignorance’. But itis possible to tackle the issue of
ongoing training expense bytraining your own trainers. These do not have to be full timetrainers – they may only deliver training as a part of their role.But giving them the know-how to deliver skills and knowledge inmore effectively provides a valuable resource for your company.
There are two aspects to this: You may have particular subjectmatter experts who need to deliver their knowledge and skills toother staff. Without effective training skills, they may only everycreate short term learning. Or they may find that the trainingtakes that much longer to embed. With the understanding of howpeople learn new skills, the training would be much more effectiveand the ability for staff to take the learning and put it topractice would be greatly improved. Alternatively, a member ofstaff could be developed to deliver some of the more regulartraining programmes whether they be people-skills, IT skills,administrative skills, health and safety etc. By creating a skilledoccasional trainer, you will drastically reduce your externaltraining budget, maintain your training programme and build valueand skills in your new trainer.
Conclusion So, training has a hugerole to play in the survival of your business in these hard times.These six reasons for using training are crucial to your success.Think how they could work for your business and then plan yourtraining strategy. See you on the other side of the Credit Crunch!
Author- Nick Bolton- http://www.thesmartschool.co.uk/