Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why Staff Training is Not A Luxury

16 January

Claude BErnard Quote

Why is staff training sometimes seen as a luxury, an option, an easy cut from the budget, when it should be viewed as a competitive and strategic necessity?

Let’s start 2014 with a dare for you.

Take a look at the following list and see how many apply to you or your organization: (be honest now)

  1. I believe in training – as long as it doesn’t get in the way of work.
  2. I can’t afford for me or my staff to be away from our desks for hours at a time.
  3. I don’t have a detailed schedule of upcoming training for me or my staff.
  4. My organization has no documented, specific strategy for any training that is not legally required for us to operate.
  5. Past and future training is not an integral part of our performance review process (you do have one, right?)
  6. I and/or my organization think training is expensive.

If you’ve answered true to any of these, heard them in your organization or used any of them, then you have a training problem.

And quite frankly, if you’re not training your staff then you don’t belong with the leading companies in your sector of business. Sooner or later you will see the effects of not matching these other high performance outfits and their positive attitude to training:

  • Lower staff motivation
  • Reduced productivity
  • Lower employee retention
  • Stagnant innovation and progression from staff
  • Stationary or decreasing profit margins

An organization that can honestly say that none of those first 6 statements applied to them would see the above list in a completely different way:

  • Highly motivated and valued staff
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Higher employee retention and improved recruiting
  • High levels of innovation from staff and positive attitudes to change
  • Increasing profit margins built upon a progressive and stable workforce

I know which list I like the look of more. How about you?

We started this post with a dare, so let’s end with a challenge:

Don’t be an organization that believes in that list of 6 statements and is affected by the first bulleted list. Be an organization that benefits from the second one.

  • Get buy-in for training from every level of your corporate structure, from the recipients to the budget holders and decision makers.
  • Align your training plan with your strategic goals and document the relationship between the two. After all, how can your strategic plan be built to extend your organization if you don’t train your staff in the new skills needed to reach those goals and expectations?
  • Do a needs analysis and take stock of your current skill levels – that Excel “expert” with 10 years’ experience might be at the same level of knowledge they were when Excel 2007 came out! Just think of the tools at your disposal that are sitting idle and unused.
  • Get past the “we don’t have the budget” myth. Remember – effective training doesn’t cost you or your organization a single penny. Any “cost” will repay itself immediately and you’ll reap huge dividends every time you and your staff come in to work.
  • Last, but most definitely not least, put your plan into action and start reaping the rewards!