Do you remember your first job? Were you trained or just thrown into the task(s) at hand? I remember my first job was at a bakery in downtown Calgary. One day the boss asked me to make coffee. When I asked him how to do that, he gave me a look of disbelief. It made me feel stupid, but truthfully, I didn’t and still don’t own a coffee maker or drink coffee. Technical skills are teachable, and as there are many times when we don’t know how to complete the task. It is vital to any company that employees be encouraged to ask questions and be trained.
Many businesses view employee training and development as more optional than essential, which can be costly. Proper and continual training is essential for any business regardless of the position. It is vital to any company that training and development be included in the business plan. Training presents a prime opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all employees.
I visited with Larry Hall from Jerome 20/20 and asked him a variety of questions to help businesses when they work on their annual budget and advice, he would give to include training and development. Businesses, managers and CEO’s need to recognize that training is an investment, not an expense. When you’re a startup or experience a slow season of your business you need to plan on 5 – 10% in your budget.
Two of the biggest reasons job training and development are neglected are because:
- We are too busy right now.
- We don’t have the money to send people for training.
I had the opportunity to visit a Magic Electric, plumbing and heating in Jerome. Billy and his team are passionate about the importance of incorporating on-going training into their work culture. During my time with them, I asked a variety of questions. We covered topics like the challenges with training within the multi-generations, they shared in their experience the biggest challenge with the generations is communication. Magic Electric, has created a culture that encourages communication, that no question is dumb. Billy also addressed that incorporating training from the top down in the organization is another key to success. They described the training and systems they have in place so that every person does training. Billy also discussed how the training impacts both professional and personal life when which include topics like customer service, conflict management, communication styles. These essential training along with staying up-to-date with current trends and changes within the industry has created a culture that has a high employee rendition and attraction rate.
Including training into the annual budget. Magic Electric can see the return on investment over time in the areas of employee retention, customer satisfaction, referrals, and no price value can be associated with the incredible work culture created that makes for a happy work environment where people want to come to work every day.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”. John F. Kennedy
The return on investment includes:
- Improved employee performance
- Improved employee satisfaction and morale
- Addresses weaknesses
- Increased productivity and adherence to quality standards
- Increased innovation in new strategies and products
- Reduced employee turnover.
- Enhances company reputation.
In today’s economy if your business is not learning then it will fall behind. Training empowers employees and empowered employees are motivated to see the company succeed as well as learn and develop new skills. There are many ways to approach training, it can be encouraging employees to watch TED talks, reading professional development books, personality profiles, team training to more structured with working with a training company. No matter where your company starts with incorporating the value of training into your culture there is always room to grow. Jack Welch, former CEO for General Electric said: “An Organizations ability to Learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage”.
Changing the mindset to view training as an investment is the first step, from there companies need to strategize and implement training programs which like the example of Magic Electric and Plumbing will create a dynamic culture having a positive impact on employees and customers. Seek ways to add or improve the current training offered within your company today.
Cheryl Viola, MBA, Executive Director