The Time for Training – A Smart investment
“Only the educated are free.” -Epictetus
As a Training and Development Consultant running my own business, I spend significant time with corporate HR Managers and Training departments discussing initiatives and solution to their needs and problems. I do have successes of course, but at times I receive a variety of answers to proposals that range from, yes we know we need it but… perhaps next quarter, budgets, no time, no authority, etc. The paradox to this is that training and development must be one of the best long term value investments of time and energy an organization can make.
In tougher, lean times in any organization, training needs should NOT be delayed or cancelled. Now is actually the time to keep your staff Capital high. Now is the time to either maintain or even increase spending on training and development. Create a mindset of value-based training in your organization. Why?
Let’s take customer service as an example.
Reducing or shelving your training budget will delay any progress and improvements in your customer service levels and initiatives. Therefore you are delaying customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. In other words you are actually losing money when you delay or cancel training.
When tough times come the training budget is often first to go in the overall budgets of many company. Yes, it is usually reinstated when good times return – slowly. But, what took place in the meantime? The 6 months, the year when training was reduced? Lost business, dissatisfied customers, and complaints, loss of momentum, de-motivation and possible loss of business that will be very hard to recover. It has been said that customer retention is one of the most important initiatives that can be taken, but usually is given little thought. When times are tough surely we should be increasing our attention to this activity and it almost always needs training.
Training can sometimes be treated as an extra or only if absolutely needed. The news is Training is a necessity and always an urgent consideration. Unfortunately many companies don’t take time to consider the implications of NOT training their staff. Now, it is sometimes the fault of the training provider as they don’t always emphasize or campaign the need for training in downturns. They also need to keep a positive attitude.
In the case of customer service, what are the subjects that underpin excellent customer service? Consider these at the foundations:
- Time management
- Problem Solving
- Communication Skills
- Phone Techniques
- Internal Customer service, and more.
Consider the benefits of timely training programs in customer service:
- Retains customers
- Increases output
- Strengthens teams for the upturn
- Improves performance
- Reduces stress
- Employees feel valued
- Improves recruitment as you are known to value learning
- Fewer errors
- Reduced customer turnover
- Reduced employee turnover, when turnover is attributable to poor supervision
- Proper implementation of new customer strategies
- Higher workplace morale through more effective management practices
- Reduced recruitment costs (because training can create more job-ready candidates for promotions)
Of course all employees should benefit from training, but at times company need to look at areas of greater maximum return for investment. E.g. If we targeted all sales persons in a company and they improved their performance only by 6% – just 6% – it could equate to a doubling of revenue gained through better sales techniques, etc.
Any decent training provider should be able to create an innovative method in which to plan and schedule your training so it is not a budget or time sapping exercise. We provide a number of ways we can meet your vital training needs at minimum cost and time but with maximum value. It just takes planning and thought.
A cost/benefit equation can be created that will help you see the return on training investment -ROTI. For instance a 2 day customer service course that cost your company in total USD 10,000 over 2 days and for 20 staff. This is just a higher level example to illustrate – it is not always 10,000!
For the next year this investment equates to USD 833 per month / USD 27.77 per day total cost for the training. My question to you is do you think your staff can create enough positive customer experiences or “Moments of Truth”, to at least cover this amount each month? Do you think your staff can retain or attract enough customers to make this worthwhile? Do you think that 20 staff that attends this training can over a year, cumulatively provides a ROTI that exceeds USD 27.77 a day? The cost of each employee attending the course is about USD 1.38 per day. I would estimate that they will be able to return your investment many, many times over, plus all the other benefits mentioned.
I created the concept of CARE ™ by doodling on a piece of paper one day. I was preparing for some new courses. My wife was reminding me to “take care with the company’s training”. Care for their investment. Not that she had to, but it is nice to get a reminder sometimes! So wrote CARE on a piece of paper and formed this acronym.
C = Comprehension
R = Results
E = Excellence
So I try and bring CARE to my work. Comprehension and Application from the training brought back to the work place which can lead to Results Excellence to the companies we consult and train for.
The concept of CARE is to provide a word that describes clearly our approach to training and development. It is a theory I use in my work with HR and Organizations talent teams to ensure they derive maximum benefit and value from the work we do together. It is about putting more long lasting CARE into the efforts.
We believe in taking CARETM with your training budget in order to increase and enhance your employee’s performance.
“Results Excellence” is a partnership between provider and strategic objectives of the organization. Measuring the pay back on value in their training. The cost / benefit analysis. Cost of training vs. the perceived or real return. Serious results will come from serious objectives. It begins with the end in mind and work back. How will the organizations change? What will be improved or enhanced?
It is about using innovative methods of meeting training needs economically and in a timely manner. It is possible to calculate the cost and benefits of training for your particular training considerations. It is a four part process formula and takes us about 15 minutes. This simple time investment could save you thousands in lost revenue.
There is solid evidence to show that successful companies do not restrict training initiatives in tough times.
Coles International Training and Corporate Consultancy is based in Australia and now active in the Gulf, and Asia, namely Bangkok and Singapore. It researches, develops and delivers learning and organizational solutions to client’s needs and problems around the world.
For more information, please visit www.colestraining.com, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rick Coles- Coles International Training