"The secret to success
is doing the best that you can do. By working hard and practicing the skills
that you need to perform, the results will take care of themselves."
-Barbara Ann Cochran
The success of your business
is measured by the quality of services and products you provide to your customers.
If employees are not properly trained to create or provide the services or product
your organization specializes in, how will your company ever grow? Business
researchers indicated in a recent Nation's Business article that at present,
the average American business spends about one percent of their payroll on employee
training. To compete successfully in the 21st century, however, will require
businesses to expend closer to three percent of their payroll on training.
When the three percent guideline
is examined closer, it means that for every eight hours worked, an employee
needs to receive a minimum of 14 minutes of training. In a part-time work week
consisting of 20 hours, 36 minutes needs to be devoted to staff training. That
equals a total of 62 hours annually. Impossible you say! How will I ever find
the time or money to train staff that well? Lets say your average part-time
entry-level employee makes $10 an hour. Expending 36 minutes each week to perfect
the employees work skills will cost only $5.98 a week or a total of $300 a year.
When you consider how much you expend to obtain new customers and to market
your business, staff training is a minor expenditure. After all, a positive,
well-trained staff is your best marketing tool.
In an annual study conducted
by Olsten Staffing Services, companies in the United States continued to report
major deficiencies between desirable employee skill levels and existing skill
levels. An under or poorly trained staff results in communication problems,
loss of customers, and greater hours expended to complete tasks. All of these
problems are costly and unnecessary. Lets examine some of the benefits and reasons
why you may want to consider revamping and extending your existing employee
- Builds confidence.
Although confidence is an inside job, training programs build skills, provide
resources and enables employees to respond to the customers needs better.
All of these add up to greater confidence for the employee in challenging
- Improves employee
effectiveness. Training programs allow the employees to practice interpersonal
skills, make mistakes and receive feedback in a safe environment. When an
employee makes a mistake with a customer, it can be costly. Training allows
staff to develop necessary job skills without fear of reprisal.
- Establishes company
work standards. No two employees are exactly alike. Everyone will come
to your organization with varying work standards. A company run training program
can establish acceptable work standards and behavior from the very beginning
of the employment cycle and help to make the employee more effective sooner.
- Builds employee morale.
Time spent on training indicates you value the employee so much that you are
willing to invest in their professional growth. It further implies that you
want the employee to be an integral part of the success process for your organization.
Employees feel better about themselves, the organization, and their coworkers
when they know management cares about them.
- Improves communications.
During the training process, participants have the opportunity to ask questions
regarding concerns that may be overlooked in the daily operations. Training
programs frequently begin a dialog process that may not have occurred otherwise.
The training process also allows management to discover individuals and total
team skill levels. This allows management to establish future training needs
- Creates a team-building
environment. When individuals from different groups within the organization
gather for training, it allows them to create stronger inter-organization
relationships. Additionally the training environment provides the opportunity
to share common concerns, problems and ideas. People often discover they are
not alone in their skill levels or workplace issues.
- Increases problem
solving abilities. People who are well trained are able to think on their
feet faster. They are also apt to have a greater network and knowledge of
resources to help them solve problems. Front line staff that is able to address
customer concerns on the spot save management time and the organization money.
- Reduces customer and
employee complaints. A well-trained staff is able to satisfy the customers
needs faster and more efficiently. When staff is well trained, there are fewer
customer complaints. Employees also have the skills to resolve conflict and
communicate better. Optimum skill levels allow employees to resolve their
own conflicts and decreases managements need to be involved in employee disagreements.
- Strengthens existing
skills. Every time an individual receives customer service, communications,
leadership or basically any kind of training, it helps to strengthen and enhance
existing skill levels. If people do not immediately practice and use what
they have learned in a training program, virtually all but 10% of the information
presented is forgotten within six weeks. Regular reviews of the information
helps to reinforce and enhance existing skills. This also aids in building
confidence within the employees and helps to make them more effective.
- Indicates company's
commitment to optimum performance standards. Whether it's a safety program
or a computer class, the information presented during the training process
establishes the organizations expected employee performance level. Regularly
scheduled training programs serve to reinforce and provide an example of an
organization=s standards and expectations.
- Airs feelings and
challenges. Frequently issues will arise during the training process that
may not surface in a normal work setting. Staff has the opportunity to express
concerns, fears and indicate challenges they feel need to be resolved in order
for the organization to move forward. Workshops and training session can provide
a safe environment for staff to express themselves without fear of retaliation.
- Serves as an ongoing
advertisement for your customers. Staff training demonstrates to your
customers you want to provide the best possible service and products. When
customers feel they are getting the very best because you are willing to invest
in your staff, it serves as an advertisement for quality.
Employees will receive training
from your organization the moment they walk through your doors for the first
time. They will either selectively learn on the job from the examples set by
other employees or you can train them in an environment where the topics are
well thought out and enhance your company standards. The end result of a well-trained
staff is lower employee turnover and higher morale. Both affect how your employees
will serve your customers and your bottom line. A company is only as good as
it=s weakest link. A consistently well-trained staff will help your company
to survive and thrive in the 21st century.
For permission to print
Survive and Thrive in the New Millennium with Employee Training in your
company newsletter or professional journal, contact
© 1999 Eileen O. Brownell. All Rights Reserved.