At What Cost Employee Training?

By Jeff Bowman

In the past several months, I have witnessed the polar extremes in attitudes of businesses towards employee training.

I met one organization that is about to launch a corporate-wide training program for all of its employees.  Yup, I said ALL. Every employee from the bottom up will take part in some form of training ranging from cross training for other positions, leadership development to coping with stress in the workplace.  The cost in terms of “spend” dollars is relatively high when you factor in lost time for training, lunches, rewards, not to mention trainers.

I have also encountered organizations who feel that training is unmeasurable in terms of results, costly and therefore unwarranted at this time of tight budgets. Why the two different attitudes?

I wrote a couple of articles a year or so ago about the greatest bosses you could work for and some of the worst bosses you could have.  You may have heard the adage that sports teams adopt the persona of their coach, so to in businesses. If the leadership believes in enhancing employee’s self worth, developing them for future corporate roles and increasing returns on their investment through increased productivity, decreased turnover and higher overall satisfaction at work, then they will make the investment.

I haven’t yet mentioned that training will make them far more competitive in local and global marketplaces. Those that hold the belief that training is simply an added cost that reduces profitability, provides employees with paid time off and that the corporate succession strategy will take care of itself will invest little if anything in training that isn’t mandated for safety or regulatory reasons.

I have to admit that training for the sake of training is worse than no training at all. Nothing turns a good employee off faster than training that is not applicable to their daily activities and will never be used, or demeaning “parent-child” type lectures about how to do their jobs better, sometimes by people who have never done their job!

The choice is clear to employees looking to grow with an organization.  The choice was also very clear to the company that is instituting a corporate wide training agenda.  Through studies they found that 50% of their workforce will be retiring within 5-10 years.  There was no succession plan in place for managerial development, and skill sets had not kept pace with technology.  It was decided, and rightly so, that an investment was fully warranted for the development of a corporate culture which included systematic training, employee feedback and personalized skills upgrading programs for everyone. The cost of the training in “spend” can be fully measured now, the results over the next 5 years of implementation will be accrued through retention, process management, higher skills and dedication to a corporate culture that believes in the strength of its human and intellectual capital.

Want to discuss your company’s training requirements? Just let me know.

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Filed under Human Resources, Jeff Bowman, Managing, Strategic Planning, Training and Development

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