By Jeff Bowman
For more than 25 years now I have watched various corporations take the training that has been provided for their employees and try to measure the return they received from the investment. Not as easy as it sounds. Measuring ROI is a process, and it includes collecting and analyzing performance data both prior to and in a fixed time period after training, then trying to quantify that into some measurement of real financial benefit. There are conditions attached to getting true measurements that are rarely taken into account.
- Was there an accurate benchmark set before training occurred?
- Was there a control group to measure against for improvement??
- Was there any environmental difference that would affect performance results?
- Are there clear improvement expectations?
- Is the performance improvement measurable or anecdotal in scope?
- Was there follow-up coaching for improvement and reinforcement?
For those that want a predictive outcome of the value of training prior to the actual training taking place, we can only rely on analyzed data from a multitude of studies in North America over the last few years. As Trainers we can make no guarantees because we can’t control the variables after we leave the building. We can, however, leave you with some proven statistics;
- A Lou Harris and Associates Poll says “employees who say their company offers poor or no training, 41% plan to leave within a year”, compared to 12% where the respondents receive excellent training.
- On average $1.00 invested equals an $8.00 net benefit
- Companies investing $1,500 per employee experience 24% higher profit margins
- Investment in Personal development results in a 21% increase in productivity.
The ROI on training and development can have a huge impact on your business, not just in revenue, but in employee morale, creativity and leadership retention!
By Jeff Bowman
T ‘is the season for the holiday office party! Yes, those parties that many employees look forward to attending, looking for opportunities to climb the org charts, charm their co-workers or simply enjoy the festivities and the holiday spirit. Then, there are those who dread the mere mention of an external social gathering with co-workers. They fear the unwanted conversations about anything but work, the mingling with others they may dislike and the drinking and carousing that seem to be associated with these types of gatherings.
There have been countless cases of those who sought to climb the ladder of success stumbling on the rungs and falling flat on their face at such parties. I have put together a few quick tips that will allow you to get the most out of your office party this year without having to worry about going back into the office on the next business day.
- Drink responsibly or not at all. We have all seen those individuals who have a little too much of the spiked eggnog and say things or do things that they would never have normally without the liquid courage in them. And by all means if the party is in the office, unplug the photocopier!
- Proper attire – Most holiday party invitations will advise of the dress code, however if it simply says business attire or festive outfits, then dress respectably. Holiday colours are good, dressed down jeans, t-shirts etc are bad. Try to find that balance between festive and professional if you can.
- Time is of the essence – Arrive in a timely manner. It is just as noticeable by those you work with whether it is at a staff party or a regular office day, how punctual you are. If the party is a “drop in” that isn’t an issue however if it is at a specified time, be there. If you are going to be a little late, advise the organizers beforehand so they are not left wondering if you will show up at all. I also make it a point never to be the last one to leave.
- Mix – Holiday parties are all about mixing and mingling, meet people you don’t know, go out of your way to speak to those you rarely get a chance to speak to a the office, be congenial and always polite. Avoid the regular office water cooler cliques. Try to avoid bringing the office to the party and separate those office/work issues with outside socialization. Use your finest networking skills.
- Frame of mind – Please keep in mind the party is for everyone. It is a sign of thanks for the great work you do during the year. Even if you don’t like these types of parties, try to have the best time you can, and don’t spoil it for others. Your attitude will have a huge impact on the entire event. Recognize those who have put so much planning into the event on your behalf, and toast to their efforts.
A few small tips that will allow everyone to enjoy your holiday office gathering. My grandmother used to say “Don’t say or do anything that you wouldn’t do in front of me!”
Have a safe and happy holiday.
By Jeff Bowman
Business owners often have a couple of objective measurements that they make to gauge the effectiveness of their efforts. As admirable as that is, the problem remains that these measurements are normally conducted quarterly, bi-annually or at year-end, and often measure the relative financial success of the organization, while leaving unanswered critical questions about the how’s, the whys and the when’s.
George Bernard Shaw once said; “The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them”. This applies to the majority of business people today. We carry on with our business activities for months, sometimes years without checking back to those who are directly responsible for the success or failure of our business, our clients. Maintaining the status quo, assuming that our product or services are still desired, well received and recommended by clients can be a fatal error in judgment.
Here are 5 questions you need to have answers to at regular frequencies in order to strategically develop your business activities.
- How do your new customers hear about you? Was it through referrals, your marketing, networking or some other way? How will you capitalize on this information once you have the answers?
- Did your product or service offer them a solution to a problem or issue they were encountering? Was the solution sensational, very good or adequate? Can you get a testimonial?
- What features of your product or service are providing the greatest benefit to the clients? Is there a way to build on those? Are there other potential markets? Does the feature provide a future opportunity to solve other issues?
- What do your customers tell others about you, your company, your product or service and the experience of dealing with you? How often do you survey your clients? Do you provide a mechanism for them to feed this information to you? Do you want to hear the good and the bad?
- Are there misconceptions about your product or service floating around in the marketplace? Are you aware of anything negative on social media about you or your business? Do you respond and if so how? Have you ever heard a potential client express any concern about dealing with you from something they might have heard?
We can spend countless hours testing and measuring every area of our business, and still emerge with a basic misunderstanding of why we are successful or where our failures are being hidden. Keeping in touch with our clients provides us the truest measure of our efforts, and the clearest direction on how to grow, yet it is an area we often ignore until it may be too late. Continuous feedback allows us to make adjustments as we need them which gives a small business a huge advantage over larger organizations where change may be more cumbersome. By measuring once and cutting often, you are creating greater opportunity for errors in your business.