Since inception, our company has invested heavily in employee training, and we regard it as one of the foundational reasons behind our success. If you are considering investing in a training program but are unsure about the value, here are nine ways training can make a real difference in your operation.
- Acclimate new employees to the environment. Every company has its own culture and way of doing things. When new employees have to figure these things out for themselves, it can take a great deal of time and not everyone learns the same lessons. In contrast, when everyone begins with a shared training experience, teambuilding is strengthened and day-to-day friction is greatly reduced.
- Give employees a voice. Our philosophy holds that we can all learn from each other. Our training programs encourage every staff member to express concerns, suggest ways to improve and share their wisdom. This type of two-way interaction fosters good morale and allows us to take full advantage of our collective knowledge.
- Provide context. Most businesses have a lot of moving parts, and to keep them moving in sync, everyone needs an understanding of not only their own department’s processes, but also how they fit in with the rest of the business. By putting tasks in a broader context, training helps employees understand and appreciate the value of their individual contributions.
- Establish operational standards. Documenting processes is always important; however, relying on written words alone does not ensure everyone is on the same page. The close interaction and two-way communication that occurs during training sessions helps us to make sure what we say we do coincides with what we actually do.
- Facilitate personal growth. Acquiring knowledge and developing skills helps individuals make personal and professional progress. Not surprisingly, as each person’s sense of accomplishment grows, the company’s ability to accomplish more grows as well.
- Keep veterans’ skill sets current. Few things are more damaging to a firm’s productivity — and an employee’s future — than allowing team members to drift along with out of date skill sets. Formal, ongoing training is one of the best ways to maintain high productivity, reduce turnover, and enhance on-the-job safety.
- Build credibility with customers. In the B2B sphere, companies have a great deal at stake with every business relationship they enter into. When a supplier has a documented, systematic and proven process for training its staff, potential customers gain the confidence to start a relationship.
- Improve performance. This is the most obvious benefit of training, and the most important. We have to prove ourselves to customers every day; regardless of how strong our relationships are, we must produce results, provide new ideas, and continuously improve. As many of my previous points suggest, we would be hard pressed to deliver on these expectations without a strong training program.
- Force top management to stay on top of its game. As we all know, complacency is the enemy of success. As we review our own training procedures and materials, and consider new programs, our leadership team has to move outside the box, monitor industry best practices, seek out superior benchmarks, and evaluate our own strengths and weaknesses.