Companies don’t buy training. What they’re really buying is
the value of training. During a recession, this is more important than ever as
none of us can afford to send our employees for a jolly day (or week) out of
the office. However, studies show that well trained staff will be retained
staff as there is an emotional investment in employee development and the
practical payoff of technically confident workers. It is cheaper to train than
it is to hire and staff retention increases. And with some training companies
reporting record final quarters for 2009, this seems to bear out.
So, what is the value in training?
Great training leads to positive workplace changes and can
be integrated into current management systems, ensuring all outcomes have a
direct link to business processes. There is little point in sending a staff
member on an Excel course if it is rarely used (and yet one of the complaints
we hear as trainers is that the training is great, but the software might not
be used for months). My own experience as a trainer and evidence from
colleagues over the years helps to prove these points. Training as a reward system,
to make employees feel as if money is being spent on them is rarely effective
if they are unable to implement any of the behavioural changes they learned on
their courses. It is essential that the
workplace can support the application of these new skills. If training is well
planned, well executed and followed up correctly, this is where the value lies.
Training must be booked from a real development need and
balance the effectiveness of hiring new staff with relevant skills against
training existing staff. If your staff are taking time out of their day to help
each other with spreadsheets, for example, break this time down using their
daily rates. How much of this time is spent in not doing the “day job?” The
cost of courses can be effectively offset against this, leading to increased
user confidence and efficiency. As long as the needs of your organisation and
the individual are aligned with each other, then training is of value.
Training can be the tool required to solve problems in the
workplace and if it is appropriate training, you will continue to see the
return on investment. Managers who are active in the booking of courses and the
implementation of skills learned are the ones who really understand the
investment made.This is when training turns into what it should be; an asset
rather than an expense.