Championship teams train to gain competitive advantage
Eileen, the training director of an equipment manufacturer that employees about 900 associates recently showed me the report she had proudly presented to the owners of her company. The reports and Pareto bar charts showed the number of training hours that had been conducted per month in '09 versus '08, '07, and '06. The chart also showed a measurement of the dramatic major increase in the number of people who had participated in training in 2009. She was proud to present this report to her owners and they were excited to see the improvement in '09 over '08. Questions about hours away from the job and the direct and indirect cost of the training weren't on their minds. The only question asked by the owner was, "What are you doing to continue increasing the number of people and hours of training?"
These are enlightened owners who understand that their most important resource is the human resource. The human resource is one of the few resources, if not only, resource that can appreciate in value, become more valuable with the passing of time. Capital equipment depreciates, becomes outdated, and wears out. Buildings depreciate, become outdated, and wear out. Catalogs and support materials of all kinds need to be regularly updated and redesigned. Employees, too, can become outdated. With the right kind of training and development, their value can and does increase at exponential rates. As obvious as this is, it seems so fundamental, yet many managers and owners have never thought of or have lost sight of the value of their appreciating assets.
One of the ways you can gain a
competitive advantage is to insure that you are continuing to develop your human resource. The slightest investment in meaningful training can result in dramatic improvements in performance and gives your firm a competitive advantage.
I have six questions:
- Who is keeping track of the number of training hours your team received last year?
- How much money have you invested in meaningful training so far this year?
- What percentage of your payroll did you invest in training?
- Did you invest more in training this year than a year ago? (If not, your company may have a questionable future)
- What steps are you taking to retain your team members?
- How are you insuring that you are the employer of choice?
Maybe these are tough questions. Ignoring them in no way will make them less important. If your business is slow, ask some of your qualified baby-boomer senior team members along with your training / HR department or with a qualified outside consultant to put together your training program. Ask your associates to formally pass on the knowledge they have acquired over the decades, so when they do retire, you won't be left empty-handed. You may be amazed at how this renews their commitment to your company and your training will take on a dimension of credibility, which is essential to generation Y team members.
OPEN CLASS ~ JANUARY 2010
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