Training – The Fuel for Your Company’s Growth and Development

Jerry Scher

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Business got you down?

  • Wondering what you can do to protect and expand your business while the industry is sputtering along?
  • Are you struggling to enhance your company’s ability to adopt and use technology advances?
  • Are you attempting to strengthen your company’s competitive position by building a more effective and highly motivated team?
  • Are your experienced employees not meeting your expectations and contributing enough to your company’s expansion?
  • Are you struggling with recruiting and hiring new employees?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, what are you doing about it?

Perhaps you should take advantage of the current business environment to stockpile the fuel that drives your business’s growth and performance, as well as the knowledge, skills and capabilities of the people that work with your organization

Training Overview

As your business transitions through the different stages of maturity, dependence on more skilled and knowledgeable people becomes essential to your success. As you become focused on increasing productivity, efficiency, business expansion, profitability and customer and employee loyalty, it becomes increasingly clear that the knowledge, capability and skills of your team members will either be a limiting factor or source of unlimited opportunities.

Experience has demonstrated that well designed and executed employee training programs will strengthen employee recruiting programs, increase productivity, improve quality, reduce employee turnover, increase efficiencies resulting in superior profitability and minimize the need for direct supervision or micro managing. In fact, when employees have the capabilities to perform their best, the company performs at its best.

When you hire new employees are they capable of hitting the ground running or does it take longer than you would like for them to be significant contributors? Are your experienced employees continuously enhancing their skills or have they stopped growing professionally and becoming a drain on your organization. Companies can gain a competitive advantage through their employees’ capabilities; they are your link to your clients. Don’t you like doing business with competent people? So do your clients.

A systematic program of training should be developed for your organization so that you can provide skilled, competent staff; they are essential to building a strong and profitable company. Programs for new hires should be well planned and customized to meet the specific needs of your new team members. The emotional impact of participating in a well-designed training program, starting on their first day, can do wonders for employee morale. As a result of participation in ongoing training programs, employees will become emotionally committed to solving new challenges that continually arise. Everyone in the organization needs training if you are going to be able to build your organization’s capabilities. You must ask what kind of performance I want to improve at each level and build programs that will continuously move your team members and your organization forward.

If you agree that providing training to employees at all levels of experience (not just new employees) is an essential ingredient to building a successful organization then you must bear in mind the principles, content and process necessary to design an effective training program. Planning and preparation is crucial to the success of any training effort.

New Employees

What’s it like for new employees the first day on the job at your company? Who is responsible for their orientation and what information is covered?

When it comes to new employees, it is crucial that their orientation be carefully planned.

They must be prepared to do the work they were hired to do as well as learn how to work within your organization. The trainers must carefully communicate your organization’s expectations and facilitate the initiation of critical relationships as well as mentoring opportunities. Frequently, new employees will select one company over another based upon the training they will receive and the personal growth opportunities your organization can provide.

Carefully determine the skill level of your new employees. Observe their work performance, interview them about their strengths and weaknesses and focus on the types of questions they ask. Interview their more experienced colleagues about what training they require and provide customized training opportunities as well as the standard programs you provide to all new employees. If you want to maximize your return on investment, you must leverage every training opportunity with new employees. The sooner they develop the required skills, the sooner they will be productive contributors to your organization.

Experienced Employees

Seasoned, experienced employees require continuous education to maintain their knowledge, skill level and capabilities. Training programs can communicate your organization’s focus as well as promote the need for personal development. During training sessions you can identify the wants and needs of your employees and identify those people who can become your future supervisors, managers and leaders.

In an industry struggling with the challenges of continuous change, experienced employees must stay current with changing technologies, methodologies and processes. Your investment in their continuous improvement will reap an abundance of benefits. Studies have shown that employees that participate in continuous personal development are more loyal, productive and long-term contributors to their company’s success.

Consider the following steps to designing a systematic program of training.

  • Review your organizational objectives and determine the skills that your employees require to do their jobs effectively.
  • Assess the skills of current employees and all new employees to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Establish training objectives for each group of employees.
  • Select the employees that will participate in specific training programs.
  • Select the training methods and modalities that will be utilized (i.e., on the job training, classroom, role playing and simulation, audiovisual media).
  • Select the trainers for your programs and be sure they are your most effective teachers. Go outside your organization, if necessary, to ensure that you’re training programs will be well presented.
  • Administer the training to the selected employees (i.e., location, facilities, resources, timing).
  • Design an evaluation process for each training program utilizing both pre and post- tests.
  • Appraise the curriculum and modify and revise as needed.

Who should do the training?

You must identify people within your organization that have the required knowledge and skills and have demonstrated the expertise to train others. These people should participate in train-the-trainer programs so they can learn the skills necessary to become effective teachers. If you don’t currently have people on staff, look outside your organization. Take advantage of programs offered by industry and trade associations, as well as services provided by your valued suppliers.

If you carefully design a well thought-out systematic training program for all aspects of your organization, the training resources are not difficult to identify.

During the current business slow down, develop your people and your organization. Focus your attention on what you can control, not on what you can’t control. Build your team for the future. Invest in the training of your employees to get a higher return on your investment.

About Jerry Scher

Jerry Scher - Founder and Principal at Peak Focus
Jerry’s known by many names -- business builder, executive, conference speaker, trainer, facilitator, coach, mentor. Regardless of the title, the end result is the same -- making people around him significantly more successful. His ability to diagnose business issues and effectively communicate appropriate solutions, that can be acted upon quickly, truly differentiates him.

About Peak Focus

Peak Focus is the only soft skills training, coaching and publishing group dedicated to helping select entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners create sustainable businesses.