When the going gets tough, companies of all shapes and sizes look to “tighten their belts” to weather the storm. Belt tightening of course means cutting costs and since employees are the largest controllable expense in most businesses, they are often the first to go. Not far behind are company programs deemed nonessential to the business. Training and development programs are some of the first to disappear.
LET ME THINK ABOUT THIS . . .
Certainly corporate training at any level can be expensive, so it only stands to reason business leaders might see training as “bathwater” that can be discarded, forgetting the baby inside. The bathwater is the cost. Is it worth the time and effort to look for less expensive means of training in order to preserve the baby? Why should companies spend any money on training their employees?
Despite the depths of the great recession, corporate profits are at all-time highs, yet there is evidence the baby has yet to return. You may have read of the contemporary “skills gap.” You know, those articles about jobs going unfilled because companies cannot find candidates with the necessary skills.
Spend a little time on the Internet searching skills gap and you will find professional employment recruiting firms who claim the problem is due in large part to no company interest in training people to fill the jobs they have. Recruiters claim more and more businesses want employees who can “hit the ground running.” Why bother spending money on training and development?
However, hitting the ground running can be very dangerous if you don’t have any idea what you are doing, where you are going, and how you are supposed to get there. You can find multiple top ten reason lists for why companies need employee training and development, but when you cut to the essentials, there is only one reason you need to think about to demonstrate the need for training and development. That reason is customer satisfaction.
Employee satisfaction is one of the most frequently cited reasons for training and development. It is true that investing money in training is a demonstration a business means what it says when announcing to the world that its employees are their most important resource.
Certainly satisfied employees will take better care of customers than employees who don’t find much to like about what they do or where they work. But there is more to it than simple employee satisfaction.
Regardless of the type of business, customers want to deal with employees who know what they are talking about. Employees who hit the ground running the wrong way can cause lots of problems. Think of your own experiences as a customer. How frustrating is it to ask a question of an employee who is capable of doing nothing more than pleasantly smiling back at you?
Customers want knowledgeable employees. Customers want employees who know the business in which they work inside and out, backwards and forwards. Customers want employees who know enough to help them solve the problems they are facing, even to the point of suggesting alternatives the customer never considered.
It would be nice if some academic researcher somewhere took the time to sort through the thousands of customer service horror stories for commonalities. It’s a good bet many could be traced back to employees who didn’t know what they were doing. This applies to all businesses regardless of what they do. All businesses have customers of one sort or another. And they all want the same thing — knowledgeable employees. Rather than look for the tiny few who may already understand your business, isn’t it plain old common sense to hire quality people and train them?
Did you ever wonder if something other than price is driving consumers out of your business and into the waiting arms of a competitor or perhaps online merchants like Amazon? Could poor employee training have something to do with it? Would taking the time and trouble to head out to a local business only to be confronted by employees who clearly haven’t a clue about the products they are supposed to be selling have something to do with it?
Balance and Harmony, Inc. collaboratively focuses on the big picture while connecting planning, process, and people. We take an innovative, strategic, and holistic approach to creating a roadmap of success. Melinda has been helping organizations and individuals grow into excellence by creating focus, intention, and balance at work, home, and in life. She was named one of the first 200 in the nation as a Certified Professional Organizer and has a BA in Education. She has presented workshops in over 60 cities in 19 states. Training Topics included: Strategic Thinking, Teambuilding, Leadership Development and Teambuilding, Becoming a Highly Effective Team Leader, The Administrative Assistant’s Conference, The Conference for Women, and Organizational Development. Call today!