My good friend Jay Roszell just posted to his blog – Growth without Pain – “What is the True Cost of Sales Training.” In it he lists off the costs of the training which includes the usual suspects but he goes further and touches on “opportunity costs.” The cost of any activity cannot be measured in a vacuum. You have to recognize that there is a opportunity that will be lost when the employee is not out on the job while they are at training.
This is the same as a “redo” work order. We charge the time of the technician to the job a second time which is applied to an internal expense account. But do you charge that at the man’s wage? The Man’s rolled up personnel cost? or to the customer retail price? or to the retail price and the rolled up employee cost. There is an argument here to be made isn’t there?
Of course this is true about training in general. How much it costs to send employees to outside training events. Whether they be Industry supported such as the AED Foundation classes and webinars and special meetings or to University or Community College extension classes, or a technical or vocational school. I want to go to Jay’s point that without ongoing training and coaching all training will fail.
Too many people graduate from school and decide that – “phew that is over with.” I am sorry to be the one to burst their bubble. I am afraid that is where learning truly begins. As you know I taught “Education” to prospective teachers at McGill University in Montreal – a long, long time ago. The object was to teach techniques to be used in the teaching of a skill or a subject. BUT the most important skill that I thought should be taught was the skill that would enable each student to be able to teach themselves. That would be a life skill that would be theirs forever. It worked with many but not all. That is my failure as a teacher.
But the point I want to arrive at in this blog is that LEARNING is a differentiator for your business. There are customer service measures everywhere that talk to different measures ofr customer satisfaction. Such as “how many different equipment salesman in a year covering your customer caused the customer to be dissatisfied with that company?” Why can’t you keep a salesman in your company? The same is true for instore personnel and Field Service Technicians. In fact it is true for all customer contact personnel.
So why do employees leave? Usually it is dissatisfaction with their boss, or the Company, rarely about money. But I want to suggest there is something else at work here. The employees will leave if they do not feel that the Company is giving them an opportunity to grow. That’s right – the opportunity to grow. How does an employee get ready to take on a more challenging job? Is it all learning as you go or is there some training involved. I know you know that training is involved, and training is expensive. But just think how much more expensive it is to have dumb employees doing the jobs at hand.
So make the investment in training your employees. The AED Foundation used to ask for 40 hours a year. I now want 80 hours each year for each employee. That is right nearly 5% of the employee paid year. But I want more. I want the involvement in the management to ensure that the training “took” and not just blame it on the employee if they revert to old ways a couple of weeks after the training has been completed. That is a cop out. It is MANAGEMENT that must ensure the proper behavior from the employees and learning is just one more of those responsibilities. The time is now.