Planning 101: Put Training on a Pedestal
We’ve spoken at some length about how training is often an afterthought for some business leaders. The wheels of change are set in motion, systems are rolled out, and then comes the epiphany about one of the most pivotal parts of the entire process – training.
For others, training isn’t necessarily an afterthought, but it isn’t properly valued. Not really. Often, it’s more about ticking a box to appease bureaucratic business processes. It’s part and parcel of internal procedures.
In fact, for the latter, this unhappy marriage to internal process and compliance is probably partly responsible for training being somewhat trivialised and subsequently devalued.
Training isn’t trivial, though. It’s absolutely pivotal to successful planning and implementation.
Here’s a scenario for you. Imagine you’re in the midst of deploying a new, world-class system like Veeva Vault, which will incur significant capital expenditure. You’ll need to start demonstrating and maximising Return on Investment (ROI).
But, let’s face it: real, tangible ROI will be hard to come by without two key things – an engaged workforce and training. The two are, in fact, inextricably linked. Training is your key to unlocking employee engagement. The statistics speak for themselves, too.
Companies with engaged employees achieve two-and-a-half-times more revenue and double the net income of those with low employee engagement levels. How’s that for realising ROI?
Critical to Change Management
Shockingly, up to 70% of Change Management initiatives fail. Thus, before a change programme has even begun, the odds are already stacked high in favour of failure. You only need to look at the most common causes of failure to understand why training should be the first bullet point on any change management plan.
Resistance to change (from employees), ineffective communication, and a lack of adoption and advocacy are amongst the most common catalysts of failure when implementing change. Training is key to addressing these potential issues, potentially even preventing them in the first instance.
From communication and continuous improvement, to driving adoption and advocacy, Change Management success is inherently dependent on employee training.
Sir Richard Branson once turned the ‘customers come first’ notion on its head, arguing that employees should actually come first. Because if you take proper care of your employees, Branson said, they’ll take care of your customers.
While keeping workers engaged and happy almost certainly requires a multifaceted approach. For decades, training has consistently been identified by employees as being integral to job satisfaction. It’s vital for their professional development.
And as we edge ever closer to a majority-Millennial workforce, that research suggests hold professional development in higher regard than generations before them, training will only become more integral to employee satisfaction.
It’s worth remembering that employee satisfaction also has a longer-term effect on overall morale and staff retention, too.
It’s depressingly ironic that new systems and platforms are invested in by businesses globally to increase efficiency, yet employees not having the know-how to use these new systems properly actually leads to an increase in inefficiency.
Recent research by Silicon Valley-based software company, Intuit, identified ‘scrimping on training’ as a barrier to employee productivity and a breeding ground for organisational inefficiencies.
In fact, the study highlights how employees expected to deliver results with little-to-no training leads to “serious inefficiencies”. If you think about that for a minute, it makes complete sense.
If you adequately train a team to use a particular platform or system, or to follow a particular process, they’re bound to use it/do it better, faster and more effectively. A combination of these factors leads to an increase efficiency across the board, and significant bottom-line benefits.
Put Training on a Pedestal
Often, people have a tendency to put someone or something on a pedestal that they probably shouldn’t, for various reasons. People, possessions or processes that categorically shouldn’t be prioritised. Training, however, is quite the opposite.
Whether it’s Change Management or systems implementation. Whether it’s ROI or ramping up efficiency you require most, training should be taking pride of place as the very pinnacle of your plans.
It’ll encourage effective, two-way communication between your team and their superiors. It’ll break down barriers and resistance to change. It’ll promote and complement continuous improvement. Maybe more importantly, it’ll drive adoption and advocacy amongst those that matter most, your people and their peers.