When corporate revenues are down, budgets shrink. Executives look for ways to cut costs and ‘ride out the storm’.
Cutting training altogether can be a risky proposition. The question shouldn’t be ‘What training expense can we eliminate?” but rather “What training can we provide that would increase our ‘top line’ or reduce our other expenses?”
When one evaluates training from this perspective, the criteria for success and effectiveness become more apparent. Train sales people to be more strategic or more relationship oriented in their approach and revenues should increase.
Train employees on proper procedures and processes and error rates (and therefore waste) go down improving profitability.
Improve their communication skills and time-draining conflicts decrease. Various studies show that almost 85% of employees report conflict on the job. If an employee earning $30K/year wastes just 1 hour a week on a conflict, that’s $721 (assuming no conflict happened during the 2 weeks they spent on vacation.) How many hours do you think employees are losing each week dealing with conflict in your organization?
Managers spend 40 – 60% of their time arbitrating conflict. A manager earning $60K/yr is ‘investing’ about $30K of that salary dealing with disputes. Imagine if that time were instead invested in improving processes, uncovering new opportunities.
Communication problems can be avoided or at least minimized with proper training, yet execs somehow don’t recognize the true cost of conflict because they don’t take the time (or don’t know how) to measure it.
Train managers on workplace harassment and future lawsuits could be avoided. (Avoided costs are harder to measure, but workplace harassment training is required so ignoring it gets even more expensive.)
So, how can money-smart managers and executives continue their training efforts without breaking the bank?
Look for new models to deliver training.
- Rather than flying people in for meetings, use webinars or video broadcasts. Technology is improving and becoming more cost-effective.
- Transition to e-learning, just in time, learn at your desk training. Employees select (or are given) specific modules to help them improve on the job.
- Conduct a workshop using video with a remote speaker/trainer and even dispersed participants saving travel costs.
- Host frequent, short teleconferences to impart information and engage masterminding/problem solving sessions.
- Use social networking Web 2.0 technology to enable knowledge sharing across departments and locations decreasing ‘ramp up’ time, building repositories of solutions from which employees can draw to solve their problems and improving productivity…and profitability.
- Tie learning outcomes to desired business results – and measure them.
Especially in this economy, it is critical that we develop new ways to improve our people, our operations and our profitability.
Training and knowledge sharing are critical roads toward that goal and cannot be abandoned without jeopardizing the future our enterprises.
Don’t squander your upside potential. Invest today.