Making training a natural part of the workplace.
There’s an often-repeated quote, sometimes attributed to Mark Twain: “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” No matter who said it first, here’s what I say:
Everybody talks about training, but almost nobody does anything about it!
For as long as I can remember, we have been talking about TRAINING.
Why are we still talking about it? Because most leaders of this industry go about training the wrong way!
Why TRAINING? The survival of the industry depends on it. It has never been more true than it is today as we watch technology change almost every aspect of our industry— the tools and equipment, the online resources, not to mention the vehicles we work on. In almost every single aspect, today’s cars barely resemble their counterparts of a dozen years ago. Yet, for the most part, employees are expected to understand every aspect of their job while they are expected to train on their own time.
My view is that training needs to be elevated beyond something we talk about now and again to a serious commitment. Training is part of our lives. It happens ever day we train for a new car, a new phone, or a new part of our job. Training should be part of ever leader’s vocabulary.
What do you mean when you say it? I’m not productive? No! I’m not doing a good job? No! Training has to be perceived as a positive force and a way to increase job satisfaction, productivity and profi tability.
How do you spot a need?
As a leader, you need to recognize the signs of a need for training. Here is a list of triggers to wake you and shake you on the topic:
• Employee request: “Someone has got to explain how this new stuff works.”
• Employee survey results: Job satisfaction is affected by how confident employees feel. If they feel their skills don’t meet the jobs they face, how do they express that? No one likes to say “I’m not smart enough.”
• Performance de ciencies: Are the jobs being completed correctly? How are the comebacks? How is profitability?
• The best practice environment has changed. New laws or regulations need to be interpreted to your operation.
• Safety: Is everyone up to date?
• New employees: New arrivals can be shy about asking. Do they get regular education without appearing under-skilled? New managers need training, too, possibly even more so since their performance affects many people in the organization.
• Turnover: Do you have a lot of employees because the previous batch felt like losers and departed?
These indicators (and others) are all critical signs that should jump out at you—MORE TRAINING is needed!
Recognizing the needs is a fi rst step; doing something about it is where you can have an impact. As a manager, that’s your role. Make training a natural part of the experience.
In our next column we will take a look at the benefits that can come out of creating a learning culture. That will include weighing the (considerable) costs of training against those benefi ts. You’ll see that training really is an inexpensive investment that pays for itself in employee morale and retention, production results and profitability.