One of the first reactions to an economic downturn is for businesses to cut their staff training budget. Maybe you are a business owner and contemplating that same strategy.
This short-term gain will invariably result in long-term pain. Here’s why:
- The cost of replacing staff is astronomical and the best organizations today focus on staff retention. This is especially true if your company has become lean and mean through attrition or lay-offs. The employees left standing are your best…and you need to keep them. Training programs send a direct message to these staff…we need you, we believe in you, and we are willing to invest in you. This always translates into increased employee engagement, morale and productivity. A recession spells fear in the heart of most employees and training counteracts the “I’m next” mentality. Your staff will think…”who would invest in my education if they are going to lay me off?” Job security means less time worrying and more time being free to innovate. If your organizational structure actually allows your staff to dream…training can ignite that spark and turn it into real goals. Achievement of goals is not only empowering for your staff, but it is essential for your business survival.
- Training builds important skills that your employees use to perform their job with a higher degree of proficiency. Well-trained staff are willing to assume more control over their jobs requiring less supervision. This frees up management to focus on other more important tasks. Well trained staff complain less and work more.
Every business owner today understands that is it much easier to maintain their existing customer base than to expand it. Paramount to keeping customers is the grassroots, day to day relationship your staff have with them. Highly skilled employees are more capable of handling customer issues, answering questions, and dealing with difficult customers. This is what really builds better customer loyalty. Theattitudesof your staff will always influence your customers. Training is an attitude booster. Even if you can’t see the immediate benefits of training, the long term benefits will shine through.
- When other forms of staff compensation are frozen,training becomes one of the most desired employee benefits available. This is especially true of the younger generation. Training encourages the development of a culture of learning. If your company has developed a reputation of valuing employee learning, the best people will be pursuing you, instead of you pursuing them.
Just as darkness gives way to the dawning of a new day, there will be an end to tough economic times. Your company needs to be poised and ready for that day. A skilled workforce is a workforce ready to pounce on the future and capture the new opportunities that emerge.