It is common for organizational leaders to proudly proclaim that their employees are their most valuable asset. However, surveys consistently show that a significant number of those same employees would respectfully disagree! If indeed employees were the most important asset, how come the # 1 issue consistent and across the board is the lack of engagement!
Sit in on the monthly meetings of the most senior leaders in any organization, or at of the board of directors. Is the lack of engagement on the agenda? Is there a matrix of morale that is brought to their attention? Certainly, they look through the KPIs to see if they are on budget. And, these numbers are presented accurately each month. But are employee’s represented? Would any of the meeting participants know if the employees are happier, more productive, more engaged, feeling more accountable? Certainly not. The key stakeholders are shareholders, managers, customers and then lastly employees. As such, employees are typically either ignored and reflected as a cost item in the profit and loss (income) statement and nowhere else.
So, what happens when business is bad. Cuts become the order of the day. How? Layoffs and reduced spending on training are typically the first on the chopping block. And, what is the outcome of such actions? Poor morale, fear, unwillingness to embrace change, increased absenteeism and tardiness.
Not the intended or desired outcome.
When times are tough, and things are quieter, it’s a great time to invest in training and development. It sends the right message to employees – that you’re important and we’re investing for the future. But, how do we fund training in a responsible, cost-effective way?
Here are some tips to get a BIG payback on training dollars:
Rule #1: Provide training only that is directly related to your organization’s core competencies
Rule #2: Ask the trainees why they want to attend a particular training program? What are their learning objectives? What are they intending to do when they come back? How do those actions relate to the team’s immediate goals?
Rule #3: When the trainee returns to work show interest in what they have learned. Offer to act as their coach as they move forward with implementing their new skills
Rule #4: Ensure that the trainee provides a summary and key implementable ideas to their team. A lunch and learn session adds to the importance of the learning.
Rule #5: Take advantage of the many ways of learning that have the biggest impact on performance. Many of these costs little. Some of the best are to:
- provide challenging assignments
- provide regularly scheduled coaching that have specific goals
- offer mentoring linkups with other leaders in your organization
- reinforce positive behaviors through regular informal feedback
- create team self-directed lunch-and-learns, rotating facilitators within the team
Rule #6: Match the learning opportunity to the individuals learning style. Everyone learns differently. And each individual has a different level of motivation to learn. Some are highly self-directed and others less so. Those who are, can be given more freedom to participate in user-driven activities. Those who are less self-directed need learning opportunities that are more instructor lead.
Conclusion: If employees are indeed your most important asset, treat then as such. Nurture, guide and invest in them.