Many companies view training as a “nice to have.” They think it is important to create an attractive, engaging training program for new hires, and that it might be good to have a focused course that teaches employees how to perform certain tasks or use certain pieces of company technology. Once those companies cover the bases by offering training in just a few areas like those, they turn the page and start to think about other realities of doing business.
But what if . . .
What if those companies thought about employing training in a larger, more strategic way to improve performance in a wider range of business activities? What, for example, if they stopped to consider that a $10,000 investment in training could net a 10% increase in the sales made by each salesperson, resulting in an additional $10 million in annual sales revenue? What if they stopped to think that a similar investment in training could result in a 10% increase in the accuracy of order filling, and would save $1 million a year?
In short, what if companies made the connection between training, performance, and the bottom line?
And what if your company did? You see, training offers you the potential to dramatically increase profits and performance. Here are three tips to get that to happen for you.
1. Start with the End in Mind
Chances are you know where you would like to see improved performance or profits in your organization. But specifically what would those improvements look like? Would there be fewer defective products, better company reviews online, a 15% increase in the sales of one of your product lines—specifically, what?
Specific goals begin to emerge when you consider questions like those. They help you define the specific business challenges and goals you need to address. And once you have defined those issues and goals, you can begin to determine if there is training that will assist in reaching them.
2. Develop an Appropriate Curriculum
Your curriculum should be designed to teach people the skills they need to learn or improve in their specific role.But developing an effective curriculum is a bit more complex than simply defining skills. It should be right for the people in the roles who are performing the tasks and jobs that your training addresses. And it should be designed to have a focused, specific impact on the business items where you are trying to “move the needle” and bring about change.
An appropriate curriculum is also about more than just a list of skills and behaviors. It should consider how those lessons will be delivered—by a live training presenter, on phones or tablets, enlivened with games and exercises, in short “chunks” or longer lessons, for example. Creating an effective curriculum depends on considering who your learners are, where they are, and how they would prefer to learn.
3. Measure Results, then Tweak and Adjust Your Training Accordingly
At this point, you loop back to the decisions you made in the first step, when you started with the end in mind. The difference is that you are now going to develop ways to measure the change you have brought about through training.
You might decide to measure how much more each of your retail salespeople is selling on an average sale, whether fewer of your products are being returned, whether your rates of repeat business are improving, whether your online reviews are more positive, or other hard or soft metrics that tell you how effective your training has been.
Once you are measuring, you can tweak, modify your training, and find ways to improve results. But one thing for certain. If you don’t measure and adjust, your training will never deliver the results it is capable of.
Start with the end in mind, develop an appropriate curriculum, then measure results and adjust your training. That is a simple, yet powerful, approach to improve company performance. And you can use it to improve more company performance that you have probably stopped to consider.