Training and Developing Employees

Lack of adequate goals in training is a leading cause of employee turnover.  By committing to a formal new-hire training program, you can lower turnover and raise customer satisfaction and sales.

When looking for areas to cut costs, sometimes business owners overlook the steep price tag that high employee turnover carries.  But according to a recent study, a new hire typically needs 12 to 13 1/2 months on the job to become 100% proficient.  When a veteran employee leaves and is replaced by someone new, your operation loses productivity for months to come.  A business with heavy turnover never catches up.

Studies indicate the average employee turnover-to-cost ratio is 1.52 times salary.  That means if you pay you’re an employee $30,000 a year, your company loses more than $45,000 every time one leaves and is replaced.  Many of these costs are hidden, resulting from declines in sales and customer loyalty.

Since one of the leading drivers of employee turnover is insufficient training, you can have a major impact on your operation’s bottom line by creating goals in employee training.

When your business is short-handed, it’s tempting to treat new-hire training as an afterthought and relegate those duties to an employee who doesn’t seem as busy as the others. In this environment, training has a high probability of failure.

An organization with a training culture treats training as a necessity, not a luxury. The operation schedules training on an ongoing basis and has total support of the management team.

This kind of culture provides results: decreased turnover, greater productivity and employee knowledge, and improved customer loyalty and relations.

Managers should allocate continuous training for each new hire. You can develop a training plan for a variety of staff members, the important part is to engage and train often.

Who Impacts Training?
My business partner, Natalia Garcia and I have seen that the person who has the greatest impact on new-hire training is the supervisor or manager.  We often recommend our clients to have the manager lead the training and to make new-hire training a priority.  As a manager, you need to set the stage. You need to have a formal training plan and schedule. 

It means you can’t expect the new-hire to have 100% understanding of the business after one training session and a tour around the facility.

A common mistake among managers is to place the burden on new hires and to blame them when they don’t have the skills to perform well on the job.  But when a new employee falls short of expectations, often the fault lies with the manager.  They are the ones who really drive the success of a training program.

Getting Started with a Plan
When you start to build your training plan, consider what job duties you value the most. Make a list of the most fundamental skills.  Collaborate and ask for suggestions from your seasoned employees.

Decide what you want to accomplish with the training program, and how much time you will need to allocate for that to happen.  Do you want the initial training to take place in a classroom setting? Or would you prefer one-on-one training that’s more hands-on?

These are all questions you’ll have to answer when you map out your training program. After developing an outline of your plan, seek input from others.

When developing a plan, it’s important not to bite off too much at once. You can’t teach everything they will need to know in one or two meetings.  That’s why it’s crucial to decide what skills they need to know to perform the job effectively, and what skills you would like them to master later.  Remember, stay focused on the most basic skills.  You can address additional skills and training later in follow-up training and coaching.

The bottom line is that you need to build a training culture within your organization. Owners and managers need to understand how crucial this is for their operation.  This will reduce turnover and enhance performance, both of which provide cost savings, create interest and give best results.