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  Training or Not Training?

By Andrea Belk Olson, MSC and CEO of Pragmadik

In catering, training is a matter of course. No question, a newcomer gets no minimum number of training hours, from processes and procedures to food handling and customer service. On the other hand, many small to mid-sized manufacturers refuse to invest in employee training because they fear that this investment would be lost if the employee leaves. However, this is a straw man argument. Let us address these preconceived opinions.

Do not work out because of employee turnover?

First and foremost, manufacturing is not the only sector with fluctuation. Industries like Food Service have incredible sales rates. Sometimes people do not even complete their first day at work. Why should you train them? Because the restaurant industry knows that untrained employees influence their bottom line. If a server does not know the menu, which ingredients are included in each dish, how the order is entered or adjusted, or how the timing of those orders is effectively managed based on the capacity of the kitchen, it directly affects customer satisfaction. In return, these customers do not come back. Knowledgeable employees have a direct impact on the customer experience, and employees do not magically acquire the required knowledge without training.

Do not exercise because it costs too much?

That's also an interesting fallacy. In our restaurant example, a senior server will often serve as a mentor, where the new employee will shadow them in solidarity for two weeks before being left alone. There are tests on how to handle food, service processes, point-of-service software usage and more before they even stand in front of a customer. There is a standard training process that improves performance consistency and measurement and reduces training costs. Even more cost-effective resources are available to manufacturers, from partnerships with local community colleges to government incentives that provide specialized training. In short, it's about using the resources you have available.

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Do not Train Because You Can Only Hire People With Training

There is no new job that would bring enough knowledge about your internal processes and procedures to start 100% on the first day. Each person, regardless of their abilities, needs a start-up time to adapt to the unique process of this organization. While organizations may hire certain skills such as welding or project management, this does not mean that their previous education or experience was at the quality level you expect. You might be extremely talented in one area, such as Microsoft Project, but not as good at other areas as managing people or communicating. Every person you hire will have strengths and weaknesses. It is the organization's job to identify them and fill in the gaps, if necessary with training and mentoring.

Do not Work Because It Lasts Lots of Productivity Time

While training costs time not spent on revenue-generating activities, it also shortens the time it takes for a new employee to become productive. If you reduce the time it takes to bring a new employee up to date and work in half on your own, you will achieve faster sales for you. According to a US News study, the typical new employee needs 6-10 months to fully get used to a job. During this time, they attract other resources in the organization, they are not as efficient as other employees, and they make more mistakes, which take time and resources to correct them. If you could use training to halve that time, it not only saves money for the organization, but also increases your productivity faster, which affects your bottom line.

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Final Thoughts

While training feels like a burden, it's a great way to show employees that the organization wants to invest in their growth and development. Not every organization can offer their teams consistent increases or bonuses. Why not offer training and support to improve their skills and make them more valuable to the company and to themselves. It's a great way to show that you're ready to invest beyond a paycheck.

Remember that training does not have to be tied to hard skills like software or assembly, but unique soft skills like communication, problem solving and more. It's about knowing the gaps.


About the Author

Andrea's 20-year, field-tested background provides unique, applicable approaches to more creating customer-centric organizations , A 4-time ADDY award winner, she began her career at a technology startup and led the strategic marketing efforts of two global industry manufacturers.

Andrea writes original articles on a range of topics, providing unique insights into leadership, technology, marketing, business development, and communications. Her new book "The Customer Mission" will be out in July 2018. https://www.linkedin.com/in/olsonandrea1/

              

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