Why Train?

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." Derek Bok

 When scanning your budget, is it tempting to cut the line marked for personal and professional training for your staff? Does it seem like a high cost item that can be trimmed with little impact? I want you to put training in its proper context.

 Think of training as an investment, not a cost. An investment is money spent with the expectation that there will be a return greater than the expense. I would argue that this is the case with the dollars put into a training budget.

 Training has a significant positive impact on the “bottom line.”   The benefits are both tangible and intangible. The tangible benefits are financial.  Lower costs, higher productivity and fewer costly errors will result from a well trained work force. The intangible, while more difficult to measure, will have an enduring impact on the organizational culture.  Your organization can become the employer of choice through its commitment to its people.

            Increased competence.  There is no doubt that education and training lead to a more competent work force. Employees who are better prepared for work will be more effective in their tasks.

            Increased confidence.  When an employee knows what he/she is doing and is good at it, there will be a surge of added confidence.  This feels good to the individual and has a tremendous benefit to the organization.

            Enhanced morale and employee satisfaction: Learning, growing and developing are a passion for people wanting to do well and succeed.  Success leaves a positive mark on a person’s feeling of self worth.  Training and continuous improvement contributes to an individual’s success and an organization’s ability to grow.

            Makes people better able to assimilate change. According to Dilbert,  “Change makes us stupider, relatively speaking.”  One reason people resist change is that they are not prepared for it.  Another is that they do not feel confident in unfamiliar territory. Accompanying change with education takes away some of the uncertainly and reduces the fear.  Reluctance to change will then be abbreviated and friction can be avoided.

            Reduced errors, mistakes and misunderstandings.  Consider education a type of preventative medicine. Time taken to train people will thwart the frustration, tension and anxiety a lack of competence and confidence will bring.  Well trained people make fewer errors and fewer errors increases productivity while lowering both the human and financial costs of the mistakes.

            Brings people together to hear a common message:  It can be very beneficial for groups of people within the organization to come together to share the same training experience.  In additional to building relationships, it can increase esprit de corps and camaraderie that can carry over into the work place.  People who learn, laugh and grow together share a powerful bond.

            Gives participants the opportunity to share experience, ideas, thoughts, recommendations and solutions.  When people come together in a training session, they can discuss what is on their minds and put their collective experience to work to solve problems, work on hypothetical but very real cases, translate the mission into workable plans and generally work on communication links.  It is very empowering to express oneself and have other people listen.  To come together and work toward a solution bonds the individuals to the organization and to each other.

            There is a dramatic and direct relationship between training and increased employee retention.  Turnover is an extremely costly problem.  When employees are given training opportunities, there is more organizational loyally, personal satisfaction and a greater probability of long-term commitment.  When the organization makes an investment in its personnel, it shows a commitment to them.  This will likely be reciprocated resulting in reduced turnover.

All-in-all, professional education makes sense. It increases the skill level of the organization, raises the bar on the overall quality of the human effort, enhances employee loyalty, and generates an expectation of growth, change and development that will keep the organization competitive. It is time, effort and money well spent.

"The illiterate of the future are not those that cannot read or write...they are those that cannot learn, unlearn and relearn." Alvin Toffler

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