Training for Better Business

Posted by on February 14, 2011 in Business Management, Business Start Up Advice [ 2 Comments ]

Training-for-Better-BusinessIn the modern workplace, training is an absolute essential for business efficiency. Things like sales training can make the difference between profitability and actual business failure. This situation puts some businesses on the spot, requiring them to have a fully trained workforce with properly integrated skills, and that’s not necessarily easy.

Business training issues
The fact is that in-house and on-the-job training can only do so much. If other staff are required to “baby-sit” trainees, it can effect valuable workflow. Added to which problems, most businesses simply can’t provide a full spectrum of necessary training internally. Even with in-house trainers, much of the necessary training will have come from external sources.

The critical factor in business training is that the training must be structured. By definition, best practice training must begin with basic skill sets and progress systematically to develop advanced skills. That’s can be difficult in any organization, where skill and experience levels are naturally variable. In many business environments, it’s quite common for some people to be highly experienced and fluent in some roles, and yet have only basic knowledge in other important areas of the business.

The problem in this situation is that despite the general multitasking concept and basic orientation, staff tend to specialize in particular roles. A staff member doing counter work, for example, may have little or no actual sales or administration experience. This means that that staff member is operating at approximately 30% of the efficiency that full integrated training and experience would provide. It’s not a good return on investment for businesses, and it’s a surprisingly common occurrence, even in major corporations.

Training programs
Many businesses now outsource their training to professional consultants to ensure a good mix of skill sets and guarantee comprehensive, organized training customized to meet their needs. Customized training is based on the idea of defining necessary roles and providing a good comprehensive mix of training to integrate skill sets required in the workplace.

Every business is different in some way, and naturally the groups of individuals in every training group are different. Training programs provide a solid common knowledge base for all staff. This training is in effect the de facto “rulebook”, the knowledge all staff members are supposed to have. This is a mutually supporting knowledge base, because what one staff member knows and understands can be passed on to other staff. In any business, with any required skill set, this is best practice and it’s also the most reliable way of ensuring that staff have access to practical knowledge on the job when they need it.

For example, basic customer service training is a “same page” type of training. All customer service staff receive this training, and in the workplace this common knowledge base effectively enforces best practice customer service. Having a common routine and common knowledge at the coalface in any form of business naturally reduces mistakes and sets standards.

Getting help when you need it
If your business is regularly finding problems involving staff skills, knowledge and performance standards, these problems indicate a significant lack of integrated skills and at best a fragmented knowledge base. It’s very strongly advised to seek assistance from a training consultant, ASAP.

Tim is an Australian freelance writer and journalist. He writes extensively in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US. He’s published more than 500 articles about various topics, including sales training.

2 thoughts on “Training for Better Business

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  2. avatarJ. Mark Walker

    Great advice! However, the leader’s attitude about the training is very important. When people are “sent” to a training program so they can be “fixed,” and the leader is not involved by participating or leading the training him or herself, you may be creating a problem. I have seen managers say, “Forget what they said in that class. This is the way we do it here.”

    It is my recommendation that the sales leader attend the training with her or his people, for example. Then she or he should coach the sales team during ride-alongs, meetings and further training, to insure the adaptation of information learned in that course.

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