I always find it a shame that when times are tight a company’s training budget is often the first to suffer. Training should never be seen as just a cost. When planned and delivered correctly to the right people, it can be one of the most important investments you make.
We look at training as a way to develop competency and drive greater efficiencies. We promote training internally and externally as an investment.
Put simply: more competent workers have more confidence in their roles. As a result, they are prepared to deliver more value, including offering better insights to improve processes or develop more efficient ways of doing their jobs.
But taking that first step can often be the biggest hurdle. After all, it costs money to temporarily shift people away from their jobs and pay for travel. But the feedback we see from our customers and partners after a training experience often shows us they found the experience valuable. One customer recently explained to us that had they known how good the training would be, they would have sent more people. That’s more people out of the plant and office and more travel costs. But still they felt it was worth it.
Driving competency also plays a critical role in retaining talent. If employees know their company is investing in their professional development, they are likely to be more loyal to the organization. These days, with a more mobile workforce and the idea of jobs for life becoming a thing of the past, employee retention is vital to maintain your capabilities and competitiveness.
One of my favourite expressions that I turn to regularly is “grow the person to grow the business”. For me, you have to persuade people: if you’re not upskilling your team and business is suffering then something needs to be done.
It’s not rocket science. Put simply, if you put knowledge in you get skills out. And if you exploit these skills, you gain greater efficiency, which drives profits, which gives you more scope to grow your training budget… and the circle is complete.
The automation industry is a great example where training is essential. As technology advances, products become more sophisticated and greater capabilities are introduced, so we provide a comprehensive training regime designed to help our customers keep pace with these new developments.
Our Rockwell Automation TechEd event is one example. We offer a wide range of presentations and labs that are designed to both educate and inspire.
TechEd is an accelerator, and the real knowledge comes from the attendees going back to their companies and applying what they have learnt. After you help people over the first bump, they have much more confidence to help themselves because they now know what to look for and how to take those first steps. We like to think that we provide the catalyst, and the attendees can do so much more. And if they hit another bump in the road, we can help there, too.
I will close with another argument that I often use about training: can you afford not to?
I’m not trying to justify the cost of the training with this question. What I am trying to illustrate is the positive impact training can have on the bottom line.
Wouldn't you rather make sure your employees realize their potential so they make your team or organization stronger? And wouldn't you rather make sure you can keep them so you don't spend resources recruiting and onboarding only to have to do it again when they leave?