“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” - Johann Goethe
Where should we put our focus?
When budgets are tight, training is often the first to get cut. However, now is not the time to scale back on employee development. Now is the time to get the most from a downsized staff. Employees are stressed, overworked and have low morale; how you treat them during these uncertain times makes an important statement about the future. Learning opportunities for employees show you value their growth as an employee and increases employee morale at the same time. Let’s look at what core training competencies you should be focusing on in 2015.
The success of your business during these challenging times will depend largely on how you interact with your customers. While your competition is focused on cutting expenses, you can make a positive impact on your customers and WOW! them. When customers are treated poorly, they look to take their business elsewhere. On the other hand, delivering a top quality customer experience will attract new customers and create customer loyalty with your existing customer base.
Strong management is the glue that holds an organization together during tough times. An effective manager, leader, coach, or supervisor requires a set of skills that will garner the respect of the team and peers, while understanding how to direct a team of people, set goals, light a path, and persuade others to follow. By improving the skill set of managers today, you can develop good managers into great managers and create a strong foundation for a high performing organization in the future.
Although many corporate expenses are being reduced, sales quotas have not. By sharpening the proficiency of your sales professionals, you are arming them with tools to succeed. It is no longer enough to demonstrate your products and services and list the key benefits of doing business with your company. Today's salesperson must integrate a sales process, product knowledge, communication skills, relationships, and play a consultative role to assist buyers in solving problems and filling needs.
How can we continue training on a limited budget?
Companies today are taking a diverse approach to training. Some recognize the importance and timing of investing more dollars in training than they have before. Others have completely locked the vault to organizational development. Still others have chosen to be creative, implementing a variety techniques in training and developing their employees. Let’s look at how you can offer training and development on a limited budget.
Offer shortened training sessions is one method to stretch your training dollars during the short-term. It is not the preferred method for delivering training, but better than none. For example, you could offer a full-day class in 4-hours or a 3-day program in one. The reduced time in the classroom will cut back on the hours away from the office, while offering an abridged training and skills program.
Empower managers to train their direct employees by providing them with the tools to deliver a weekly or monthly training session. For example, managers could be provided with simplified training documents and PowerPoint slides and asked to lead discussions around keys competencies with their team.
Use internal training staff to deliver third-party curriculum after getting certified. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from various parts of the organization could also be asked to help. For example, instructors could be trained and certified to deliver a few key courses that are focused on the company’s goals and objectives.
Combine various learning alternatives in order to get the most from a limited budget. You could offer a combination of off-line training (reading books and industry magazines), on-line training (video or computer-based) and Instructor-led training (traditional classroom).
Don’t let the economy negatively affect the performance or morale of your organization. While many companies are facing pressures to reduce expenses, successful organizations are taking the necessary actions that will prepare their business for the future. Studies conducted by Forrester Research confirm the importance of skilled and knowledgeable employees within an organization. Successful businesses move ahead of the competition and weatherproof their organizations by implementing effective training and development programs that train their employees for the long term benefits of increased performance, productivity and commitment to the organization.
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