Training is an investment, not an expense
The world of organisational development is constantly evolving. We spend hours reading (and writing) about how to get the best results from our people, and just when we think we’ve got the best approach nailed down, some bright spark tells us we’ve got it all wrong.
I’m not here to tell you that you’re on the wrong track (well I am sort of), but it’s worth taking a step back to understand where our motivations lie. No one can really say that they’re 100% driven by some benevolent desire to change their employees lives through learning and development, as much as that’s a nice thing to say in your corporate mission statement. For the most part, we’re all motivated by the dollar value attached to every endeavour we undertake, and training is no different.
When it comes to training...
The baseline of effort for most businesses tends to start with compliance. The big stick is always going to be an excellent driver of decisions and investment. Governments know this only too well, as they’ll only make polite suggestions about training your people for so long before those suggestions become legislation. That’s why the vast bulk of learning and development expenditure in Australia is directly linked to compliance in one form or another.
The next step up is training for specific processes. Where workers used to learn on the job, and if need be they were paired with someone more experienced in an apprenticeship model, the pace and efficiency required by today’s organisations doesn’t allow any room for human error. To safeguard the processes that drive competitive advantage, organisations will invest heavily in process training their people before they ever actually hand them the keys.
And finally, once we’ve covered off compliance and processes, we need our people to be experts in the products and services we deliver. Regardless of what our competitors are offering, and what our customers might want, we relentlessly drill our employees on how to design, build and sell these products and services more efficiently.
Once we’ve added up the costs of training for compliance, processes and products, the bill is normally enough to make your average CFO’s eyes water. It’s no wonder there’s a constant push to drive greater efficiency in training budgets. Attempting to slip in a new training program becomes like asking for another ladle of soup. However, in today’s fast paced economy, to stay competitive and relevant in the marketplace, every business needs to be looking at how they’re building greater capacity for innovation and agility in their workforce.
I really don’t want to pay the training bill. Is it worth it?
While it’s important to prepare your people for today’s operating conditions, it’s vital to take a longer view of the skills and knowledge they’ll need to power your business in the future. Rather than waiting for governments to tell you how to spend your training budgets, or waiting for your competitors to dictate improvements in your processes and products, you need to begin driving your own learning agenda.
That starts by developing a learning culture where people are encouraged to see beyond just the horizons of your business. It’s about asking decision-makers to stop looking at learning and development through the short-sighted need to drive efficiency, and helping them to see that the growth of their people will inevitably lead to the growth of your organisation.
About the author
Brennan has delivered exceptional value to the companies he works with by facilitating business growth, increased market share and operational efficiencies. Hundreds of people have benefited from strategies and advice provided by Brennan, while business leaders are empowered to make informed decisions. If you’d like to discuss how your business can develop a competitive advantage by building a learning culture, please feel free to contact Brennan at firstname.lastname@example.org.