Most experts agree that we can no longer compete on price in North America; countries like India and China have a significantly lower labor costs. If we are going to compete in this global economy, we need to focus our attention on quality of service. Consumers are willing to pay more for the experience.
Who delivers the experience? People! Your human capital will play a key role in providing you with the competitive advantage you need to succeed in this global economy. The old idiom is true; people will do business with people they know and trust.
That’s what most businesses need to capitalize on. Developing a culture and training strategy that empowers their employees to deliver quality service and build long-term relationships with your clients consistently.
For a training strategy to be effective you must make a commitment to creating and following through with the strategy; this will require an investment: investment of your time, effort and money.
Investment of time
From creating a strategy, to developing and executing the training plan… it requires time. You can mitigate this by using off-the shelf training programs, however, one word of caution, off-the-shelf programs rarely meet the need of most organization. For training to be meaningful and effective, take the program and customize it to your company needs. This will allow you to leverage off of existing material and reduce your overall development time. Of course, there is a cost. The downside to this strategy is the cost of purchasing the pre-existing program. So, do a quick time / cost analysis to see how long it will take you to develop it on your own versus the cost of purchasing the program and time required to customize it for your needs.
Investment in Effort
You will either need to come up with a training strategy that uncovers your particular needs, design a training plan, execute and evaluate it. My personal recommendation is to stick to your core business and rely on an expert. You wouldn’t do your own taxes? You would go to an accountant… right? Similarly, I recommend you hire an expert to manage this for you. A Certified Training and Development Professional is like a doctor for your business, he/she will come in and do a business health check and prescribe a customized solution for you. Where do you find a Certified professional? I would recommend going to the certification body like cstd.ca (in Canada) and td.org (in the US) and lookup a certified member near you.
Investment in Money
To develop a training strategy and execute it, you will also require a financial investment. If you have a trainer internally, you will need to factor in things like salary, opportunity cost, cost of developing and administering the training (including facilities & equipment). If you’re hiring an external expert, you will also need to factor in their consulting fees, this could involve time required for the consultant to meet with key stakeholders, understand your business, present a solution and then develop and execute it. Think that costs too much? Exhaustive research by Dr. Laurie Bassi, a human capital analysis specialist, found that training and development has a 300% return on investment. This ROI out-returns many other investment options like R&D, hard or capital opportunities.
Training your employees isn’t easy, but it represents the best investment in your business. A qualified professional can help you retain your employees; increase their productivity and your company’s profitability.
Ravinder Tulsiani is the Author of the #1 BESTSELLER: “Your Leadership Edge”, an innovative step-by-step leadership training program that will help you develop a highly engaged and super-charged workforce... get your copy at http://www.yourleadershipedge.ca.