He has no idea.
There are some people who should not be included in your planned training program. Your first clue to the employees who should not participate are those you believe most need the training. When you decide it’s time to do some training, take a close look at this group before you waste a single cent.
There are some who will benefit from your training investment and some who will not. The employees displaying the greatest deficiencies are typically the ones who will get the least from training.
It may seem odd to not train those with the greatest need, but it makes sense if the reasons for the deficiencies are considered. I want to explain one of the biggest myths about business training and give you, the manager, a means of maximizing your training investment.
Start by considering why you want to conduct training for your employees. There are two reasons to spend the money on training. You either want to correct a deficiency or you want to take your people to a higher level of professionalism. Professionalism could mean productivity, efficiency or courtesy. If you are willing to invest in good people to make them more efficient, you are an excellent manager. If you spending money to correct shortcomings, think deeper.
Picture the people in your business who most need training. These people can be divided into two groups. The first group is made of employees who simply lack knowledge that would help them better do their job. But the other group, most of your “most need training” list, is made of those who do not really care about their work. When thinking about training your people, you have to consider those who need and those who will benefit from your investment.
You can make that separation by looking at attitude. If a negative or lazy attitude is the reason for an employee’s sub-standard performance, you won’t fix the problem by teaching them “skills” unless the attitude is fixed first. Let’s look at some examples to clarify this.
Sally works in customer service. Sally is horrible with people. She seems to say things that set off arguments with customers. You can’t really put a finger on it because she seems nice enough. It’s hard to correct her because it’s hard to put into words what she’s doing wrong when she talks to customers. If you try to correct her she’ll be defensive and have a good argument about why she said a particular thing to a customer. She’ll tell you things like, “I thought were supposed be sure the item is really defective before we agree to send a replacement” or “You told us to do it that way” or “I’m just doing what I was told to do.”
Sally follows the letter of the law but not the spirit. Sally has an attitude problem. Providing Sally with customer service training will not improve the service she provides. She’ll learn some new phrases but her attitude will not change. Jerry, who also works in customer service, is great with the customers. When Jerry is on the case, you know the customer will be happy. However, Jerry tends to stay on the phone too long. He doesn’t handle nearly as many people per day as Sally. Sally likes to point that out to you if you try to correct her on anything. Which would benefit from customer service training?
Bill works in assembly. He is supposed to wire 30 M95Bs per hour. Bill wires exactly 30 units every hour but his units have a high rate of failure. His workmanship isn’t the best. When you discuss this with Bill he tells you, “you wanted 30 units per hour and I wire 30 units per hour”. If you ask Bill if he might benefit from some advanced training he replies, “whatever.” Jack who also works on wiring M95Bs only completes 20 units per hour but his units are always flawless. On whom should you spend your training dollar?
Before spending money on training consider who has the most need and then look at who will most benefit. Managers often spending training dollars on people who are in the wrong job. Why send someone who doesn’t work well with people to customer service training without working on the attitude problem first? Why send a poor supervisor to management training? If the basic skill and inherent desire to do the job well is not part of the person’s core, knowledge alone won’t improve their performance. When dealing with problem personnel, you have to fix the attitude, put them in a different position or get rid of them. Don’t be afraid to fire bad employees. They cost you far more than the remotely possible unemployment claim. And if you are putting a training program together, find a trainer that can work with attitude adjustment as well as skill training. A trainer that can work on attitude and teach a skill set is worth his weight in gold.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog