Training is Over. Now What? Training beyond the new hire and maintaining an ongoing skill improvement process.
FocusED Letter from the CEO.
In this edition of FocusED, we have a series of articles that discuss approaches to, and the reasons organizations should/need to not just train their staff upon hiring, but to maintain an ongoing skill improvement process. It has been made clear to us that over the last few decades or so we have moved from a manufacturing to a service based economy. And that means that, unlike tangible products that have specific measures for performance or product quality, much of our perception of value is now based on a subjective assessment of the quality of the delivery process. And, to simplify the definition even further, products that we purchase and the prices we are prepared to pay have a direct relationship to our perception of the connection we, the consumer, have with the service deliverer. Some of us may remember Lexus’ advertisements a few years ago where they touted the precise measure of the separation of the hood of a car from the frame with a ball bearing. Easy to measure and understand as the metric is quite specific and precise. Not quite the same when perception of attitude or knowledge is key to the purchase decision as well as the “experience
Part of the challenge then is that value perception can be a moving target for the service economy. Manufacturing accuracy has a longer shelf life when it comes to perceptions, and therefore on-going training may not be as critical as in a service based business. Consumers get smarter, more demanding and purchase more often in a service based business like restaurants, hotels and other people interactive businesses. Therefore, an organization needs to constantly fine tune the “product” to ensure positive ongoing perceptions. And that is done with regular skill and knowledge focused training.
One of the areas that organizations frequently do well is onboard training. Yes, the first 90 days of employment. Performance is frequently measured during this initial period to determine if the employee is going to “get it right” and therefore stay with the company. After that period though, training frequently falls to the side and in fact is a disposable item during tougher economic times, exactly when competition is more difficult and a returning customer is even more critical. Let’s be candid; the training budget is the first to go when the bottom line is threatened.
These are just a few things that the service industry could consider to improve the customers’ perception of the product that is being delivered.This edition of FocusED is designed to bring to the forefront some thoughts on applied training and how make training an integral part of an organization’s culture and how it does business.