Most companies in our industry report they believe in training their people. They may have training facilities for employees and customers to use. Perhaps they even have one or more people on staff driving training and development initiatives. Still, others might assign new hires a few eLearning courses. Those companies are off to a great start!

But are those efforts enough to help our individual companies — and industry as a whole — address the upcoming talent drain we’re seeing on the horizon? The Human Capital ISAT team raised awareness to the ASA Board of Directors at its meeting in February about the accelerated number of retirements our industry faces. There is a huge need to find, select, onboard, develop and retain the talent required to keep us relevant and thriving in the coming years.


A different story

Using other metrics such as annual training spend per employee and training hours spent per employee, our industry results paint a picture that shows a different story. Even though we may think we’re doing well, we have a ways to go. When we compare recent Operating Performance Report (OPR) data with aggregate data compiled by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), our industry falls short:


Make it a priority

How much focus does YOUR organization put on training? Not just anecdotally, but actually. If your company helps pull up our industry average, congratulations! Nice job. How close are you to the “all U.S. companies” benchmark? If your company is lower on the scale, what are some things you can do to ensure investment of money and time in training and development  activities becomes more of a priority?

Some will have a knee-jerk response to those numbers by saying that they are more heavily weighted for large organizations that have large budgets. However, the opposite is true. Organizations with fewer than 500 employees spent $1,888 per employee last year.

No one wants to have employees “take training” that isn’t going to have some sort of payoff. The “cost avoidance gene” is quite strong in our industry, and the thought of wasting time and money on an altruistic but futile effort is not appealing. So, we need to look to invest in training that we know is directly connected to the on-the-job behaviors that we require of our employees. This could pertain to the employee’s current job OR a future job within our organizations.


ASA-U can help

ASA University can help your organization — whether a distributor, a manufacturer or manufacturers representative — make meaningful, relevant and cost-effective learning opportunities available to your company’s employees.

Let’s see those numbers rise next year!

> Need help with your training initiatives? Contact ASA-U at