Are you leaving money on the table?

Last month, we addressed how to increase profits through training.  Too many companies leave money on the table by not tackling profit-killing behavior by their employees.  We showed how training can be directly connected to profitability and provided some quick action steps to getting started.   

This month, we want to ensure that the time and money you invest in training pays off…here’s how:

1. Hire the right people!

A bad hire can destroy your business. To achieve the behavior you want, start with candidates who possess the needed knowledge, skills and aptitudes. Then, the training, incentive systems and motivators you’ve created will be much more effective in motivating positive behavior. A way to help this is to identify key outcomes and requirements up front with a job description that details what the job will accomplish, as well as the duties and requirements. Then use that information in your recruitment, interview, orientation, training and performance evaluation activity.

2. Compensate competitively!

It takes a lot of time, expense and effort to find good people. Make sure you keep them by paying a wage or salary consistent with the local market. A solid training program, fair pay and good benefits help keep your employees from looking around or being open to an offer from the competition.

3. Connect performance to the job!

Performance evaluations are often hated by the parties involved. Employers struggle because if there is no proper method of conducting the reviews, it’s difficult to make them meaningful and productive; employees because they are seen as critical and taken personally instead of constructive and with purpose. Most companies don't present goals or connect performance with set goals. Use the job description to identify major areas of responsibilities that will be measured and agree with the employee on specific goals within those areas. This can turn them into very effective tools to build job performance.

4. Build incentives - eliminate disincentives!

You get the behavior you reward, not the behavior you ask for. Compare what you ask the employees to do with how you reward them. Then, eliminate any discrepancies. For example, sales employees that are trained to hit a specific gross margin on their sales but are compensated solely on net sales are likely to deliver more net sales and a missed margin goal.

5. Engage the managers!

Build support of your training efforts by exposing your managers to the training first so they see the benefit first-hand and are not intimidated by any content that might be unfamiliar to them.

6. “No time” is no excuse!

Training is often a blend of many delivery methods. Accept that training will take time and effort in order for it to be successful. When you hear the “no time” argument, turn the argument around. For example, “No time to train? We have no time to stop giving unnecessary price concessions!”

7. Be the training champion!

Make sure learning is respected and rewarded. Celebrate completed training with some type of reward or recognition like a dinner out or a small raise. Designate training as a requirement in job promotions and growth. Be visible when training is taking place to identify any barriers and knock them down.  

These are just the barest bones of a few key factors. In addition to its many training programs, ASA Education Foundation offers several tools to help you implement the activities described in this article as well as the experience to help you at any step of the process. If you have questions or would like to discuss the keys in detail, give us a call at 312-464-0090 or send an e-mail to pfmartin@asa.net.

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