I was delighted to give a brief presentation this morning at a local business breakfast. I was pleased to talk about reasons why I believe that now, more than ever we need to keep on investing in the skills and abilities of our employees. Why now? Am I mad to be talking to you about spending money on training in the current climate? Absolutely NOT! Now is THE time to focus on training.

Why might I say that?

1. You want to be FIT FOR THE FUTURE – if your business is surviving the credit crunch when your competitors aren’t then you want to be fit & ready to pick up the maximum amount of business when times get better again. Will people want the same things from you as they want now or will expectations have shifted? Ensure you and your staff are skilled for future needs – this is an essential time for forward planning. Remember THOSE WHO FAIL TO PLAN ARE PLANNING TO FAIL. Also take note of research that has shown that businesses that train their staff are 2.5 times less likely to fail than businesses that don’t.

2. You may find that there is time available to do training now – if people are currently under-utilised then their time can be well spent on developing their skills.

3. Now is an essential time to motivate, reward and ENGAGE your staff. Well planned and relevant training can do this. You want staff who remain loyal to you and being giving opportunities to develop their skills will help build and maintain this loyalty – it gives a perception of a business with a positive forward focus who are worth sticking with. Be imaginative – what training would your staff enjoy & see value in? What can you do that doesn’t cost too much yet still has a high perceived value?

4. You also want to keep the loyalty of your customers at a time when competition is fierce and other businesses may be cutting their prices – investing in ensuring that EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of your teams has the skills and attitude to place customer service at the centre of their focus will help you maintain that loyalty.

5. Skilled staff save you money. We often challenge delegates on training to make efficiency improvements or cost savings that are equivalent to the training investment – for example if everyone who attends meeting skills training then saves just 30 minutes a week in meeting time that adds up over a year to big efficiencies in excess of the cost of the training. Let your staff be your experts in finding ways to do things better, faster, cheaper and for more profit!

6. Skilled managers will also save you money as they will rely less on external help from people like me in matters like HR!

7. You can tie training in with your Corporate Social Responsibility commitments which is great for PR and brand awareness. We run many training programmes where the learning activities are “real” and geared towards supporting a community or charity project. The learning is high quality, meaningful and relevant, people remember the event for years to come, a charity gets help and you get great publicity- everybody wins!

8. A great reason to invest in training RIGHT NOW is that there is money available to do it! FREE money! There really is no catch – there are pots of funding available to spend on management and leadership development, NVQs, essential skills, bite sized learning programmes, and there is also sometimes money available to pay the wage costs while staff attend the training. Contact Train to Gain to find out more.

Remember that learning can include non work training too – anything that gets people fired up and using their brain cells will be good for them and benefit your business! Any learning increases the capacity of our brains’ functions so be imaginative in how you introduce learning in your workplace. We’d love to talk to you about learning in your business so why not get in touch today?

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