We’ve established in the previous column that offering ongoing, daily training and education is an essential part of any corporate culture, and is management’s responsibility.
Yet, people often are hired, thrown into the deep end and expected to succeed. Despite wanting staffers to learn, companies often leave professional development to employees to figure out.
According to a Linkedin Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees globally say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development.
Yet, 49% of those responsible for learning and development at companies said their No.1 challenge is getting managers to make learning a priority for their teams.
As a result, skill gaps – between what managers need them to do, and what they actually can do – persist.
Untrained people lack the knowledge and skills to follow company processes, which affects customer interaction and sales. Management may believe it has fantastic people when in reality the people don’t fully understand the company or its processes. In the end, the employees, dealership and customers all suffer.
Training and education are most effective when clearly defined and planned. The first step is to identify needs for the dealership, specific departments and individuals. Then build a vision.
Take a holistic approach. Consider where your business has come from, where it is now, and where it is going. Talk to your people, measure their performances and identify who needs to hone their skills and who needs to be cross-trained.
Keep in mind that a one-style-fits-all approach won’t work; training must be geared to each employee’s individual learning style, level and needs.
Taking an individualized approach gives employees choices in how they tackle their own learning.
Include training for skills such as communication and leadership.
Communicate your vision, and then demonstrate how the training and development aligns with business goals.
This gives the program purpose and helps people understand why training is important. Ensure the training and development is relevant to the job. The training content must include quick takeaways that people can apply immediately.
Develop a benchmark and monitor the effectiveness of the program. Schedule time to review, monitor and analyze progress on a regular basis. This allows you to be agile and shift strategies as needed.
Many organizations invest in annual training only to find they are not applying new concepts. Post-training reinforcement is an essential part of making the program work. Without reinforcement, studies show most people forget what they learned within a week.
Reinforcement can take the form of small lessons or activities that support a core concept or skill.
Make a commitment and stick to it. Most managers start the day with a plan. This should include some type of training or coaching. But too often, things change, problems pop up and managers get side-tracked. And the part of their plan that usually gets put off is training.
A question every manager should ask is, “Have I clearly communicated my vision?” Check back next month to find out. (Richard Libin, left)
(This is the second in a series focusing on management’s responsibility to develop staffers.)
Richard F. Libin is the author of two books and the executive vice president of Automotive Profit Builders, a firm that works with sales and service departments on customer satisfaction and maximizing gross profits through personnel development and technology. He can be reached at [email protected] or 508-626-9200 or www.apb.cc.