How much do you invest in staff training?
When I complete CSA's (Customer Service Analysis) with our new clients, it is common for the answer to this question; "How much time and money do you invest in the soft skill Professional Development of your staff?" to be "Aarrhh...uuummm......not sure, uuummmm it depends."
It is a big question that can have a layered answer but it's not uncommon for a business that doesn't have a dedicated learning and development position/department, to have no real budget or plan in relation to the soft skill development of the team.
Soft skill training (people skills) is often considered an expense and like all expenses, unless you can prove immediate value, it can easily be reduced or cut from the budget.
Budgets are great for keeping us on track and achieving goals so if you're a bit "um, err" about creating a soft skill training budget, consider both the direct and indirect costs as well as the benefits:
The direct costs of soft training may include:
- an external training provider's fee
- the cost of training materials, if they are not included in the course fee
- travel and accommodation costs for participants
- training materials.
The indirect costs of soft skill training may include:
- participants' wages, including all on-costs (e.g. tax, superannuation and workers' compensation)
- the cost of temporarily replacing staff, or the cost of productivity loss while they are being trained
- the cost of management time spent setting up the required training
- any administrative costs and utilities related to the training activity.
The benefits of soft skill training can include:
- Increase in employee job satisfaction and retention
- Increase in customer compliments and referrals
- Improved productivity
- Decrease in staff disagreements and turnover
- Reduction of customer complaints
- Increase in staff motivation to solve problems
If you want help determining not only how much to invest on staff training but also on who and when so you get the biggest 'bang' for those wisely budgeted training bucks - contact us.
By Cate Schreck - Director of LIghtbulb Training Solutions and Author of "The A-Z of Service Excellence"