Category Archives: Talent

A Checklist For Proper Training

A recent workplace training study over the last year resulted in an astonishing fact:

Between 79-80% or workplaces spent less than $1000 in training on their employees

That’s a staggering amount and even more when you break it down further:

  • Given a median hourly rate of $22, this equates to 45 hours of training
  • 45 hours is just barley the first week of work for a full-time employee
  • This is an annual figure, meaning onboarded staff from prior years barely get 1 hour of training and development a week
  • Weekly, the average employee gets less than $20 of training spent on them to develop skills or increase productivity

It’s no wonder that lack of adequate training, development of skills, and creation of new challenges are a consistent metric that appears in most every survey of why employees leave.

Leaders and organizations can do better than this. So as to get our mental acuity focused into the realm of increasing training competency, here is a checklist of items you’ll want to consider in making your training programs effective to better develop your staff and organization.

  1. Onboarding with Clear Expectations.
  2. Onboarding with a Mentor, Big Sister/Brother
  3. Mini-boot camp (or training camp) training (any title will do)
  4. Yearly skills calibration
  5. Micro-learning accessibility
  6. Tailor training methods to meet employees needs, not company’s (or the trainer’s)
  7. Thread Culture, Values, Vision through every fabric of training (yes, the finance team too!!)
  8. Subject ALL staff, from hourly to C-level – to the exact same training modules and sessions
  9. Mix up remote digital training with in-person small groups
  10. Find each person’s needs and match to a training plan
  11. Train every day (athletes and orchestras do it!)
  12. Make training a bigger budget line item – it does ensure a solid ROI if done right
  13. Leadership must by in
  14. Training must be a culture, not a counter-culture
  15. Always work to improve content, engagement, and relevancy
  16. Ask trainees for feedback personally, not through a survey
  17. If you do ask for feedback through a survey (because some of you will), leave open ended comment boxes so employees aren’t penned into a few irrelevant answers that don’t allow them honest feedback
  18. Infuse fun and creativity
  19. Encourage training credit in extra-curricular training that augments and dovetails into the work (thru, local colleges, online sessions, etc)
  20. Reinforce continually to keep skills sharp throughout their career
  21. Have a monthly training focus throughout the entire organization to rally around a core value (customer service, safety, communication, integrity, etc)
  22. Combine learning styles for maximum impact and reach
  23. Include your hourly staff in teaching to build there skills and grow future teachers, trainers, subject matter experts, leaders
  24. Don’t make it boring – mix it up with breaks, change seat locations, content structure to avoid boredom and increase retention

These are just a few of the many ways great companies get proper training done. It’s easy – if you’re willing to make it happen. And it reaps benefits – if you execute it correctly.

If you have other methods of training that you’d like to include, please list them below!!

(image: pixaby)





The 90/10 Leader


For those of you who haven’t heard of him, Jeffrey A. Fox is a management and executive consultant, and a great leadership author. I enjoy reading his books for a number of reasons, some of which are because he succinctly gets to the core point of what he’s saying. Each chapter is a precious nugget of richness, solid in truth and invaluable to those yearning to grow.

While not his latest book, “How To Be A Great Boss” is a read that I have thoroughly enjoyed every page of the way. One of the chapters hits the nail on the head about where your time should be spent among your people. It’s entitled “Spend 90% of Your Time With Your Best People”.

It seems that so much of leaders’ time that they spend on their staff is consumed with the so-called “high maintenance” employees. They are the ones that literally cost the company precious time and money due to their lack of performance, disruptive behavior, or both. A few years back I reported to a C-level executive who confided in me that 80% of their time was lost constantly on 20% of their “problem children”. While they didn’t know how to swing that around (and couldn’t see how they themselves had created this culture that they were drowning in), I used my personal experience to shed some light and help them understand what Jeffrey Fox layed out for the rest of us.

Years ago I knew a manager who was charged with creating a new department for an entertainment company. This department was an offshoot of an existing one, yet it was to run co-dependently at first then become self-sufficient within 60 days. It was an on-the-fly task that was literally dumped on him; part of his benefit package for being promoted.

The staff that he and his supervisory team were given were the employees that none of the other supervisors wanted to invest time in. They were deemed “unproductive” and by jettisoning them to this new area, they were relieved of any further obligation to work with these employees. So this manager had a staff of about 50 untrained and unmotivated employees to start a department with.

He immediately started to recognize three types of employees: those that worked hard no matter what, those that worked well but not always consistent, and those that were never motivated and failed to do the job at all. Unconsciously, he started investing the bulk of his time with the hard workers, as he needed them to anchor the day to day tasks. He then spend most of the rest of his time with the second group, realizing that they had potential but were never properly trained or shown they had value. He did spend time with the unmotivated group, mostly in corrective action, but never let them consume his valuable time.

Well, a peculiar trend started to happen in this manager’s new department. He noticed that the hard workers dug in and worked harder, and set a great attitude and pace for the entire team. He then saw that the middle group felt needed because they were given attention finally, and, seeing the first group energized, started to perform on a pace close to the hard workers. But what the manager saw in the unmotivated group literally shocked him. He noted that many of these workers, previously deemed problematic, started to perk up and step up their game. Their attitude and performance improved remarkably. When asked, they generally said that they had never been a part of such a team before, and didn’t want to be left out, or left behind. Granted, there were a few dissenters that needed to be groomed out, but the vast majority clicked with the team dynamic and their first year brought incredible sales success and profitability that they did not forecast they would attain for at least 3 years.

By focusing on your 90%, Fox states, you invest in the biggest return in your company. If you invested in those underperforming stocks, you would most certainly look for better returns in higher potential stocks. Why should it be any different with your staff? Invest where it counts, and you’ll be surprised at the results. And so will your team.


5 Reasons To Keep Recruiting When Fully Staffed


Years ago when I was an area manager of a regional chain, my regional director and I were talking about staffing strategies. He said something that I disagreed with at first, but came to know the wisdom of in the years that followed.

His advice to me was:

Always be in hiring mode. You’ll never know which person comes across that will build your brand better.

Initially I bucked against that advice. Why, I asked myself, should I continue to hire when I need to invest my time into the people I already have?

Then over time I realized the rationale for why companies should always recruit even when their staffing levels are full:

  • Talent will never slip through your fingers. Like the fisherman who let the big one get away because they went out when the fish were not biting, talent that is not caught will go into another company’s pool. Being able to constantly recruit will help you identify and land the talent needed instead of waiting for the right time for talent to bite.
  • It creates healthy competition internally. This was my biggest objection to this approach. As long as you invest in your people, and are above board with them to let them know that you are always looking for complementary talent, people will be engaged with the efforts to look out for a great colleague. And in those instances when people aren’t fully engaged, you will create a healthy culture that everyone knows to not be complacent. It requires the correct leadership mindset to do this, but when done right it transforms your culture into a productive and supportive one.
  • Your hiring skills stay sharp. By keeping your organizational mindset in recruiting mode, you’ll be more keenly aware of talent when it appears. You’ll also develop better questions to ask instead of going over the same old ones again and again. In addition, you’ll be able to tailor your search to the current needs to the team instead of reacting to a past problem.
  • You’ll build a future talent pool. If you found a talented person but just can’t justify bringing them on board right now, you’ll develop a bench of people that you can easily recruit. Having conversation with them to let them you will indeed be contacting them when the circumstances are there will allow them to be ready to jump aboard when it’s time. Without a depth of talent in the waiting, you’ll be further behind the hiring process when you do need them.
  • It allows you to hire on a dime from pre-qualified talent. This last point sums up the previous two. Many times companies hire after the need is identified, which is usually past the best time to hire and meet that need. Compound that reaction time to the typical hiring process, and it may be at least 4-6 months before a key person is on board. In today’s business climate, that’s too late. Constant recruiting involves ongoing dialogue with candidates and being able to get certain aspects done ahead of time: interview questions, background checks, references, etc. The company that can hire immediately today has huge advantages over those that lag behind in their process. Having this recruiting mentality every day greatly helps you to be in position at any given moment.

Be in recruiting mode all the time. Keep you eyes, ears, and social media open for great talent that you’ll need. It’s an advantage you’ll be glad you have. 

(image: pixaby)

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