Training is often one of those things that tends to get shuffled to the back of the line in terms of importance. It will have to wait for more money, more time, a more convenient opportunity for execution. Waiting for the perfect set of circumstances to initiate training is a little like waiting for the perfect time to start a family. If that’s what you’re waiting for, it will never happen.
Training isn’t always a convenient activity, but that does nothing to diminish its importance. In fact, quite the opposite. Done well, training can yield a nice return in the form of more money from greater productivity or new ideas, more time through new efficiencies, and more opportunities for growth and development. Training has a cumulative effect, so it’s no accident that it’s called investing in your employees/business.
The Benefits of Training
Training takes time and costs money, so obviously you want something back. The return on training tends to come in three broad buckets: Enhancements, new concepts, and employee satisfaction.
- Enhancements – Increased productivity, newfound efficiencies, and consistency across teams
- New Concepts – Reshaped processes, new technology, new ideas, and expanded thinking
- Employee Satisfaction – Heightened morale, improved retention, empowerment, collaboration across groups, promotional opportunities and a widened growth path
Still not convinced? Well, there’s risk in not training too. The adverse impacts are often the opposite of the above.
- Stunted Improvements – Productivity ceiling, inefficient operations, greater inconsistencies, and more errors and rework
- Status Quo – Stale processes, aging technology, restricted thinking, and fewer fresh ideas
- Employee Frustration – Ebbing morale, higher turnover, stagnation, and limited opportunities for growth
You’re signing up for one or the other – training or not training – and, based on the lists above, it seems obvious which is the better choice. It goes back to the adage, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” And if the thing holding you back is a fear that your newly trained employee will take their new skills and leave, it’s true they might. But what if they don’t? Time to break out of old routines.
Expand Your Capabilities
I don’t mean to imply that if you’re not training, that you’re doing it wrong (you may be missing opportunities though). It’s easy to say that training is important, and it’s even easy to agree with that thinking. Execution is another category by itself, and I don’t want to gloss over the fact that it takes financial and time commitments. It also means that you’re not getting other things done. That said, those arguments do nothing to diminish the importance of continuing to grow – for you, your organization, and your employees.
Take another look at the list of benefits. Often, attending training allows you to check multiple boxes on that list. The return cannot be overstated.
One of the challenges facing employers today is labor and staffing. Improved retention alone should be enough to grab your attention. But it’s so much more than that. It’s the opportunity to invest in your employees, to help them grow in their abilities and as people. Training will enable them to perform their jobs better, equip them with ideas they didn’t know were possible before, and give them renewed confidence – both in you and in themselves.
The Right Seat
Another benefit of training is the flexibility it affords you. Chances are you’ve already got your employees in a role that allows them to leverage their strengths. But what if you don’t? At least not to the fullest? Or viewed differently, have you given much thought to succession planning? What will you do if your lead programmer or operator retires (or worse, leaves unexpectedly)? Or, as your business grows, and the need for a new role(s) begins to emerge, what then? Whether you’re getting ready for an impending retirement or promotion within your team, or looking to expand the current capabilities of your team, training plays a critical role.
What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You
One of the best ways to illustrate the benefits of training is to talk about it from the perspective of what you know and what you don’t know. Those are easy categories. You either know it, or you don’t, but at least you’re aware of it. But what about the third category, the one that consists of the things you don’t know you don’t know? The things you’re oblivious to. These are the things that live in your blind spot. You don’t even know that they’re possible, because you don’t even realize they exist.
Wait. What? There are things I don’t know I don’t know? And if I don’t know about them, how can I possibly begin to learn about them? Before you begin to panic, there are a few simple steps you can take. Have you considered attending a Digital Stoneworking Expo? Park hosts multiple DSEs throughout the year and across the country, providing a platform where fabricators can network and share ideas. It’s collaborative opportunities like this that expand your knowledge by learning from others. They start to peel the “onion” on what you don’t know.
Expand Your Horizons
There are multiple paths to expanding your knowledge and stretching your thinking, but attending training and/or collaborative, industry events are a couple of good ways to start. At Park Industries®, we’re so much more than machines. Let us know what your pain points are, and how we might be able to help craft a plan with you. Here’s to broad horizons!
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