Friday, October 23, 2009

Do you have the right focus?

It seems like the HR professional must continue the fight for training and development since it does not appear that the CEO has realized the value of training to the company or organization.

Companies focus on profits, stock prices, and performance, but not on employees. How do we forget to see the value in our people, particularly our key employees, when it comes to celebrating our business outcomes? Studies have shown that companies that invest more heavily in training and development have been more successful in achieving their defined outcomes.

Many of the recent studies have concluded that a more engaged workforce provides enhanced performance and improved productivity. Companies with a more engaged workforce seldom have morale issues. “In the 21st century, our natural resource is our people – and their potential is untapped and vast. Skills will unlock that potential.” (Leitch Review, December 2006) Even with the economic climate of the past year or two, it has been demonstrated that training expenditures were a strong predictor of stock prices.

So where is the hidden agenda? Is any CEO really interested in the productivity and developing the potential of their people or is the real objective of only reducing cost associated with people including the people themselves. I have seen a decrease in revenue of less than 10%, yet the company has reduced its labor forces by almost 30%.

Training the management of any organization will certainly prove to make the organization more effective. People are looking for advancement and an opportunity to develop skills to assist with their upward mobility. They want feedback immediately from their supervisor and they want to work in an environment that supports their development. The social culture that is presented today by companies is very important to the millennial generation. Many believe that a budget for employee development indicates whether a company is in it for the long haul or not.

If we expect to retain our top producers in the management positions, we better make sure that they have the skills and competencies to work with four generations of workers. This ensures that knowledge is shared, cross-training is completed and the work is getting done in a timely fashion. We need to teach our management team that communication is the key to people success and that success can only be achieved if we develop people’s potential and focus on productivity and performance, and not just trying to reduce costs. Reducing training budgets can be detrimental.

We are fortunate that the economy has kept the Baby Boomers in the workforce but how long will that last? It looks like we will be left with an untrained workforce that doesn’t like to communicate with others. It sure sounds like it might not be the best time to be in a management position.

Come on Mr. CEO; listen to your People Developer. Investing in your management team will produce an improved bottom line. If you don’t believe that training and development can affect the bottom line, just look at how the reduction in their training budget prepared Wachovia for the merger with Wells Fargo. Their training budget was reduced by over 50% and their stock fell as much as 95% before the bank finally agreed to the merge. Helping people reach their potential, coupled with effective processes and procedures can certainly affect the effectiveness of the organization.

The time to train is now and please pass this on to the decision makers in your company!