- Lack of money. Most of those who responded this way had never researched the cost of training or established a training budget. So they didn't really know how much money some form of training would cost.
- Lack of time. Many contractors did not consider the time they actually spend doing on-the-job training and continuous coaching as training time.
- Lack of knowledge. People who have never developed or conducted formal training are often intimidated by the prospect. For those who see the value of training and want to do it; help is out there in many forms. There are private companies -- such as VISTA Training, the employer's insurance company, and even local equipment dealers -- who offer some form of training relating to their products.
- Turnover. An interesting thing Dr. Liska's study turned up was that employers who had an ongoing training program reduced employee turnover by an average of 18%. It seems that employees who viewed their employer as caring enough to train them felt more valued and were more inclined to stay with their current employer.
- Workforce too small. The study didn't say what "too small" was, but if one employee in a four-person operation had an expensive or fatal accident due to not being trained in how to correctly or safely perform their job we can probably conclude that no workforce is "too small" to benefit from training.
- Past efforts not effective. The study didn't indicate what "past efforts" consisted of or what the "effectiveness" measure might have been. But we suspect that past efforts might not have been well thought out and planned; and measuring effectiveness requires establishing a starting point to measure progress.
- Hire only trained workers. Trained in what, by whom and how? What verification existed of prior training or was the good-faith word of the new hire who claimed to be trained because they wanted the job simply accepted? Did prior training involve the policies and practices and rules of the new employer? We need to evaluate some of these "trained workers" before we pass judgment on this one.
- Lack of employee interest. The study clearly indicated that when the employer showed a good-faith effort to do training the employees responded in-kind.
The above comment is based on the following little gem that practically jumped out of this study:
"Training results in an average rate of return on investment of 2:1; an average increase in productivity of 18%; and average reduction in employee turnover of 18%."
"The study concludes that many contractors aren't committed to training their employees because they aren't aware that such a program "will result in a positive return on investment for the company."
"The study found that contractors who do train effectively invest an average of 2.5% to 3% of their payroll to train all levels of personnel. In return, they are more effective, productive, and less hampered by absenteeism."
And the final gem that came out of this study was: "No studies were found that suggested there are any disadvantages to training."
This is all sort of interesting, but if you've never had a regular training program in your company the above information is not intended to make you think you can just say, "Okay, I'm sold! Let's go train our employees!" When it comes to training there are no magic wands that will just make it happen. Effective training is highly dependant on the trainer. It has been said; "If you want to really understand a subject …teach it!
Teaching can be pretty intimidating if the teacher is not well prepared. And if the lessons taught are going to be effective they need to be:
- Relevant to the audience,
- Well presented, and above all,
- Honest and believable.
The supervisor with 30 years of on-the-job experience might have forgotten more than most of these new hires will ever learn. But if the experienced supervisor doesn't have the skill to effectively transfer that knowledge everyone's time is being wasted.
Regardless of the size of the company seeking outside specialized help might be the best way to meet internal training needs, improve employee morale, and reduce employee turnover and increase work safety and efficiency. Also, having good training records in the event of an accident may save a lot of grief from OSHA and the insurance company.
So what's the big deal about training? If you can believe the study by Dr. Liska the big deal is getting a 2:1 return on an investment in training. There aren't many investments you can make that will bring that kind of return to the bottom line. The trick is to do it right and for that it might require some outside help. Don't be shy, pick up the phone now and start the process before the season gets rolling.
Ray Peterson and VISTA Training offer creative, high impact training programs and services for a variety of construction equipment. For more information call 800-942-2886, visit www.vista-start-smart.com or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.