Part Four: Mentoring & Training
So far, we’ve defined the skilled-worker shortage problem so we can better understand its magnitude. We’ve covered cost justification within the hiring process and looked at setting standards so the type of company culture we want is not left to chance. Mentoring and training may well be as important as all the other topics we’ve covered so far.
This may sound simplistic, but train early and train often. Train when new people come in the door and develop and maintain an environment for ongoing training and mentoring. You have a significant investment in your personnel. Only through ongoing mentoring and training can you expect to gain the return on investment you require. Many individuals in your supervisory positions might not think in terms of return on investment from the people within their departments. This may be a new concept to them and they may require mentoring to adjust to the new thinking.
In the interest of clarity, since I mentioned both mentoring and training, it’s probably worth taking a moment to define the differences. The terms do have elements that overlap. A mentor provides advice and support to and watches over and fosters the progress of, a younger, less experienced person. Training is teaching somebody the skills necessary to do a particular job, especially through practical experience.
Mentoring and training are both important elements in ensuring you get an adequate return on investment from your employees. Even when you’ve hired right and brought the right person into the organization with the skills that you want, there are requirements, particular to your business that has to be trained. As the business processes and procedures change, rather than just assuming the members of the organization will figure out how to adapt, we need to proactively train the organization in those changes. This may sound elementary, and it is. However, all too often, the organization is left to figure out, on its own, how to adapt. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but this can be a source of frustration to your employees which feeds into the desire I mentioned to change companies, as part of an effort to improve their situation.
Consider what will happen when your employees are left on their own to figure out how to adapt to procedural and process changes. Each will do it differently and the overall results will be less than you had planned. By including training as a part of the change process, the benefits you can anticipate will be happier, more highly motivated employees, actively working to the achieve any internal cost targets and customer satisfaction objectives.
While training is an activity that should be provided to every employee, mentoring can be more selective. Mentoring should be considered for:
• Key employees as a part of general recognition and appreciation (more on this in the next segment)
• Employees slated for advancement
• Newly hired or promoted individuals to assist them in performing their new responsibilities, faster and thereby ratcheting up your ROI.
• Individuals exhibiting difficulties, that you feel can still be turned around as opposed to replacing from the street at a higher cost and with the additional learning curve costs for a new hire. You should now be able to see the benefits of mentoring and training in the light of retention, as well as providing a boost to your bottom line.
Look for Part Five: Incentives
Sam Langfitt has more than 40 years of diverse business experience. This experience was gained leading companies overseas as well as domestically, with successful turnaround, M & A, joint venture and strategic partnering activities. He has served on Boards of Directors in Europe, Canada and the U.S. Mr. Langfitt has owned and operated two businesses, including his current practice, advising business, owners, CEOs and Presidents.
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