Thursday, October 22, 2009

IF COMPANY TRAINING BUDGETS CUTS ARE HERE TO STAY, WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE TRAINING SOLUTIONS IN THE (NEAR) FUTURE?

Being a professional who develops highly-regarded training programs, teaches training courses and develops trainers, I hate to admit that the forced cutbacks in training budgets due to the poor economy appear here to stay; even well beyond any economic recovery. And the cutbacks are at all levels: individuals, small businesses, large corporations, and even funding for Economic Development Centers and other Not for Profit Business Resource Centers. This does not, however, eliminate the often severe need for training. In fact, the lack of training initiatives and programs in businesses is helping to fuel the economic downtrend. Remember, the strategic goal for training is to increase revenues and reduce costs through improved employee productivity, improved service, increased sales, less employee turnover, better management, and much much more.

So how could the training landscape look down the road? Who will be the first to take the steps needed to put this valuable resource back in play? And, most importantly, who will pay for the training?

Let me start with the first question. I believe there is a two-fold answer to how the training landscape will look down the road. First, training will be provided as a value-added service by business-to-business providers as a means of maintaining and growing market share. Here business-to-business providers will pay for the costs of the training and its customers will appreciate getting this “free” service knowing both its importance and value. The business-to-business provider has economies-of-scale in regards to the training costs since their training “class” will allow for a single training venue to be used across its full customer base. If its customers like this service they will not leave the company for another that is selling the same service a little cheaper. In addition, this value added service will be a tremendous advantage when looking for new clients.

Now, what happens if eventually all of a business-to-business provider’s competitors offer free training? Well, if that company’s CEO believes in himself/herself and his/her company, the training service offered allows for that business-to-business provider to compete for new business aggressively without having to be the “cheapest on the block”. While many, if not all, of its traditional products and services may have little differential with its competitors outside of product/service cost or product/service return, as those of you who read my blogs regularly know, there are effective and ineffective training methodologies as well as effective and ineffective trainers. There will be a difference in the training product offered by each business-to-business provider, thus a way to separate from competitors other than by cutting fees.

The second trend I see is that supervisors will have to take on a greater role in training their employees. While they usually do this now for the tasks and procedures specific to completing work product for the company for which they are employed; they do not train or train but are really not equipped to train on the basics (e.g. work readiness, customer service skills, generic sales skills, ethics, supervisor/management skills, strategic planning, budgeting, etc.).

Here, I believe, training organizations and professionals will evolve from costly full service providers to more of a mentorship relationship. The training professionals will provide training materials, coaching for the supervisor, possibly monitoring of the training process, and be available to answer supervisors' questions. Like the business-to-business providers, this individual will not be an employee of the business for whom he/she is providing the service, but will be a consultant working with multiple clients to keep the cost per client reasonably low. The primary income stream for the Training Mentor will be selling or licensing the training materials (one time expense for the client) which will include an implementation plan (or lesson plans) for the supervisor to follow at work. The coaching of the trainer beyond the initial delivery of the training materials, the monitoring of the training process, and the ongoing customer service function will all be optional.

I know what some of you are thinking. There are already training DVDs, web sites, etc. with training materials that supervisors can use. However, please remember “DTR Inc’s Hierarchy of Training”. The less self-motivated the participant, the more “live” the training has to be to be effective, especially in areas where changing and shaping attitudes is as important as the knowledge being taught. DVDs and pre-recorded web-based training only works well for individuals who strongly want to learn the material they are viewing.

While I answered two-thirds of the questions I posed at the beginning of this blog, I still have to answer who will be the first to take the steps needed to employ this upcoming change to the training landscape. While I cannot pinpoint the specific business-to-business providers; or the forward-thinking companies that will embrace a reshaping of its limited training budget away from ineffective training methodologies to the “training mentorship” approach I have outlined here; I can state that I have re-tooled DTR Inc. and am set up to be the training expert/resource for those business-to business providers and companies to utilize.

I have developed a training lecture series that I see working for banks to provide a competitive advantage via this value-added service that will maintain and grow their business clients. The lecture series can also be used by other business-to-business providers. Here is a link to my new service: http://www.dtrconsulting.biz/dtrbank.htm. In my local market I will perform the lectures. In other markets I will train and manage a local training professional(s) to give the lectures (must be an effective speaker, very knowledgeable about the topic, and able to competently answer questions).

For “Training Mentorship”, I have developed a program I call Custom Scenario Workplace Training. To find out more about this service, go to: http://www.dtrconsulting.biz/dtrscenario.htm.

Finally, to help supervisors teach work readiness skills, customer service skills, ethics and more, I wrote a book, How to Get, Keep and Be Well Paid in a Job. The book received a five-star review from the Midwest Book Review. An inexpensive, informal training program can be used centered on the book. Use the book in a read and discuss format (employees read a chapter and then have a group discussion on the chapter read with their supervisor). After the read and discuss, when everyone understands the concepts, start holding the employees accountable for demonstrating what they learned on the job. I would include that learned skill/behavior as part of the employee appraisal process. For more information regarding the book, go to http://outskirtspress.com/webpage.php?ISBN=9781432725297.

These are my initial offerings, I will be developing more. I am also open to the idea/needs of specific businesses/industries. Send me an email if you have a need: JayGoldberg@DTRConsulting.BIZ (in the subject line please write “October Blog” to ensure your email is not sent to the junk mail folder).

I can also be contacted at 561-842-9942 (voicemail account only, leave a message and I will return your call).

Thank you and see you in my next blog.

2 comments:

raj mangal said...

Really this is very nice collection..This includes lot of interesting information which is really useful to everyone.

Jay Goldberg said...

Thank you.