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The Incredible Cost of Insufficient Training

Our nation is in chaos everywhere because of a needless death. One of the issues raised in the tragic George Floyd incident in Minneapolis was that the training for the officers was not sufficient. How many times have we heard devastating stories where people have lost their lives or suffered permanent harm, and one of the contributing factors for the victim and/or the helpers is often shown to be this troubling lack of adequate training.

As I have watched, asked questions, and listened, I am amazed at the lack of training in organizations today—especially for the significance of what people are asked to do. However, the best thinkers have always known the importance of training. In the 600s, Archilochus said, “We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”

Some leaders fear making an investment and losing it. What happens if we train and develop them and then they leave. The question that is bigger and more impacting than that is “What if we don’t train them well and develop them and they stay? Your whole organization will suffer.

If you were given the choice between two different pilots—one was trained, the other not—which would you choose? Of course. But what if there was no “up-front” cost for the untrained pilot? You still wouldn’t do it? Why is your business any different? The stakes in the business are also extremely high. Yet many business owners do not recognize the importance of employee training.

Most business managers wouldn’t hire unqualified employees. But many of them do employ under-qualified workers. Sometimes employees become under-qualified due to changing technology or the development of new methods. Don’t get me wrong; training does come at a cost. The two biggest resources used for job training are time and money.

We make an excuse not to train. “We are too busy to learn something new right now.”“We just don’t have the money to pay for training.”

It is true, training costs. But training is not simply spending money. Training is an investment and it requires time, money, and materials. Often, third parties are needed to conduct job training. It adds up to missed time and unbillable hours, but there will also be additional costs.

Businesses often neglect to train employees because former past training experiences didn’t give them the results they anticipated. Sometimes the training was done poorly, or the topics just didn’t hit the mark. Failed training comes at a high cost, and businesses often don’t want to take that risk.

However, not training your employees also comes at a cost, and it is a long-term, cascading loss. You continue to lose through the people they impact.

There are many reasons to train workers:

1. Untrained Employees are Unhappy Employees. Employees who feel inadequate, underachieving, or unsupported are unhappy. They aren’t satisfied in their work, causing them to underperform, make mistakes, and not care about their work product. The business loses in time and money.

2. Untrained Workers Have a Low-Quality Production. The quality of their work is lower and of less value. Performance quality is low.

3. Untrained Workers Are Inefficient. More time, money, and effort are spent when employees aren’t fully or properly trained to perform their tasks or to fulfill their responsibilities. It takes them longer to do the work, and they have many costly do-overs, or they simply turn in poorly done work.

5. Lost Time/Money Due to Mistakes/Increase in Miscellaneous Expenses When an untrained worker makes a mistake, the time and materials used are lost. The work then has to be done again. Or worse, the inadequate product was delivered to the client.Miscellaneous expenses are harder to track, but they mount. It takes time to fix mistakes, more materials cost money, and more time is taken rechecking the work. If it were done correctly the first time, these costs wouldn’t be there.

6. Insufficient Staff Training Means Lost Customers. Untrained employees can cause many of the mistakes listed, and inefficiencies will eventually cause your business to lose customers.

7. Untrained Employees May Put You at Risk. Companies have a responsibility to ensure their employees work in a safe and welcoming environment. Though proper workplace behavior may feel like something people inherently know, companies can be proactive in training employees to maintain a safe and inclusive workplace. Ethics training is very valuable as well. We have a litigious society, and you can only protect yourself from lawsuits if you are proactive in training.

But the most important reasons to train are positive. Employees are more likely to feel valued, secure, and capable when they are trained. They work better, work happier, and the entire organization gets a lift. Customer service and satisfaction increase as well.

Customers or clients look at employees as representatives of the company, experts in their fields with the ability to deliver information through dialogue. When a customer takes the time out of their day to wait on-hold or schedules a session to speak with someone, then it is critical that employees are knowledgeable enough to have a helpful conversation. It’s okay to say, “I don’t have the answer, but I’ll get back to you.” However, it’s far better to be able to communicate an in-depth understanding with answers. Empowering every employee to handle customer conversations and questions effectively has a remarkable impact on customer satisfaction. In fact, research says there is a 16% increase in customer satisfaction when a customer connects quickly with someone who can help them.

Training your employees may well be the best investment you make this year.

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