To Train or Not To Train. The New Spin on Hamlet’s Dilemma

Tuesday, January 4 2022

Henry Ford, the business magnate who founded the Ford Motor Company said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay!” If you are in a leadership role you have probably heard this famous quote at some point in your career.

You have probably also heard these familiar arguments:

  • Training is expensive!
  • My people are so busy right now, they don’t have time for it.
  • They work just fine, why bother?

There is truth to these statements. High-quality training is not cheap; your employees’ plates are always full; and they are doing their job pretty well. Things are good, so why invest money and time into something that is working just fine?

Because “just fine” is no longer good enough.

For more and more employees, a paycheque is far from being the only benefit of having a job. They are looking for meaning, inspiration, and opportunities to grow. And this is what training gives them. Investing in people speaks louder than any declaration: I see you, I care about you, and I want you to succeed!

How do you choose the right training program, one that fits the employee needs in the best way possible?

  • Determine those needs. Talk to your team members and ask in what area they need to be supported the most.
  • One-day workshops are very tempting, and they will fit the bill if you are looking only for an exchange of information. But if your goals are significant changes in behaviour, skill development, and elimination of limiting beliefs, a one-and-done approach won’t help. Changes don’t happen overnight and if you want new behaviours to stick, the 4-6 months program is your best shot.
  • The best-case scenario is that your employees are enthusiastic about the training. But if someone is skeptical or doesn’t feel they need training, should you force it? Maybe – because a highly professional coach and facilitator will find the right approach and be able to demonstrate its value. However, if the skeptic will not come around perhaps they really didn’t need the training or they are not the right person for your organization.

It’s not always possible to calculate the exact ROI for training, especially for soft skills. But if you want to ensure that your customers are well cared for, it is your responsibility as a leader to take care of your people first.