Today, many operations are struggling to be unique. However, they are using the same tools, equipment, chemicals
and supplies as everyone else. Let us ask an important question: “Why are you not spending an equal amount educating and training your team as you do on purchasing such routine items?”
You might answer in response: “We can’t afford to spend that kind of money training people; they don’t stay long enough for it to pay off.” If this is the way your operation perceives of training, then you have a different issue that will be important to resolve in order to move forward.
However, this excuse is only one of the excuses often used when the subject of professional development for frontline staff comes up in a meeting among upper management. Another question might be asked of this same management team, “What happens if you don’t train your employees and they do stay?”
If these individuals stay and your operation depends on them, then through solely receiving on-the-job training, your staff will be learning all of the shortcuts from other employees that they know will keep the boss happy, but these shortcuts will ultimately accomplish nothing else.
Now, let us look at the differences between education and training. Education is the explanation and understanding of the “why’s” of completing a task or job. Training on the other hand is the “how to’s” of the job. In order for employees to accomplish more than the bare minimum of a task or job, the “why’s” must come before the “how to’s”.
Professional development education uses both the “why’s” and the “how to’s”. Operations who believe they don’t have the time or money to properly ‘train’ are probably right because all they are doing is training. They haven’t come to understand that to fully engage a new hire, rehire or advancement of an employee, both education and training are necessary.
Those team members who receive support from management in both the knowledge of the process, tools, supplies and equipment, as well as support in the training process, will then be able to produce better total outcomes for the
Now, let us get back to the number of dollars spent on the professional development of a team. It is suggested that, in order to get the full value of the $10,000 you spent on a riding scrubber that has a 10-year life expectancy, you also spend an equal number of dollars on the ongoing education program for the individual(s) who will be operating that unit.
Another example would be: if you spend $1200 on a battery-powered backpack vacuum, your operation should spend an equal amount on the education of the staff members in understanding the proper usage of the item.
Generally speaking, your staff is a more valuable resource than the items you buy. If you want to keep your staff and maintain the value they have to offer to your company, you should look to spend an equal amount on the education
and training of them as you do on purchasing and maintaining the tools and equipment they use.
Is your operation a place where you staff can envision their future unfolding? Or do you have nothing to offer them but the maintenance of a status quo that is upheld by every other standard-level operation? Is your operation breaking the mold, or are you just following the crowd?
I’ll leave you with this quote to ponder further: “The future is won by those creating the future, and not by those individuals trying to maintain the status quo.”