August 25, 2015 Anil Saxena

Training That Actually Makes An Organization More Successful

All signs point to a dramatic increase in spending on training within organizations:

Leaders within organizations see a growing gap between the skills of their employees and the skills necessary to make the organization successful. The question is not whether training is necessary, it’s whether the training delivered is really making organizations more successful. What is the proof?

As someone deeply ingrained in learning, that’s something that I struggle with on a regular basis. In order to ensure a measurable impact, we need to be speaking the language of business. We have to understand what will really move the needle on organizational performance.
Even though spending on training is increasing, there is still the perception that a large number of training initiatives are not effective.

Unfortunately for many organizations, this leads to view of training as a cost instead of an investment. It’s the same as spending on supplies. As training professionals, we have historically looked within our organizations to identify skills o drive learning, but is that where we should be looking? Maybe to bridge this large and growing skills gap, we have to change the way we approach learning in the first place.
For instance: does training a cashier to scan items more effectively earn the company more money? Tangentially, it likely helps, but what if the cashier was trained on how to incent customers to come back to their line the next time they were in the store? What if their training was more about how they could retain loyal customers/gain new customers, instead of getting people through the line quickly? What might that do for the cashier? What might that do for the customer?
If the cashier views their role not as “the last part of the shopping process,” but instead as a critical part of the customer experience, it might change how they view their role. Of course, they will still have to be trained on the operations of their register. They will have to know store policies. But the measure or outcome of what they are doing is entirely different.
What if training and development wasn’t just about increasing skills, but about giving each and every employee their Line of Sight to the Customer™?. That is, training them on their impact on gaining and retaining customers.
It would alter their focus.
Being highly efficient on the register becomes a method to increase overall organizational performance, instead of just “what they have to do.”
Remember the movie Office Space?

The manager in the restaurant wanted Jennifer Aniston’s character to wear more “flair,” but it wasn’t about the number of buttons on the shirt – it was really about the customer experience, but had morphed into some meaningless part of onboarding or training a server. Put into the realm of gaining and retaining customers, its about creating an experience. The servers’ roles in Office Space shift from, “I’m going to take your order” to, “Let’s make this a little getaway” or something like that. It becomes an experience.

The shift in focus of is about gaining and retaining more customers. If training isn’t addressing that, then why are you doing it? If you are not thinking about this, it’s likely an impediment to the Line of Sight.

Anil Saxena is a President & Senior Consultant Cube 214 Consulting. 
He helps teams create environments that generate repeatable superior results.


Cube 2.14 will increase your organizational effectiveness. We specialize in developing innovative, practical solutions to create productive workplaces that exceed goals.