Every business struggles with maximizing productivity, and there are countless strategies designed to improve it. You can spend time and money analyzing your processes to micromanage incremental changes to your approach; success here varies because every business’s productivity standards will be unique. You can focus on employee benefits and satisfaction; happy employees are up to 12 percent more productive than their unsatisfied counterparts.
There are strengths and weaknesses to each side of the equation. If you put additional strain on your workers, they’ll be less satisfied, and if you spend too much time and money on making them happy, your productivity savings will wash out.
In my experience, the most important piece in improving productivity has been improving the training process—and here’s why.
Training eats up a significant amount of time (and money), so the more efficiently you can handle this process, the faster your new recruits can enter the main workforce, and the less time your trainers have to spend on education. Training expenditures total more than $70 billion per year, so any reduction in time here can be valuable.
When your employees are better trained, they’re able to work more efficiently:
- They ask fewer questions.
- They understand their responsibilities thoroughly.
- They’re well versed in proper procedures.
- They’re more confident and more satisfied with their work.
- They have a better start to their relationship with your company.
Without that training in place, it’s easy for employees to feel as though they don’t have direction, or to make up their own ways of doing things to fill the void.
Consistency and Improvement
A consistent training program, mandatorily instituted for employees at all levels, ensures the consistent habits of your workforce. With greater consistency across the board, you’ll easily spot outliers and give feedback to correct issues. You’ll also have a standard for measurement; if you experiment with a new procedure or approach, you can easily compare your new metrics to your old ones to determine which strategy was more effective.
You can also institute new training modules as you acquire new equipment or add new services; with a baseline training framework, these additions are easy to make.
Tips for Better Training
So what can you do to make your training program more effective?
- Invest in training software. Your first goal should be investing in the right software. SAP Enterprise Learning software, for example, allows you to develop classwork and online training courses that your employees can use, and update them easily over time. This type of software also makes it easier to track your program’s effectiveness, overall or by individual.
- Hire the right people for the job. You should also take your time finding the ideal candidate to lead your training program. This individual should have experience with training programs in the past, and have a passion for helping others learn. They also need to be objective, enabling you to make the best training decisions for your company’s bottom line.
- Document everything. Don’t rely on your whims to train people; it will take an initial investment of time, but you need to document everything. Keep formal, standard operating procedures (SOPs) on file, and keep track of who has been through your training program and who hasn’t.
- Review and refine. Your training program will never be complete; keep reviewing and refining your approach.
With these tips, your training procedures should become far more efficient, giving you productivity benefits on multiple levels. Your specific approach will vary based on your business’s demands, but as long as you prioritize measuring and improving your approach, eventually, you’ll create a system that works consistently.