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Bitesize No. 10 – All Training Objectives Should be Business Objectives

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The easiest way to position yourself as a business partner is by making sure all training objectives are directly linked to business objectives.

In fact, I would go further and suggest that everyone should see the training objectives, themselves, as integral to business performance.

So what does this mean in practice?

Take a look at the list of objectives below which all purport to do something about improving customer satisfaction:

1. We want to improve customer service levels.

2. We want to increase customer service skills.

3. We want to increase customer satisfaction ratings from 90% to 95%.

4. We want to increase repeat business by 20%.

Now, ask yourself, which of these are training objectives, which are business objectives and which are both?

1. Looks like it might be a business objective as long as someone is already gauging customer service levels and the business has a clear, strategic aim to improve service levels. But there is no hint of a training objective here. There could be 101 ways to improve service levels, none of which might require any training.

2. Starts to look more like a training objective because it talks about “skills”. However, there is no suggestion as to what specific skills are required and no clear indication how this would improve the organisation’s bottom line.

3. Looks much more specific and measurable but again no indication of what training might be required.

4. Could be a great bottom line measure and can be converted into pound signs quite easily if we already have an idea how much of the business is ‘repeat’ business. But yet again there is no sign of a training need or objective.

Let us see if we can improve on all of these by being absolutely, crystal clear both about what we are trying to achieve and how we are going to achieve it.

Look at the following statement:

“There is a specific business objective in the current business plan to increase repeat business by 20%. Estimates suggest repeat business is currently worth £5m per annum with net profit margins of 8%. Therefore a 20% increase would be worth £80,000 on the bottom line.

"We believe complaints lose us repeat business and have already established that 50% of the complaints we receive concern incorrect orders. We have tracked the cause of these errors and will be training the staff concerned to identify and resolve the root cause of these errors.

"This is planned to help reduce these complaints by at least 75% (i.e. 37.5% of the total) over the next three months. We estimate this could improve repeat business by up to 20% in 12 months.”

If you are now thinking that it would be difficult to prove all of this just remember:

* Business partners just aim to keep training closely tied to business objectives, not to prove their case in a court of law.

* Your training solution will have as much chance of success as any other manager trying to improve repeat business and they will not be able to prove their contribution either.

*Going through this process tells line managers you are as much an integral part of the business as they are and are doing everything you can to help it to improve.


Paul is happy to take questions and comments and can be contacted at:mailto:[email protected]

Earlier articles in this series can be found at:
The Bitesize Business Partners Page

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