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Bitesize No. 6 – A 1% Improvement

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So far we have been playing with numbers but what you now need to ask yourself is whether you could really generate at least a 1% business improvement purely through training and development?

Can you turn the theory into practice?

In other words, regardless of any other plans your organisation might have to improve its performance (e.g. advertising, new product launch, cost cutting programme etc.) do you believe that training could add an additional 1% and if so how?

Why 1% you might ask? Well, there is no exact science to this but here are a few reasons why any business partner should start looking for 1%: -
* Who could have any real objection to a request to improve by 1%?
* It is not that big an improvement so it should be achievable.
* If training cannot get at least 1% then there is something seriously wrong somewhere.
* As soon as you quantify 1% you can put it into your ROI calculation.
* If you achieve 1% everyone involved should be motivated to have another go at an additional 1%.

Before you move forward though you had better make sure that everyone is absolutely clear what a 1% improvement actually means.

Let us take sales as probably the simplest example. Assuming you currently sell goods to the value of £100 million then you are looking for an extra £1 million in sales.

But who is going to generate this and how is training going to help?

Try these ideas out for size: -

* Look at average sales per salesperson. Now look at every salesperson who is not achieving the average. What would bringing everyone up to the average be worth? How much would they all have to improve by to produce the extra £1 million?

* If you want to focus on costs it would be an interesting exercise to ask people to find out their own total costs (i.e. salary, on-costs, office space and equipment, consumables etc.) and then ask them to think where costs could easily be saved

* Whatever data you collect ask the most senior manager whether they would be interested in a 1% improvement exercise where you ask employees for ideas from each of them for 1%? What have you go to lose? This will probably unearth many training suggestions.

When you try this out for the first time try to follow a principle of voluntarism. Don’t try to force anybody to get involved.

You might be surprised how many willing volunteers you get. Also, tell everybody that although the aim is to achieve a business improvement it is primarily a learning exercise.


Paul is happy to take questions and comments and can be contacted at:mailto:paulkearns@blueyonder.co.uk

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

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