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Bitesize No.1 – Getting Business Information for Training Purposes


We could start this series in many ways but the first step has to be collecting basic business and people information.

On the people side, if you do not already have it, you will need numbers employed, by grade/job title and staff turnover in each group.

Measure annual staff turnover on a rolling, monthly basis by dividing the number of leavers (over the previous 12 months) by the number of staff employed 12 months ago.

This is just a crude wastage rate but we can develop more sophisticated measures later in the series.

Next collect current business data on:

  • Sales turnover volume - in £’s (or total funding if in a not-for-profit or public sector organisation)

  • Sales volumes - how much do you sell (or how many services do you provide)

  • Costs - overheads and direct costs

  • Quality indicators - reject or scrap rates, rework rates, customer returns, complaints etc.

  • Profit margins - by product

Normally, the easiest way to collect this data is to ask for a copy of the monthly management report.

Otherwise ask your friendly accountant to provide you with a selection of 10 such pieces of data every month.

This will immediately signal that you intend to get as close to the business as possible.

For all the measures collected ask each of the following questions:

  • Does the business think this is an important measure?

  • Does it currently have a performance or improvement target?

  • What was the corresponding figure last year?

  • What is expected to happen to this figure in 12 months time?

When all this data is collected the final questions are:

  • Which parts of your present training effort can be directly linked to any of these measures? (e.g. which management programmes are directly focused on any performance targets?)

  • Where are the biggest gaps between current performance and the targets set?

You now have a baseline to start working as a business partner.

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


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