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Seb Anthony

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When all else fails?


I am pretty much new to the business I currently work for and they have a high turn over of staff. This is due to using a temp agency and fluctuations in the business.

My issue I would like some advice with is about the NET courses we run.

When I joined the business, I spent a great deal of time looking at the way the NET courses were run and it was blatently obvious to everyone that they were not fit for purpose. The business I am in is a mail order one where most of the business is conducted over the phone. In NET training there is no soft skills or product knowledge/awareness undertaken. It is purely key strokes training. Though alot of the business requires sales skills and knowledge of the products we sell.

All the people who come out of the training are saying that the training is woefully inadequate and too short. Between 3 - 5 days depends how quickly the business wants them on the phones.

I have presented my findings to the senior team who say they agree the training is inadeqaute and agree, in principal, with my proposals but the needs of the business (in terms of bums on seats taking calls goes) has to come first.

We are going through an agency to recruit temps who are not always the best for the job, give them poor training and expect them to perform 100% with little or no development once they come out of training due to the constant demands of hitting our 'service level'.

Myself and my team are getting very frustrated and wondered if anyone could offer advice on how to convince senior management that it is critical we change the way we recruit and train new people.

I am at the point now where I am seriously considering quitting due to the constant brick walls that are put up against us.

Darren Rhodes

4 Responses

  1. Article
    Hi Darren

    Sorry to hear about your predictament. I write a monthly newsletter to my subscribers, with training tips. Last month I wrote a short article on how to prove the worth of training to management, there’s no airy fairy, fluffy long words in there but its very practical and too the point. If you want a copy, email me on and I’ll send you the copy on return.

    Hope this helps


  2. try an innovative approach
    Darren – this is a challenge that I am sure you are not alone in experiencing.

    What about something radical… at recruitment assess competence (prev experience), if high use the normal in-house training. If low offer the position on the conditional basis that they attend a training course in their own time – say a friday- Monday?? of which the cost is (say) £1000 which would be taken from their salary if they failed to complete their first month (free if they passed probation)

    Afterall you would not take a non driver and pay for them to pass their driving license would you??
    This way it only costs the company you salary and not increasing overheads?



  3. Cost of recruitment/training
    Hi Darren,
    in my experience managers usually respond when you hit them where it hurts – in the financial areas.
    Perhaps if you can make a business case to justify the improvements by demonstrating the cost to the business of the current recruitment practice and inadequate training.
    The following may help:
    1. Enter the salary for the role (s) that you wish to fill in your organisation
    2. Consider the costs of benefits, or any bonus
    3.What is the cost of training ? Salary of trainer + salary of new starter =?
    4. Can you put a cost on the fact that while they are training they are operating at less than optimum performance include Additional supervision?
    Impact on team morale?
    Cost of poor/slower service/lost calls
    5. What is the cost of time spent sifting, interviewing for post on your behalf time and cost of rejecting other applicants, by phone or letter. Putting the new person on the payroll (Admin Costs)
    6. Then ON TOP OF THAT imagine if there is claim / tribunal / really bad customer service/complaint that causes negative publicity or even lost revenue…….

    Total £???

  4. Total Cost Of Ownership
    Hi Darren,

    Before you quit – and I really am with you on this – experienced the same myself – and in the end I did quit – my health is not worth their ineptitude was my view!!

    Before you quit, how about one last try at convincing this management team? They say the needs of the business must come first – you and I both know that includes attracting, developing and retaining good employees – and I’m sure these managers are not setting out to ruin the company – they’re just focused on different targets, probably very financial in nature?

    So, why not construct an argument that compares the total cost of ownership of new employees under the present scheme, complete with risks to competitive advantage so the long view is included, and compare this with the total cost of ownership of new employees under your ideal scenario?

    I’d be happy to help out with this (freebie!) – it’d be an interesting exercise! I have some experience and expertise in this sort of thing.




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