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Training; cost or investment?

I remember the story as if it were yesterday, even though I heard it in the early 90s.

It was the CFO and the CEO who talked about training the staff and the cost associated with this.

The finance director said, “It’s a lot of money. What happens if we train the staff and then they leave?”

The CEO then replied: “Well, it’s a lot of money. But what happens if we don’t train the staff, and they stay?”

Is education just a cost? No, I say. If you see it that way, then you don’t have the right attitude to what education is all about, nor do you understand why you spend money on education.

It is clear that we should not take a course that does not bring us anything for the business. If we work in the Public Works Department, training in knitting may not be part of the job. But it’s rare that this kind of mis-match comes up.

Training will be provided to improve operations.

We can educate ourselves to maintain knowledge in something we already know, or to acquire new knowledge in an area we already know so that we can do something even better, or we acquire new knowledge to do things we could not do before.

For example, training in how to do improvement work is often a new skill.

This can be both for the manager who needs to understand how to lead the improvement effort. But also for those who will work as business designers and actively work on the development of the business.

Many times that knowledge is not really there in a business. They are often good at handling customer cases, investigating issues, looking after pupils or users, or managing infrastructure projects. But they are less active in developing the business itself. It’s not something you learn.

Is it then only a cost to train staff on how to work on improvements? Not if you link it to the results that these people will then be able to create.

In a previous weekly newsletter, I told you about Louise and her group who found benefits worth 87 million a year. They would never have done so if they had not been actively working on improvement. Which in turn they could not have done as successfully if it were not for the fact that they trained themselves in just how to improve their business.

So the investment in training had the potential to find improvements worth many tens of millions of crowns a year. Not many courses offer this opportunity to get the benefits of time and money invested.

So should we see education only as an expense? No.

Education is an investment, because it should pay back much more than the cost itself!

Which training would give you and your business the most benefit in return? Feel free to feed back what you would like to learn more about.