Can something as simple as staff training really increase occupancy levels? At first, this might seem a little too good to be true, but bear with me for a moment while we start things from the top.
When people talk about training (be if for themselves or their staff) the first thing that usually comes to mind is “How much is it going to cost me?”. The question, however, should be: “What’s my return on investment (ROI)?” …and that’s what this post is all about.
The correlation between training & income
In 1997, the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) conducted a study of over 2,500 companies to determine how investment in employee training affected a firm’s total shareholder return. Using sophisticated statistics modelling (which took into account a wide variety of variables), ASTD found that training resulted in a significant improvement in shareholder return via higher profit margins (by up to 24 percent).
The benefits of training staff
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of staff training. These can apply to all aspects of your business – from how to sell (or up-sell) to customers, right through to making the most of the software tools available to your staff (eg. their Management Software, such as StorMan). We’ve included a detailed description of each under the diagram (which, by the way, you can download as an A3 poster)…
- Consistent Quality: Staff that don’t know how to use the tools around them (regardless of whether they are physical tools or software-based ones) often causes inconsistency in their processes, as they wonder whether they’ve done something correctly. The way they may be performing a particular task may not be the correct – or the most efficient – way to do so. Training ensures a quality & consistent result amongst your staff.
- Improve Customer Satisfaction: Happy staff inherently always means happy customers, but an improvement to customer satisfaction levels can also be achieved thanks to the ability for your software systems (be they Billing systems, Customer Relationship Management systems, etc) to send good-looking, well-written, personalised communications to the right customers at the right time – and that can only come with a correctly setup software package that your staff know how to use.
- Increase Participation: When staff understand a business and its internal workings & processes, they are more likely to feel comfortable in “piping up” and having their say through ideas and concepts that you may not have considered before! Training promotes participation through an understanding of key business concepts.
- Improve Productivity: Staff that know what they need to do & how to do it means they’ll get straight to the job at hand, as they are confident with their tools and with your business processes. Those lacking in confidence due to a lack of understanding (generally due to a lack of training) will take longer to complete tasks and question the path they took to achieve the end result. A firm understanding = productive staff.
- Increase Knowledge Retention: When people are having fun, they learn more – thus ensuring new knowledge is retained. Training in a structured environment can also help build an employee’s confidence in their tools & software. For you, this means less errors (see Reduce Costs, below).
- Reduce Costs: Proper training ensures that procedures are followed according to business requirements; thus far fewer mistakes are made and costs are reduced. In the business world we must, of course, also remember that “time is money”, so less time wasted on things like data re-entry due to human error = reduced costs.
- Employee Retention & Development: Employees that feel like they’re playing an important part of the business are happier and will stay longer… but just as important, is two-way employee feedback (ie. feedback from you to them is just as important as feedback from them to you). A recent OfficeVibe survey found that 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were being better recognised.
- Increased Profitability: A combination of any of the above factors will always result in increased profits. Whether it’s through higher quality output, happier staff, happier customers or time & money saved thanks to automation & the streamlining of processes… it’ll all go towards an increase in your bottom line!
So how does this relate to occupancy at my business?
- When staff are confident, they become better salespeople.
- When staff are happy, their mood becomes infectious.
- When customers are happy, they leave good reviews, refer friends & are willing to spend more with you (that is, more time and / or more money).
- When staff know how to use their tools, they make less mistakes and this costs you less in wasted money & time.
- When you give staff a chance to participate & have their say, they feel like they are a true part of your business & they’ll grow from this experience.
At the end of the day, all of this will result in more customers for you. This equals increased revenue and higher occupancy. So take that leap and invest in training for your staff today!
My experience in all of this
There’s nothing better than experiencing something for yourself; it’s then that one will see the real value in something. So while I could go on about the benefits of training until the cows come home, I’d rather leave you with a real-life example.
You see, for the past 10 months or so, I’ve been using a web-based task management tool. Apparently it’s had a workflow automation tool built into it for years. I’ve even subconsciously looked at the icon for it day after day at the top of the screen – but I didn’t know what it did, so I didn’t really ever bother to really explore what it did.
It wasn’t until a few months ago when I invested some personal time in attending some online training for this particular software package, that I understood what the workflow automation function did. Fast-forward a few months and I now use it religiously to automate stuff & create sub-tasks when certain criteria is met… and it’s kind-of funny, because after initially glancing over it for month after month without doing anything, the workflow automation function now smugly displays how many minutes of my work day I’ve saved, thanks to its automation engine (PS: it’s currently up to 5 hours of time-savings).
So there you have it – some real-life experience as to why training is such a no-brainer. If done correctly – and if you give your staff a chance to express their ideas – the rewards for you & your business can be huge.
PS: We might be in your area soon for StorMan training! Check out our upcoming training sessions...
– Andy (Customer Experience & Marketing Manager, StorMan Software)