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Train them and retain them

Train them and retain them

A week after the Government announced new money to help small businesses train their staff, Tracey Willmott, director of consultancy Eat the Elephant, warns that operators should not even think about cutting their training budgets

Probably the most common reason for companies not undertaking ongoing skills training for their workforce is the widely held misconception that such activity comes straight off the bottom line.

Well, the reality is this: if training is not approached properly, it may well end up being a cost. However, by implementing a practical programme that enhances the skills base of those attending, the staff’s new-found knowledge can be put to good use – ultimately adding to the profitability of the business.

For the hospitality industry, one of the greatest challenges is that of staff churn. This dilemma can lead to a “chicken and egg” situation. Employers generally suspect that a significant proportion of their staff will move on during the course of a year and, therefore, some are hesitant to invest in training and development, believing a competitor or future employer will ultimately benefit from their expenditure.

However, failing to provide a development or career path is ultimately demotivating and, when boredom sets in, standards are likely to fall and dissatisfied team members are likely to look for alternative employment – bringing further disruption to companies as they seek replacements.

Take into account the amount of time wasted and costs involved in searching for replacements, the likely disruption to customer service because of a depleted workforce and any resulting recruitment fees and it is easy to see why it is vital and profitable to break the cycle of staff churn, even by a few percentage points.

With concerns over the economy and the credit crunch, many employers are looking to cut costs. Our message is simply this: keep up staff skills training. It’s vital to fight for market share – more so if sales within your sector are likely to fall.

And, most importantly, a lack of commitment to skills training can lead to a lack of staff loyalty, with employees jumping ship at the earliest opportunity.

Only by training and developing, will you keep the best people in your business.

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