This blog shares some of our thoughts about plain language, and the latest discussions about plain English and clear design in New Zealand, and around the world.

To find out more about Write, go to or join us on Facebook at

21 February 2014

Training your staff — more valuable than you realise

Training matters. I hadn’t realised how much until I read a chapter of management book What Were They Thinking? on the train this morning. Pfeffer says that when you invest in people, you’re rewarded with people who stick with you for longer, do their job better, and 'have a stronger sense of their own competency and capability'.

Investment in staff goes hand in hand with financial success

‘Companies on Fortune’s best places to work list have out-performed benchmark indices financially and are also among the leaders in their investments in their people. The Container Store’s employees average 162 hours of training a year. [That’s 20 full days!] Textile manufacturer Milliken requires workers to participate in 40 hours of training annually. [5 full days]’
Pfeffer, J. What Were They Thinking? Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2007, page 30.

Practising what she preaches

My boss, Lynda, understands the value of training — unsurprisingly! Lynda has arranged one-on-one coaching for me when I needed it, assigned colleagues to teach me what I needed to know, invited external experts to present at our monthly staff-development afternoons, and welcomed me to sit in on any of the training my colleagues run for clients. 

Naturally, Lynda has staff who stick around for years and who love working for her.

Useful stuff sticks

When I think of the training sessions I’ve attended, I realise that gems from those sessions have transformed my work life. For example, our recent up-skilling session with Hilary Bryan from The Training Practice gave me powerful insights into the world of policy advisors. When working with policy advisors, I now target my training directly at the problems they face—and I do it with confidence.

Training is valuable

As a trainer, living and breathing training, I sometimes forget the value of what I’m offering. I worry that workshop participants might forget to use some of the techniques I present to them. I fear that habit is a stronger influence than a one-day workshop.

So thank goodness for 20-minute train rides! This morning’s reading reminded me I offer value to the people on my workshops.

In the New Zealand Herald today, you’ll find an interesting article about training for employees of small businesses—why it tends not to happen, but why it’s so valuable when it does.
Smallbusiness: training staff a win-win for SMEs

No comments:

Post a Comment