wardell books

Identify Your Training Needs

Even if training is not formally addressed, as it should be, people will naturally get better at their jobs over time, so efficiency levels often slowly improve on their own. In order to maximize on this phenomenon, however, training must become part of your operations systems. Learning isn't something that should be left to its own devices. Learning and continuous improvement must become part of the “soul” of your business. The focus on “constant and never-ending improvement” is an inherent part of in any good training program. Don't think of training as an add-on, think of it as one of the necessary, integrated components of your business.

Top high tech companies like IBM, Boeing, and Xerox spend between 2.5 and 3.5 percent of sales on training. The Mariott invests over $20 million a year on training.

Identify Your Training Needs

There are all sorts of sales training courses and experts available, but before you even start to look, you'll want to identify your needs. This will make it possible for you to cut through the clutter to find the best solutions to your training needs.

  1. Areas of competency — List the areas of competency required by your employees. In other words, what must your employees be good at in order to be outstanding at their jobs? For example, “customer service employees must have superior communications skills.”

  2. Minimum standards — Identify minimum standards for each of these areas. For example, customer service employees must be able to answer 90 percent of our customers' technical questions.

  3. Valuation — Give your employees a score based on their current abilities in each of these areas of competency.

Area of CompetencyMinimum StandardsValuation
Product Knowledge90%80%
  1. Based on the chart you built in the step above, determine what your employees need in terms of training. In other words, what is the general difference between where they are now and where they need to be? This information will be used for your group training.

  2. Next, use the same list of competencies to identify the individual strengths and weaknesses of your employees. Give each person a score just as you did for all your operations employees on the previous page.

Create individual training plans for each of your employees based on their scores. If this is impractical due to the size of your company, have this done at the department level by your managers.