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Training requires a bottom-line focus.

Canada's record for employee training pales by comparison to the record of other leading industrialized nations.

For example, Canadian workers average only seven hours of training per year compared to 200 hours for Japanese workers and 178 hours for German workers.

The need to improve that record is directly related to our future ability to compete in a global marketplace.

However, business owners are warned not to rush out and purchase training services without first laying the foundation for a successful training strategy.

To produce real results, training must be focused on well-defined goals and designed to make a critical financial difference for the company.

A proper strategy is tied to a company's business plan and directly relates to the type of business, who it serves and what makes the business unique.

Before initiating a training program, a business owner is advised to identify the company's core business, product standards and service standards, as well as the roles and responsibilities of its employees.

Concise job descriptions make the company's expectations clear to all employees.

The next step is assessing the gaps that exist between the current skills of employees and the skills the business requires in order to succeed. This is done by conducting a needs analysis.

At this point it is important to understand why some employees may not be performing to company expectations. The reason could be ability, motivation, knowledge or even lack of direction.

It is the business operator's responsibility to budget both the time and funds for training, and it is wise to include skills diversification in the plan.

Training individual employees in more than one skill improves morale and makes them more valuable to the company.

In addition, if only one person is trained in a particular skill, the employer risks losing the investment in training if the employee decides to leave the company.

The positive effects of training are not necessarily immediate and may never appear if no one ensures that the newly acquired knowledge is applied to day-to-day operations.

Business leaders have a choice of several training methods which include training programs offered outside the company or in-house sessions staged at the workplace.

In the latter case, use can be made of commercially available training courses and teaching aids such as video or audio cassettes and workbooks.

Business training is available from many sources, including government organizations and private-sector companies. There are also courses provided by schools, colleges and universities.

Local suppliers of the desired programs should be sought out, and it is recommended that the references of potential trainers be checked thoroughly.

Once a trainer is selected, it is vital to enter a contract which clearly identifies your expectations, the time frame for training and the program's cost.

Follow-up evaluations should be conducted to ensure the quality of training and that the training meets the client's needs.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Supplement: Small Business Survival Strategies; employee training
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Apr 1, 1992
Previous Article:Valued employees are motivated.
Next Article:A formal policy controls the costs.

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