4 Ways Poor Employee Training Can Affect Operational Productivity
Engaged employees equal productive employees, so the theory goes. Except, this mantra is beyond a theory: Studies prove that dedicated, enthusiastic workers boost profits. According the Workplace Research Foundation, increasing employee engagement investments by as little as 10 percent can increase profits by as much as $2,400 per employee. For a company with thousands of employees spread out across locations around the country, that productivity benefit adds up in a hurry.
If engagement improves operational productivity, and quality training helps improve engagement, poor employee training can create the opposite effect: reduced productivity. Workers who aren’t taught to do their jobs correctly—or are not given sufficient reasons to embrace learning of the skills essential to success—can, at best, stagnate, if not be a liability. Forward-thinking strategies such as mobile training software help companies combat this problem, but for many organizations that choose to rely on the methods that may have worked OK 20 years ago, the situation is not improving. Here are four ways poor employee training can affect operational productivity:
1. Too much time to get up to speed
A hire begins a new job and must be trained. He or she may get some shoulder-to-shoulder training, but many companies can’t pull managers and other star employees away from other tasks for too long to provide the depth that is often needed to reach a decent level of operational productivity. Subsequently, the hire is left to figure out many processes without much guidance, thus resulting in spending extra time to complete a task. After a couple weeks of this, the employee may become flustered and leave, or the manager might think the hire doesn’t have what it takes. Someone else is hired, and this frustrating cycle repeats itself, never getting the store to the level of productivity it requires in a timely manner.
2. Doing the job wrong
Some employees are quicker learners than others and may figure out the tasks that aren’t being taught to them. However, in the absence of dynamic training materials such as on-demand video, self-starting workers may learn processes the wrong way, which can affect efficiency and operational productivity. Yes, the employee may be getting the job done, but if he requires an extra half-hour and twice as many resources to do so (and then risking more effort to fix any mistakes that were understandably made), that is far from productive. Profits can suffer a permanent dent if situations like this fester for too long—particularly because the employee doing the job wrong might be teaching others an incorrect process.
3. Other employees are pulled away
As already stated, many star employees and managers are pulled away to train hires. Though this can be effective in ensuring the skills are taught correctly, too much will inevitably affect the operational productivity of the trainers—managers can’t drop everything because one well-meaning employee isn’t sure how the restaurant wants its green peppers cut. Furthermore, when shoulder-to-shoulder training fails to inspire any self-learning, hires might entirely rely on others to answer questions and provide validation. Operational productivity stalls because employees are reluctant to act without constant supervision.
Poor training can stifle employee engagement, which, when persistent, can lead to disillusionment. In turn, that disillusionment increases the odds the worker gives up on his or her job and leaves for something better. Turnover affects operational productivity because a slightly engaged employee is still more useful than not having an employee in the role at all. Workers who want to learn more and chart a successful tenure with your company should be given that opportunity. Unfortunately, poor training can derail that goal, creating a spiral in which operational productivity founders no matter who is doing the job.
How does your employee training program help or hurt operational productivity at your company?