I see many articles about engagement linked to skills shortages recently. There is an abundance of advice of how to attract and retain suitably skilled staff. This got me thinking what is wrong with this picture?
The problem that I see is one of development. If every business wants to avoid spending money on training, development, apprenticeships, where exactly will those trained individuals come from? Someone, somewhere must create the pool of trained labour. There is talk of apprenticeships, but companies want apprentices trained more quickly, with less depth, then complain that their in house trained employees lack skills. The government receive much criticism for not funding training and apprenticeships, but is that really a government responsibility? I would argue that it is not. If you look at the latest version of ISO9001, there is a specific clause about ‘knowledge’. The standard talks about the responsibilities of senior management to ensure that the knowledge and skills required now, and for the future are identified and planned for.
I would ask when did educating employees and providing proper training for them become a burden? Is it not in the best interests of an organisation to ensure that every employee has the relevant skills for their role fully developed, to the highest standard possible? If employees are properly trained, they add value by ensuring their process is effective and efficient, eliminating non-value added steps. There is an odd by-product of investing in your employees and ensuring they have the best available skills. When you invest in them through training, they are more engaged with the business and believe in what they do. They also start to identify with the aims and objectives of the business.
If you want more engaged staff, who will make your business more effective, take the time to invest in their skills and develop their capabilities. You won’t be disappointed!
Asking for feedback is important for any business, as it helps us to improve what we do and eliminate any negative effects of our activities. What we don’t always recognise is the positive feedback, and the impact we can have on someone’s business when we give great service.
I have started working as a growth mentor in Lancashire, and I have just received my first feedback from that work. It has been interesting and really touches the heart of why I started Tamarind Tree Consulting, it is an opportunity to help people improve their businesses. So getting that first feedback from this sort of mentoring is significant for me. As always, I have set out to do the best job possible for the client. Hearing that the client values the support and has seen practical benefits is brilliant. You can read his testimonial here.
So why this post?
The feedback got me thinking about what is important and why did this work well. It seems to me that focusing on the customer and their needs was key. My role is not to tell them what to do, but to advise and support them through decisions, and activities they are finding difficult. The key factor here is practical application of process improvement, applied with respect for my customer. We haven’t deployed huge amounts of training and tools, there has been no big bang effort. Instead we used the time to focus on the vital few actions, and ensure that we focus on understanding why. This approach leads naturally to collaboration. It has been brilliant to see not only my mentee growing, but also to see this positive impact on his team. You can read his testimonial here
For me, process improvement consultancy is not simply about the hours charged, although more hours is always nice! It is about making a practical, positive difference to the lives of the people I help. Focusing on customers with love may not always result in more hours of work, but it will always help people learn good habits that hopefully stay with them as they, and their businesses grow. People remember those who really help them, and if the opportunity to support them arises, well, I believe you reap what you sow.