In our two job satisfaction surveys over the past three years the number one need identified by our workforce was training. A few weeks ago the HR department conducted a survey of exactly what training needs our people felt were most urgent. Here were the responses, in order, and what we're doing about it.
2. Power Point
3. IRMA (our home-grown ERP)
4. Red Prairie (our WMS)
5. Great Plains (our accounting system)
6. Management techniques (most mentioned by people who said their supervisor needed it)
7. Leadership Skills (basically a restatement of 6 above)
11. Team Building
12. Presentations (another way to state 9 above)
13. (tied) Conflict resolution, time management/personal organization, communication, cross-department training, and email etiquette.
These responses really break down easily in four broad categories: systems training, leadership training, workplace communications, and fundamental work skills (email, time management, etc...). So what's being done about this? Plenty.
In March Whitney Connell was promoted to Director of Corporate Events and Sales Training, and an Event Planner was hired to work under her to help with the events side of the job. That frees Whitney to devote much of her time to those training issues that most impact the sales force in which she works, and that is primarily systems training. As those programs are developed and delivered, they will then be made available to others outside the sales division.
In concert with Sales' training initiatives, the CEO's office has contracted for a leadership development program that all the ELT has taken (eight days worth!) and will soon be made available to business unit heads and above, probably in December. HR is working with Gary Minor, our NLU instructor, and developing a derivative program that combines the Leadership program and NLU curriculum to deliver to all who supervise 2 or more employees regardless of rank. This will probably happen over the winter.
These efforts are neither easy nor cheap, and by the end of the fiscal year we'll still have some holes. The new budget year will also give us an opportunity to reflect on our needs and be intentional in how we allocate dollars for FY '09. This is a major opportunity for our company, and those of you who have advocated this for so long should know that efforts are being made.