Who Really Needs Training? Part I of 3

Susan Ellsworth One of my friends in Toastmasters is a great listener, and consequently a Senior Account Executive of New Horizons Computer Learning Centers in Washington, D.C. Recently, we were talking about one of our shared favorite topics, training in the computer field. And the cost of not training people to use the tools they are expected to use on the job. Here are some of Vann-Di Galloway’s thoughts.

Training your staff helps to keep them motivated and up-to-date with organizational skills and new technologies.  As fewer employees take on greater responsibilities within the workplace, training helps to increase their productivity.  Staff members benefit from learning new skills and becoming a valued asset within the organization. Training brings direct and immediate benefits and can be calculated as a high return on investment.

Regardless of the size or type of an industry or business, training can have a measurable impact on performance and the bottom line.  Research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows that productivity increases after relevant training takes place. Employees that receive formal training can be 230 per cent more productive than untrained colleagues who are working in the same role. (1)

Businesses must continually change their work practices and infrastructure to stay competitive in a global market. Training staff to manage the implementation of new technologies, work practices and business strategies can also act as a lure for future recruitment.  Since training increases the retention of staff members, significant cost saving are accrued as the loss of one competent person can be the equivalent of one year’s pay and benefits.
I could not agree with Vann-Di more. At the same time, I thought about  the training that technical services providers need and the training that CEOs might need.

Technical Services providers (yes, that’s me) need to speak three different languages: Geek Speak, End-User Speak and CEO Speak.

I learned “geek-speak” in technical training classes, both formal and informal. The words seemed straightforward and easy to learn. It was the language my buddies used, so it was comfortable. But Geek Speak is a disaster around most  end users.  I’m somewhat conversant in “end-user” speak. It often starts with “HELP! I can’t…” and when we’re lucky, it ends with “Whew! Thank you!” CEO-speak is the one that still eludes me most of the time, and I’m looking for courseware in how to communicate with the CEO who juggles too many issues, and works too many hours dealing with everything except the technology he or she authorizes payment for . CEO Speak comes in different accents and is generally spoken by people wearing a suit. It seems to echo the language of the Wall Street Journal, and in meetings with Geeks, it struggles to include pieces and parts of Geek Speak.

I can just see my arms-waving Toastmasters friends jumping up and down and yelling “THEY ALL NEED TOASTMASTERS!” Maybe…maybe not. The next blog will look more closely at End-User Speak. We’ll wrap up this three-part blog with more about CEO Speak.

(1) Smith A., 2001, Return on Investment in Training: Research Readings NCVER

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