Ask Danny: Benefits of training staff

“We are a small-ish fabricator and installer making around 150 and fitting around 100 frames a week. I know we need MTC’s for self assessment compliance, but I am not sure of the benefits of training when staff seem to come and go based purely upon wages. What is your experience?”

- DW, Warwickshire

The wage bidding war is one that must be avoided at all costs. Some of our experienced and quite long serving people have left recently after coming to me with demands based upon them putting themselves about and, unless they are exceptional and perhaps I missed certain signs, our policy is that we will not be held to ransom.

Training is a worthwhile commitment especially when good people are difficult to find and hold. Training will improve morale through people feeling more valued and improve profitability through increased output and fewer errors. I believe that I can spot potential in people, which comes in handy in an area of high employment like Essex. I have also become involved in training ex-offenders from the local prison which again, has brought its rewards, for us as a business and of course, for the people involved. Training is essential in such cases.

There are NVQ courses in Fenestration Installation that are relatively convenient and inexpensive to complete. If you are involved in more complex installations such as curtain walling then training is essential. NVQs are available in window and door manufacture to reasonable standards, offered by several companies up and down the country.

One of the issues with training is that the chances are, like me, you are busy and your time is maxed out just dealing with the day-to-day issues of running a small but successful business. Taking people out of the chain is disruptive and why would you want to cause yourself more problems. The key to that is planning: take time out to create a training programme and probably using the services of a professional trainer. They are surprisingly easy to find if you Google them though remember to use ‘fenestration’ unless you want thousands of computer courses on your screen.

Try the Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF). Although this bunch has drawn much criticism over the years and much of it justified, there are signs that it has improved significantly and may be worth a second look. In particular the organisation now has a separate training organisation GGF Training Ltd. Worth taking a look there in my view though I have not used them yet: www.ggftraining.com.

Training is just one aspect of managing people of course, but it is worthwhile when combined with other initiatives. For me though, the carrot must be combined with a little stick but that is for another day.

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