Thursday, May 5, 2011

Week 1 - The Truth About Training

Assignment: Imagine you have just 2 minutes or so to give someone an "elevator speech" regarding the "truth" about training. This person does not believe that training is important, complicated, or even necessary. What might you say to this individual to convince him or her otherwise? What key insights could you impart that this person likely would not have known and would find surprising and/or interesting?

Three Key Points:

1. Training increases employee engagement and improves employee retention
2. Training improves a company’s competitive edge
3. Training enhances company profits

Listen to MP3 fileClick here to listen to Elevator Speech in MP3 format (2.2 MB) Listen to WAV fileClick here to listen to Elevator Speech in WAV format (11.8 MB)

Elevator SpeechOne effect of the current world economy is an increasingly competitive environment. Paramount to this new competitive environment is obtaining and retaining highly skilled and motivated workers. Raymond Noe in his book entitled Employee Training and Development stated that despite the need for high-level skills in today’s job market, many job applicants lack those necessary skills, in fact surveys of employers report that high school graduates are deficient in problem solving/critical thinking, in addition they are lacking in written and oral communication skills, and further have a subpar work ethic. Retaining good skilled works is critical, and a strategic training program can support employee retention. A study conducted by the American Society for Training and Development found that employees want training that will help them grow their skills and knowledge to better perform their current job. Training increases employee loyalty, and thus retention, and helps you attract the best possible employees.

Another important advantage to a solid training program is that training improves a company’s competitive edge and enhances company profits. According to the American Society for Training and Development, companies that invest in learning outperform the market by more than 45 percent. Companies that don’t invest in their staff’s professional development underperform the market by 22 percent. It is imperative that companies understand that keeping worker skills up to date will at the very least keep their company in the running, but for many who invest in training they can expect increased profits. “Firms that invest $1,500 per employee in training compared with those that spend $125 experience an average of 24 percent higher gross profit margins and 218 percent higher revenue per employee” (Bassi, 2000).

So, the truth about training, you would be crazy not to invest in training.


Bassi, L., (2000) Profiting From Learning: Do Firms' Investments in Education and Training Pay Off? T&D, American Society for Training and Development

Bassi, L. & McMurrer, D. (2007). Maximizing your return on people. Harvard Business Review, 85(3), pg. 115-123. Retrieved from

Noe, R. A. (2010). Employee training and development (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.


  1. Hi Marne,

    I don't see the audio link for your speech. Am I just not looking in the right place?


  2. Marne,
    Just checking in to see how you're doing.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hi Marne,
    I enjoyed listening to your elevator speech. The audio was very clear and your points were very valid as a way to convince someone that training is important. Companies will indeed be crazy not to invest in training. As the competition in all markets increases, it is very crucial for companies that want to keep up with the competition make sure that they train and retain employees that stay abreast with all skills and knowledge needed to remain competitive and profitable.

  5. Hi Marne,

    This was a very good speech. You highlighted some very valuable points. I think that you are so right when you stated that high schoolers are graduating without the critical skills needed to enter the workplace. I think that a lot of the lack of communication and written skills lies in the fact that graduates today rely too heavily on technology. According to a report based on a detailed survey of 431 human resource officials that was conducted in April and May 2006 by The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management, many employers feel the “future workforce is here, and it is ill-prepared. The findings reflect employers’ growing frustrations over the preparedness of new entrants to the workforce. Employers expect young people to arrive with a core set of basic knowledge and the ability to apply their skills in the workplace – and the reality is not matching the expectation. The incoming generation is sorely lacking in much needed workplace skills — both basic academic and more advanced “applied” skills.”


    Most Young People Entering the U.S. Workforce Lack Critical Skills Essential for Success. (2006). Retrieved on May 8, 2011, at

  6. Marne,
    You did a very good job making your case for employee training. You touched upon 3 concepts that businesses seem to be focusing on: retention of good employees, maintaining a competitive edge and enhancing profits. I like the fact that you pointed out how employee loyalty can be increased through training. Good use of statistics to support your concepts of competitive edge and enhancing company profits. I liked the data about how $1500 in training vs. $125 yields 24% higher gross profit and 218% higher revenue per employee. That will give the CEO something to think about when he leaves the elevator.