Reason to Train

I just recently went through an excellent presentation about some workforce programs in an American fast food company and how they encourage their employee’s learning.  The company is huge, having higher sales revenue than the national products of some countries, operating about 40 000 restaurants worldwide.  I was impressed with the results achieved with careful planning of targets and the means, how to meet these.  Maybe there is some truth in the saying: “ Small opportunities are often the beginning of great achievements.”

Programs are designed inter alia to make improvements into attrition rates of the personnel, which is a big concern, typically for the operators in the fast food industry.  To understand the proportions of their challenges we have to understand the scope of their recruiting needs.  Their operations need about 1 million new employees to be recruited each year. It is understandable.

how much the company could benefit, if the personnel would stay longer with them.  The company wanted to create new perspectives for their personnel by designing desirable education-to-career pathways for adult learners as means in their learning programs. The company has tried to engage their employees by effective supporting of their adult learners when they on- and off-ramp between education and employment. The impact of these programs has been very good.   As the most important results they have found, that the employees choose to stay significantly longer in the company and that they find benefits in lower attrition rates.  The benefits of the impact of these programs can be verified by increased revenue of the restaurants and even ROI calculations confirm the positive financial effects of these programs.  Careful planning of the training content and respectful treatment of the personnel are not only means to an end, what could be lower attrition rates. The personnel can feel, that the company is concerned about the welfare of their workforce and this improves the atmosphere within the company and leads to improved results exceeding the naked ROI -results.  If you start looking for benefits this way, you might be surprised to find more benefits, than you were initially looking for.

Although this type of hospitability business requires big investments into tailored training programs, like in this case, it bears all the hallmarks of successful learning programs. These are in brief: Definition of learning targets and selecting the analysis methods to be used.  Measuring of learning results, gathering the learning data into databases, where the real time progress can be monitored.  After that you have to utilize the collected learning scores and to deliver insights to all relevant persons in the organization, who should be interested in this data.  The collected skills- and learning results data provide deep inside knowledge into the depths of the talent pool of your company. You can get information through a detailed analyzes framework for ROI calculations. Based on data availability in the company, different ROIs can be calculated for three important business outcomes at level one:

  • ROI in the form of Increased Revenue
  • ROI in the form of Reduced Costs
  • ROI of Employees/Education Investment

As an example about the multilayered form of the benefits to be received, ROI in the form of Increased Productivity can be achieved by two independent level two items as follows:

  • Maximized Productivity
  • Realization of Indirect Benefits

Realization of Indirect Benefits can be further divided into four level three items:

  • Employee Engagement
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Brand Recognition
  • Loyalty

From the above mentioned example you can see, that the benefits can be reported in a very detailed level. As it seems for me, this is done for serving benefits in their specific business.  They have reported in the presentation, that the biggest benefits they have received lie in the employees, who choose to stay significantly longer in the company and this leads to lower attrition rates. On top of these other critical measures, like an improved turnover and increased cost savings have been recorded. The same is valid for different learning courses and learning paths in other companies. This case, we have described, has been carried out in an elaborate way that requires so much resources, that only a minority of companies can bear the investment. The consultants of the company have introduced tailored software solutions for the analytics. We are of opinion that many companies should consider seriously this kind learning approach coated with sophisticated out-of-the-box analytics in their own business. There is at least one product available, which can meet most of these needs at a reasonable cost.   Please have a closer look at Boudin Skills Analytics Software for finding benefits for your company.

Written by Kari Hartikainen, Sales, Boudin Oy