Category Archives: Cordell Riley

Three Simple Training Tips to Dramatically Boost Company Performance

By Cordell Riley

Company Perfomance-Cordell RileyMany companies view training as a “nice to have.” They think it is important to create an attractive, engaging training program for new hires, and that it might be good to have a focused course that teaches employees how to perform certain tasks or use certain pieces of company technology. Once those companies cover the bases by offering training in just a few areas like those, they turn the page and start to think about other realities of doing business.

But what if . . .

What if those companies thought about employing training in a larger, more strategic way to improve performance in a wider range of business activities? What, for example, if they stopped to consider that a 10,000 dollars  investment in training could net a 10 percent increase in the sales made by each salesperson, resulting in an additional 10 dollars million in annual sales revenue? What if they stopped to think that a similar investment in training could result in a 10 percent increase in the accuracy of order filling, and would save 1 million dollar a year?

In short, what if companies made the connection between training, performance, and the bottom line?

And what if your company did? You see, training offers you the potential to dramatically increase profits and performance. Here are three tips to get that to happen for you.

1. Start with the End in Mind

Chances are you know where you would like to see improved performance or profits in your organization. But specifically what would those improvements look like? Would there be fewer defective products, better company reviews online, a 15 percent increase in the sales of one of your product lines—specifically, what?

Specific goals begin to emerge when you consider questions like those. They help you define the specific business challenges and goals you need to address. And once you have defined those issues and goals, you can begin to determine if there is training that will assist in reaching them.If you don’t measure and adjust, your training will never deliver the results it is capable of. Click To Tweet

2. Develop an Appropriate Curriculum

Your curriculum should be designed to teach people the skills they need to learn or improve in their specific role. But developing an effective curriculum is a bit more complex than simply defining skills. It should be right for the people in the roles who are performing the tasks and jobs that your training addresses. And it should be designed to have a focused, specific impact on the business items where you are trying to “move the needle” and bring about change.

An appropriate curriculum is also about more than just a list of skills and behaviors. It should consider how those lessons will be delivered—by a live training presenter, on phones or tablets, enlivened with games and exercises, in short “chunks” or longer lessons, for example. Creating an effective curriculum depends on considering who your learners are, where they are, and how they would prefer to learn.

3. Measure Results, then Tweak and Adjust Your Training Accordingly

At this point, you loop back to the decisions you made in the first step, when you started with the end in mind. The difference is that you are now going to develop ways to measure the change you have brought about through training.

You might decide to measure how much more each of your retail salespeople is selling on an average sale, whether fewer of your products are being returned, whether your rates of repeat business are improving, whether your online reviews are more positive, or other hard or soft metrics that tell you how effective your training has been.

Once you are measuring, you can tweak, modify your training, and find ways to improve results. But one thing for certain? If you don’t measure and adjust, your training will never deliver the results it is capable of.

In Summary

Start with the end in mind, develop an appropriate curriculum, then measure results and adjust your training. That is a simple, yet powerful, approach to improve company performance. And you can use it to improve more company performance that you have probably stopped to consider.

Cordell Riley is sought-after keynote speaker, and the Owner and President of Tortal Training, a leading training development company he founded in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tortal uses strategic engagement methodologies and specializes in developing mobile training platforms for organizations with distributed workforces. A recognized training expert with extensive experience in the service, automotive and franchising sectors, Cordell has spent more than twenty years helping thousands of companies achieve outstanding success through training. For more information about Cordell Riley, please visit: www.Tortal.net.

The Deeper, Engaged Way to Onboard New Employees

By Cordell Riley

The days and weeks after employees start at your company represent a time of unique opportunity. Can you teach them new systems and skills? Of course you can. But have you also stopped to consider all the other important goals you can reach during the onboarding period? To name just a few, you can…

  • Grow and encourage adoption of your culture
  • Get new hires to understand, promote and believe in your brand
  • Sow the seeds for outstanding customer service
  • Cultivate the kind of spirit and energy that customers will value and love
  • Hear creative ideas from new employees who have a fresh perspective
  • Build retention by proving that your company is a great place to work
  • Set up communication channels with new hires that will improve operations throughout your company

Those are only a few of the opportunities you have during employees’ first weeks at your company. But how can you take advantage of them? Here are eight approaches that work.

Start by Having a Well-Defined Onboarding System

Many companies just wing it, with negative results. Still other companies see onboarding as little more than filling out forms, setting up company email accounts and showing new employees to their desks. Because new hires start their jobs without a deeper understanding of what is expected of them, they make mistakes that quickly become costly habits that must be corrected later on.

Many problems can be avoided if you set up a structured onboarding system that functions as high-level training. On their start days, new hires can meet individually with HR representatives to fill out forms, for example, and then meet as a group to watch videos and learn about your company, its brand and its values. After lunch, they can be trained in the basic skills their jobs demand; watching training videos, engaging in work simulations and working alongside current employees can work well to reach those goals. And after day one, they should attend regular follow-ups to address problems and reinforce basic concepts and skills.

The operative strategy is to clearly define ahead of time exactly the skills and behaviors you need, and to create a concise mini-curriculum that tracks to them.

Set up Genuine Mentoring Relationships between New Hires and Successful Current Employees

Remember, mentors’ goals should not be to get new hires to imitate what they do, or even to adhere to company systems. Their purpose is to discover what new employees would like to accomplish at your company, and to help them reach those goals. In short, mentoring is not about the mentors or strictly about your company, but about the employees who are being coached.

Find Ways to De-layer and Free Up Communications

Invite new employees to brainstorming sessions where their new ideas are collected, posted, discussed—and put into action when appropriate. Also consider setting up de-layered systems—like virtual suggestion boxes on your company intranet—where employees at all levels can present suggestions directly to top company executives. If employees can only submit ideas to their immediate managers, you have created a communication structure that carries a risk of demotivating front-line and entry-level personnel; just one supervisor who stifles new ideas can do great damage to your company.

Unless you commit your efforts to becoming an “employer of choice”—a company that people talk about and would love to work for—you are damaging your profits, operations and ultimately, your success. Click To Tweet

Don’t Do Training on the Cheap

One thing is for certain: if you are only handing out employee handbooks and having new employees fill out withholding forms, you are missing out on some great opportunities. If you can train every new retail salesperson to sell just 10% more on every order, for example, that could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of new business company-wide, maybe even more. Or if you can set up mobile training that sends out pings to remind employees to use specific skills they learned in training, you could increase your training ROI dramatically. The lesson? Spending a little more to deliver great training is a money-maker, not a cost.

Within Your Budget, Customize Training for Each Employee

Even”standardized” training can be enriched by creating individualized training elements for each new employee. You can evaluate the skills of your new hires during training and address them directly, for example, or help employees overcome anxiety about performing certain parts of their new jobs. Investing just a little time to give training extra value can go a long way toward getting new employees up to speed faster.

Stress and Reinforce Your Mission Statement, Vision Statement and Strategic Company Plan

The onboarding period is a highly effective time to share the big picture about your company and to get employees to buy into your most important goals and priorities. Instead of waiting for employees to discover these critical priorities, start talking about them soon after new hires come on board.

Consider Creating a Career Plan for all New Employees

You won’t want to do this for seasonal or short-term employees. But for employees whom you would like to stay with you for the long term, consider sitting down with each of them to create individual career-development plans that spell out what they need to do to be promoted within your organization. You could say, for example, that all retail salespeople can apply for management training after six months of employment, or that your company will provide technical training to help them move into their desired career path at your company.

Millennials, especially, are more likely to stay with your company for the long term if they know the ropes and understand what it takes to build a long-term relationship with your organization.

Evaluate Whether You Are Acting like a Great Employer

This is something you should always do, not only when you are training a new class of employees. So take the time now to benchmark your company climate, benefits, quality of work/life balance and other factors against other companies. Unless you have the best of everything, you cannot expect your employees to commit their hearts and minds to working with you for the long term.

You see, retention starts with you, not with your employees. Unless you commit your efforts to becoming an “employer of choice”—a company that people talk about and would love to work for—you are damaging your profits, operations and ultimately, your success.

Cordell Riley is sought-after keynote speaker, and the Owner and President of Tortal Training, a leading training development company he founded in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tortal uses strategic engagement methodologies and specializes in developing mobile training platforms for organizations with distributed workforces. A recognized training expert with extensive experience in the service, automotive and franchising sectors, Cordell has spent more than twenty years helping thousands of companies achieve outstanding success through training. For more information about Cordell Riley, please visit: www.Tortal.net.

Are You Aligning Your Training Goals with Your Business Goals?

Four Keys to Establish Congruency

By Cordell Riley

Cordell RileyThere are really two types of training. The first and most basic centers on teaching employees to improve their performance of required skills and tasks. The second type does that too, but produces far more transformational results, because it also teaches skills and behaviors that align with larger company initiatives and goals.

A way to illustrate this point is to envision a golf caddy as a trainer. That caddy can walk the course and hand his golfer one club at a time and say, “This is the best club for this shot.” That might improve the golfer’s game. But what if the caddy added a higher level of information by giving perspective on the overall layout of the hole, the potential hazards in the path and even a strategy for playing the entire course?

Similar lessons apply in many settings. Do you want your son or daughter’s piano teacher to only teach the mechanics of pushing down a key, or to give an overview of a piece of music? If you are hiring a landscaper for your yard, do you want to discuss only one plant, or do you want to collaborate on an overall, transformational plan?

Given choices like those, of course you prefer the bigger picture. But how do you do that in planning your company’s training process? Here are four important steps to take.

  1. Define and Keep Your Most Important Objectives in Mind: Are you striving to create a company known for delivering superlative customer satisfaction? That is a great objective, but reaching it means defining specifics that can get you there—what you would like your training to achieve.For example, you could plan to train your phone reps to resolve 90% of all complaints during customers’ first calls. Or you could focus on training those reps to deliver the kind of care that gets 90% of callers to report that they are “extremely satisfied” on post-call surveys. When you define goals, you can design training that achieves them.Another way of stating this principle is, “begin with the end in mind.” That means understanding the bigger vision of what you would like your organization to become, then defining specific training steps that can get you there.
  1. Break Down the Silo Walls: Trainers are often brought into different company sectors and encouraged to stay in them. They might teach only skills for servicing or installing products, providing customer service, preparing food, or selling on the retail floor. But what if your trainers thought outside the silos and delivered valuable things that result in improvements across your entire organization?One way to reach this objective is to initiate discussions between your training team and the people who create marketing and advertising, manage your supply chain, oversee your online presence, and more. The more disciplines you invite into the process, the more likely your training team will find ways to make the training process more encompassing and effective.
  1. Don’t Create Training in a Vacuum: Whether your training team works in-house or you use an outside training development company, make sure to engage them in conversations regarding company collateral. This should include everything from company quarterly reports, relevant trade publications, news stories about your organization, press releases, and all other pertinent documents you can provide. Do all those materials suggest any untapped opportunities to align your training specifics with larger trends, goals, and initiatives?
  2. Tie Your Training to Measureable Metrics: It is essential to develop a set of clear metrics to measure before and after training. It is the only way to understand what your training has accomplished and how much closer you are to meeting your goals.

Here are some suggestions for developing metrics that don’t just gather data, but reveal deeper progress:

  • If your vision is to become a leader in customer service and retention, you can survey customers before and after your employees have gone through the training program. You should ask them about their overall satisfaction with their last purchase, the likelihood they will recommend you to other customers, and other factors.
  • If you want to gain maximum value from a limited-time offer and offer training to support that goal, your goal could be a certain percentage of sales improvement among employees who took the training. Measure and report on those results after the training has been delivered.
  • If you are implementing HR training in an effort to increase employee retention and become an “employer of choice” for job-seekers, you can measure retention rates before and after training and survey employees on metrics like, “I see a clear career path if I remain employed here” or, “I understand the criteria that my supervisor and company use to evaluate my performance and progress in the company.”

If you ask a group of businesspeople to define what training is, chances are that most of them will say something like, “Training is a process that teaches people the skills they need to do their jobs better.” Of course, that is true. But if you then go on to ask a series of deeper questions like, “Wouldn’t you like your training to build a workforce that builds your brand, helps your company achieve its mission, and communicates what you stand for to the world?” many of those business people should enthusiastically reply, “Yes, we would!”

As you launch new training initiatives or refine those you already have, keep those larger issues in mind. The better you can align training your business goals, the more successful you can become.

Cordell Riley is the founder and president of Tortal Training, a leading provider of training solutions in the franchise industry. Cordell is a 20-year franchise veteran and a Certified Franchise Executive. Before joining Tortal, Cordell was with Driven Brands in various Operations and Training roles with increasing levels of responsibility. He currently serves on the Educational Foundation for the International Franchise Association. For more information on Cordell Riley, please visit www.tortal.com.