Why Education is the Secret to Successful Change

Jeremy Wright

Why Education is the Secret to Successful Change

Many organizations analyze return on investment (ROI) for nearly every initiative they begin, but when was the last time you saw an ROI calculation for education? The power of an educated workforce can help a company on many fronts. Whether it is a lubrication and reliability program or a health and wellness program, education is critical to the overall likelihood of a program’s success.

40%   of Machinery­Lubrication.com visitors say training of personnel is the most important factor for continuous improvement of their lubrication program 

According to a recent report from the American Society of Training and Development, U.S. businesses spent in excess of $175 billion on employee learning and development. Surely these companies have a grasp on their return for this huge investment - or do they? The results of simple training on a process can be easily measured in things like productivity and efficiency of that process, but what about finding the value of more intangible training programs like lubrication and machinery reliability? There are so many variables to the success or failure of these programs that it becomes difficult to pinpoint exactly what percentage of the success can be attributed to education.

While it seems most everyone understands the importance of training, no one can put a number on it. In a survey conducted by the ROI Institute, 96 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs said they were extremely interested in learning about the business impact of training programs, but only 8 percent could see this happening in their own companies.

There are techniques to isolate the financial benefits of training programs, including establishing control groups, agreeing on performance contracts with team members and monitoring business performance. Even though these financial benefits can be massive, when set aside, there is still compelling evidence as to why an educated workforce is a major advantage for any company.

Greater Efficiency

Training helps a company run better. Trained employees will be better equipped to handle issues that arise, address customer inquiries, make a sale or use computer systems. The more knowledge employees have about a given subject, the more successful and efficient they can be completing tasks related to that subject.

Better Recruiting

Today’s young workers want more than just a paycheck. They are geared toward seeking employment that allows them to learn new skills. You are more likely to attract and keep good employees if you can offer development opportunities through a great training program.


Job Satisfaction

Nurturing employees to develop more rounded skill sets will help them contribute to the company. The more engaged and involved they are in working for your success, the better your and their rewards will be.

Employee Retention

Training can instill loyalty and commitment from good workers. Personnel looking for the next challenge will be more likely to stay if you offer ways for them to learn and grow while at your company. Don’t give them a reason to move on by letting them stagnate once they’ve mastered initial tasks.

Added Flexibility

You can cross-train employees to be capable in more than one aspect of the business. Teach them to be competent in sales, customer service, administration and operations. This will keep them interested and help you when setting schedules or filling in for absences. Cross-training also fosters the sense of team, as employees appreciate the challenges their co-workers face.

Knowledge Transfer

It is very important to share knowledge among your staff. If only certain individuals have special skills, you will have a tough time recouping their knowledge if they suddenly leave the company.

Obtain Buy-in

Training helps garner buy-in for new initiatives. It’s human nature to resist change. One way to overcome this obstacle is with a simple training that explains the whys of the change and how the change affects them.

Promote Innovation

Training is a central promoter of innovation. It’s easy to understand how knowing more about a subject can help drive innovation in strategies or products.

As an educator and a technical consultant, I often get a front-row seat in the change-implementation process. By educating a program’s stakeholders, you not only can gain momentum and recruit soldiers for your cause, but you also can find the true champions - those who genuinely want to learn more because they are fascinated by the subject matter. Frequently, they will take this knowledge and spread it among their peers. This then becomes the catalyst for change within an organization and leads to easier adoption of new programs.

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