Jason Webb, Continual Service Improvement Manager at California auto-body shop, Faith Quality Auto Body, strongly espouses the importance of quality, continued employee training—especially in relation to the growth of a business.
According to Webb, ongoing training has helped to increase growth at Faith Quality Auto Body, as their employees are able to adapt to new technologies faster, thereby improving the level of service that they provide.
“The best thing that shaped our business was just word of mouth regarding the quality of the repair,” says Webb. “The number one driver for business to our shop is when some refers us.”
Training simply refers to the method of acquiring the essential skills required for a certain task. It focuses on specific goals; for instance, understanding a process or operating a certain machine or system. In Faith Quality Auto Body’s case, this frequently means learning how to operate or adapt to new technologies.
Many business leaders say that ongoing training and career development are vital in any company or organization that seeks to grow in their area of expertise. In an article for Business Insider, Ben Horowitz, founding partner of Andereessen-Horowitz, says, “How do you make your company a good place to work in general? That’s a really, really, really large and complex set of skills. A lot of it is on the job training, combined with excellent mentorship.”
It is no longer feasible to consider leaving school and walking into a job that you will remain with until retirement. For the employee, ongoing training has become a method by which they can remain employed and beat the competition for jobs in a work environment that is continually in flux with layoffs, increasing short-term contracts, and constantly changing technology.
According to Faith Quality Auto Body’s CSI manager, the staff is an organization’s most valuable resource, so it is imperative that they are well trained, motivated, and productive. Ongoing training contributes to a happy and effectual workforce, but it can be expensive. Some employers are deterred by high costs, and mistakenly choose to cut training budgets in favor of more immediate financial priorities.
Ongoing training may be in the form of regularly occurring single events to update staff on new industry technologies, especially in fields such as the auto repair industry. From the employee perspective, regular training updates help in maintaining interest and motivation in their job, which in turn helps to reduce staff turnover. The real benefits to employees, however, depend on that learning being transferable and relevant to their current jobs as well as to their long-term careers. Training events should preferably be certified and accredited to have the most long-term value to employers and employees, advises Webb.
Many certification qualifications need to be updated regularly in order to remain valid, particularly within businesses such as Faith Quality Auto Body, where the employees need constant certification updates. In such cases, the single-event training model is not sufficient; there is a requirement to maintain certifications, as they will otherwise expire or lose their value. For these professionals, continuous learning is a vital part of their jobs, especially since technologies constantly change. Being a member of any professional auto body association or society requires maintaining a formal record of ongoing training.
According to Jason Webb of Faith Quality Auto Body, employees who earned their professional certifications many years ago know how important it is to refresh and use that learning; otherwise, it gradually becomes much more obsolete. No matter how worthy the quality of the training was at the time, the learning deteriorates over time and skills learned are no longer relevant. Just as an athlete’s muscles require constant toning to keep them in shape, so too do employees need to make use of what they have learned and occasionally revise or update the training. Single-event training can be easily be forgotten, so it is imperative for employers to evaluate, test and follow up effectively to get the maximum return on their training investment.
The high quality results derived from training employees are visible to the employers that choose to invest in it. As Meir Liraz, CEO of Bizmove.com, notes on the company’s website: “Employees frequently develop a greater sense of self-worth, dignity and well-being as they become more valuable to the firm and to society.”
Liraz continues, “Generally they will receive a greater share of the material gains that result from their increased productivity. These factors give them a sense of satisfaction through the achievement of personal and company goals.”
The countless benefits of continuous employee training are evident Faith Quality Auto Body and other companies that invest in their employees, all over the country.