0 Why should I train my staff?

An Employment Trends survey by the CBI in October 2005 revealed that 98% of employers claim to provide training, which was up from 90% the previous year. The survey also found that apprenticeships were offered by just under half (48%) of businesses. I wonder what the figures might be if a similar survey was carried out just in our industry?

What is the staff training policy at your club or company?

Do you have an established culture of staff development, or do you just do the bare minimum to "keep legal"?

Some employers, particularly in small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), make no provision for staff training in their annual forecasts and budgets because they don't feel they can afford it, but this is false economy and the results can be disastrous. Not many months go by without an article in the local or national press about employers who have flouted health and safety rules and guidelines by not adequately training their staff to use machinery or equipment. Less dramatic but equally damaging to organisations, is the time lost through sickness or injury caused or exacerbated by misuse of tools or machinery, through ignorance or inadequate training.

So, at the bare minimum, your staff training must meet legal requirements. But there are many other tangible benefits of a well-trained workforce, including:

• Attracting and keeping good staff

• Staff Motivation

• Better control of costs

• Higher member/customer and client satisfaction

So, given that a staff training budget is essential, the next question is how to spend the allocation in the most effective way; ie how to decide who should receive training and how to source an appropriate training provider.

A first step might be to carry out a staff analysis, comparing what you require each member of staff to do (based upon their job description) against how efficiently they are carrying out their duties (based upon their regular appraisals or, less formally, by discussions with the staff member concerned and their immediate supervisor or manager). This should reveal any gaps in their ability and knowledge and reveal any training needs. Check very carefully that qualifications are current and meet legal requirements with regard to health and safety, for instance for pesticide spraying.

Once training needs have been identified you need to find someone to deliver the training. Personal recommendation is valuable, so talk to your colleagues and associates within the industry. Search the web and specialist groundstaff/ greenkeeper publications and, of course, talk to us here at Pitchcare!

When considering training providers, do look carefully at costs and make sure you are comparing like with like. What appears to be a relatively cheap rate can actually turn out to be the most expensive once you add in all the extras or "hidden costs". Once you find a provider who fits the bill, it's worth building up a relationship with them for all your training needs.

Lastly, don't forget to keep a record in your staff files of all the training undertaken by each individual, together with copies of certificates. Include induction training and courses or instruction which is carried out by your in-house staff. This record keeping is a requirement of quality systems such as ISO or Investors in People, but it's good practice even if you do not work within one of these schemes. Don't forget to make a diary note of when refresher training or qualification updates are due.

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