Like so many parents around the country at the moment, I'm ‘preparing for school’. Apparently, part of these preparations involves...
joining half the population of Hampshire at the nearest Clarks shoe shop to get feet measured, shoes selected, (exactly the same shoes as last year just one size larger), and congratulate myself on preserving my Son's feet for yet another year!
So, why the blog?
Because as mind-bendingly boring as all this may sound, it reminds me that when you understand your customer's needs you can prepare and make the journey a more pleasant experience for them and yourself. Training teams who can pre-empt their internal customer’s needs will not only gain more satisfaction from their role, but also more respect from their business.
A case in point
On entering the shop, and not walking out again after seeing at least a dozen families waiting their turn to have their own children's stinky little feet measured, an employee actively engaged with me and gave me a ticket. (These tickets normally sit innocently by themselves waiting to be taken.) She then wrote our allocated number next to an expected time slot and reassuringly told us that although there would be a wait, they had trained up extra staff as it was the 'two-week push,' and someone would be with us as soon as they could. And they were. A delightful young chap, wielding a tablet which; entertained, measured and suggested shoes for us to try on. We left with two pairs of shoes and two smiles.
The simple fact that Clarks knew there would be a two-week rush, that they had trained up extra staff for it, and these staff actually knew what they were doing, means someone somewhere got something right!
In Training, understanding supply and demand is also crucial. Some situations where training needs to up its supply are obvious; Extra inductions for a ramp up in recruitment, additional upskill training for a new IT system, talent programmes for succession planning etc. But understanding is only half the battle! Being in the know early enough to have that supply ready is another matter altogether, and can only be attained when Training and L&D professionals are an intrinsic part of their business.
So, how does training become an intrinsic part of the business?
Gone are the days of a single annual Training Needs Analysis, where training was mapped out for a year as the sole source of learning. If you really want to be part of the business, you need to be able to pre-empt demand and have the flexibility to supply it. Here are a few things to consider:
Back to the shoes…
In drawing some sort of conclusion to these two subjects, my slant on this is simple. I said before that 'someone, somewhere got something right', chances are, they did all the things I mentioned above and more! Had they not, I might still be waiting … or possibly sending my Son to school in flip flops!
A training team that is seen as an intrinsic part of the business, does not get asked to run training at the last minute, or for a report to support a project that is due tomorrow. They are already on the case because they are already ‘walking in their customers shoes!’
If you’re based in Hampshire or West Sussex and are looking to move your Trainers towards being Internal Learning Consultants, and becoming more proactive in your business, drop me a line. (I promise not to turn up in flip flops!) Get in Touch
Learning doesn't just happen in a training session. It happens all around us! Follow my ramblings and continue to see the world in a different light!