Business Executives Need Proof Before Investing In Training and Hiring

By Mike Erlin

By Mike Erlin

Co-Founder & CEO

Investment decisions – particularly in regard to your organisation’s People strategy – must be based on trusted data to increase the likelihood of success. As businesses start to emerge and slowly recover from the impacts of COVID-19, mistakes (or failure) could prove fatal for some.

Investing in training without data

If you’ve spent any length of time in the corporate world, it’s likely that at some point you have had to participate in a training course for something you don’t need. Perhaps it’s for a skill or technology that you’ll never use; more often you’re provided with training for something you’re already proficient in.

This is what we call a scattergun approach. An HR manager, who lacks the time, tools and data to discover the skill levels of individual team members, will opt to train on ‘standard’ job skills rather than evidence-backed, targeted training.

Training should be an investment, but using the scattergun approach turns your investment into an unnecessary cost. This includes:

  • The cost of the training session itself (often charged per-head).
  • Time and opportunity cost: what could those already-proficient team members have been doing with the time wasted in unnecessary training?
  • Engagement cost: team members attending training for skills they already have can feel frustrated, bored, and under-valued.

The alternative is to enable targeted training by conducting a capability assessment to gain a snapshot of the entire team’s skillset. This will help you understand where capability gaps exist and provide a detailed analysis of each individual’s skill levels across a range of capabilities.  Doing so will save time, money, and help engage team members with a tailored training program that actually improves their capabilities.

In a sales team, for example, you may feel (through observation) that the team as a whole lacks presentation skills. Before committing to an investment in presentation training, this gut feeling should be confirmed with real data. This will:

  • Confirm or disprove your assumptions (perhaps the problem isn’t as bad as you thought).
  • Reveal the percentage of your team with poor presentation skills.
  • Rank the team in proficiency.
  • Show who your star presenters are.

You may even see an opportunity to avoid the cost of an external trainer by having your top presenters train or coach their colleagues.

Investing in hiring without data

The cost of poor training decisions pales in comparison to the money haemorrhaged by companies who fail to build a data-based hiring program. We know that the cost of replacing an employee can range from 30% to 150% of their annual salary, but there are several other costs involved. These include wasted time, lost productivity and reputation damage. 

From a capability perspective, there are two factors involved in poor hiring decisions:

  1. Failing to understand what capabilities make a top performer in your sales team.
  2. Failing to accurately evaluate job candidates to those identified capabilities.

Hundreds of articles have been published about the top skills needed by sales teams. They read like a shopping list of generic sales skills: communication, prospecting, business acumen, and so on.

The reality is that every business is different. Your organisation’s culture, goals, products and services, market, and clients all create a unique environment in which the skills that make a top-performer for one organisation won’t necessarily do so for another.  

In a previous article, we discussed why it’s vital to avoid attempting to guess what makes a top-performer in your sales team. Mapping your whole teams’ capability levels across a range of skills will not only inform your training program, but will provide the data you need to hire people with the potential to become top-performers.

Additionally, knowing with confidence where your capability gaps exist will help you determine whether to plug those gaps through training or hiring.

The final piece of the puzzle is to incorporate a capability assessment into your hiring process. Don’t trust what you read in a resumé or what a candidate tells you in an interview: instead, test them for the skills you need, get the data, then make the decision.

AbilityMap provides proven data and confidence in decision-making

AbilityMap takes the guesswork out of training and hiring investment decisions in three simple steps.

  • Define what you Need:  The Job Profiler defines the specific skill sets driving the desired behaviour and high-performance in a role within your business.  This is what you want and need more of.
  • Identify what you Have:  The Imprint – our next-generation online evaluation, maps each team member’s – or candidate’s – inherent capability level to the same criteria used to define performance in the Job Profile.  This is what you have and are working with.
  • Compare:  The Matching Engine software then compares the two, identifying the strengths and gaps between what you’re working with and what you need.  It’s the evidence to make more informed and better decisions.

AbilityMap provides a clear, scientific understanding of your organisation’s human resources’ strengths and development needs. It provides insights that optimise your strategies and back your human capital investment decision to reinvigorate your business by optimising training or recruiting crucial talent.

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