Eating without silverware: What HR can take from the dinner table

Leadership trainer and author Kyle Willkom shares what he's learnt about HR from dining ettiquette

Eating without silverware: What HR can take from the dinner table
fessional development programs are often hard to justify, but they shouldn’t be. We live in an ROI-first world, where everything needs to be measured, and all employee action must contribute to the bottom-line. 
I’m going to be bold and say that there is something fundamentally wrong with this. 

When you’re having guests over to your house for dinner, you may want to make them a nice meal. You spend the time and energy necessary to create an appetizing main course, and sides that you feel will be truly impressive. You think your guests are going to be enamored by your preparation, when you realize that you have no clean plates, glasses, or silverware. You also haven’t cleaned your house, turned the front lights on, or provided your guests with directions to your house. 

Your dinner guests may not even show up. 

A company is very similar. So much time is spent worrying about the meat and potatoes, that no time is spent creating a quality overall experience for the consumer, and this starts with professional development. 
While a customer’s experience can be improved by packaging or superior products, most likely, people and process will make or break an experience. 
Some questions you should ask yourself when evaluating your training programs:
  • Are your employees receiving the training they need to do the x’s and o’s of their job well?
  • Is the training you provide actionable? Does it correlate with your employees ability to do their job well? 
  • Have you developed a winning process? Is there a step-by-step guide to employee success?
  • Are you only focused on measurable ROI? Are there other factors you need to consider when developing employees? (ex. morale, educational growth, company culture, values, etc.?)
When the bottom-line is the only important number, your employees realize it, and soon, your customers will too. 
When looking to build a dynamic professional training program, be sure you think about plates and silverware, not just meat and potatoes. 
For more from Kyle on leadership development and training, be sure to reach out to him on Twitter.

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