This 'no-brainer' statement is actually a serious indictment on the management of most organisations, who just don't 'get it.' Don’t believe me? Then just ask yourself what the correlation is between the investment in people in your organisation and the growth on its profits and/or performance. In most companies this isn’t even measured!
Early in my career one of the biggest inhibitors of productivity was the tendency for many managers to assess their importance by the number of people they had working for them. Fortunately we have moved on from there: unfortunately that is due more to the emphasis on downsizing than enlightened management.
If we really value people and the contribution they make to a business, why is it that when times get tough, almost invariably the first two things to get cut are:
1. Headcount; and
2. Training and development?
That very prevalent tendency proves that, as a general rule, management has no idea of the economic correlation between business growth and personal growth.
The wonderful thing here, however, is that we are not actually talking theoretically. The growth of Rosenbluth International from a $20 million company into a $6 billion global leader provides irrefutable evidence of the practical wisdom of Hal Rosenbluth's words. Yet, despite his example, and his detailed explanation of how he did it in his seminal book, “The Customer Comes Second,” very few organisations have picked up on his approach and followed his example. I cannot for the life of me understand why not.
Nor is that opening quote a single one-off statement. He backs it up when he says, “It’s important to look at training as a long-term investment. Companies that look for immediate returns on the time and money spent on training will be disappointed. The investment in training should be viewed no differently from any capital project. Its success should be gauged by the benefits over the entire life of the project, not just by looking at years one and two.”(P 85)
The only thing I would quibble with there, are the words’ “the entire life of the project.” To me a person’s training is part of the cost of growing that individual, something that has benefits way beyond the life of a single project. This is why, in the Zealise approach, I would capitalise these costs, but as part of the increase in human asset value of the individual. This is what provides the added value, for it is this that re-establishes and reinforces the partnership between the individual and the organisation. It is thus not only the means to engender employee engagement and ensure that people are truly happy at work, but it is the glue that will cement the organisation and provide the basis for developing meaningful, empirical KPI that will improve business performance measurement AND prove the relationship between the growth individual growth and bottom line business growth.