Why It is Critical to Invest in Employee Training and Development - Kim Bames

Why It is Critical to Invest in Employee Training and Development

Kim Bames is the Regional Training and Quality Manager for the South East region of Everyone Active, the leading UK operator of local leisure, gym and swim facilities. In her role, she manages internal training courses for career progression and has helped many centres achieve numerous company awards. Kim has more than 25 years’ experience in leisure management, starting as a duty manager for Epping Forest District Council and working as both a General Manager and Contract Manager with Everyone Active.

We spoke to Kim about:

How investing in your staff can impact your business
Some common mistakes companies make when it comes to training and development
How employees benefit from good training
How to know if your training programmes are successful

How can investing in your staff impact your business?

Investing in your staff can help ensure that everyone is confident and informed to deliver the correct level of service and expertise required in the business. When your business grows, you need to ensure your team is motivated to develop and properly trained to meet the growing demands of the business.

At Everyone Active, we have invested £33,000 in training the Emerging General Manager (GM) and Emerging Head of Department (HOD) courses. A report carried out by Oxford Economics reveals that replacing members of staff incurs significant costs for employers – £30,614 per employee, in fact! There are two main factors that make up this cost:

  • The cost of lost output while a replacement employee gets up to speed
  • The logistical cost of recruiting and absorbing a new worker

The report reveals that a major cost implication for businesses replacing staff is the cost of them being less effective until they reach their ‘Optimum Productivity Level.’ The findings unveil that, on average, workers take 28 weeks to reach optimum productivity which has an attached cost of £25,181 per employee. (HR Review)

Management programmes can significantly reduce this cost as the knowledge has already been gained via the employee training. When done well, you can often employ a new employee before the original one has left the business providing an ample handover period. We have saved £900,000 by promoting colleagues and provided consistency within the business at a time of change.

What are some common mistakes companies make when it comes to training and development and how can they be avoided?

Having a training plan for each department will ensure all areas are covered with training throughout the year. Sometimes company training just covers mandatory courses and development training is often missed. Companies need to make it easy for colleagues to know what training is scheduled and how to book it.

Another common mistake is overlooking employee training opportunities. By having regular mentoring sessions, our managers ensure their teams take part in designated training as well as any additional development opportunities to ensure they can deliver the service expected. Mentoring allows people to be involved in their own continual development.
Another common challenge is that training is never re-visited or updated. The use of refresher training throughout the year helps all employees keep up-to-date with company standards and service expectations.

Companies often do not invest enough in technology to help them develop training which leads to missed opportunities for employees. The use of online training is key to ensuring everyone can access training to support their development. As companies grow, this can be a vital way to manage training for large numbers of employees.

What are the best types of training and development? How do you pick the best ones for your business?

The best training depends on your business needs. We use both in-house and external training. By offering options, we can ensure that employees within our business have the qualifications required by the relevant Governing Bodies. It also helps ensure that trainers are competent to deliver the individual needs of our business as it develops.

Working with top training providers helps ensure we offer the best training for our teams. It’s important we support all employees and try to provide accessible training that allows them to do their job well. Working with external providers allows tailor-made training for all departments. We are not afraid to try new training and start with pilot schemes to ensure the training meets our needs and can be delivered to a high standard.

Why It is Critical to Invest in Employee Training and Development Practical sessions as well as classroom-based courses allow us to ensure employees are supported in the best way for their learning.

How does training benefit your employees?

Training really helps with retention. This is because there are always opportunities for employees to develop their knowledge within their job role. It also provides opportunities to progress through the business and obtain management roles. We run a successful Emerging General Manager and Emerging Heads of Department training programme which allows colleagues to progress within the company. For the Emerging GM course, 40 colleagues have completed the course over the past five years. Of those, 75% have been promoted into a GM post or a regional role and 85% are still within the business.

Emerging Head of Department courses have been running since 2016. 49 colleagues have attended the course and 55% of them have been promoted into a HOD post with 78% of colleagues still within the business. Over the past three years, we have employed 95% of colleagues when HOD or GM roles have been advertised.

With the growth of our business, we have ensured our employee training supports colleague development with the opportunity for promotion. Having a diverse employee training programme allows people to have a variety of training to help them provide an excellent standard of service to our customers, they can gain in confidence and ability which will reflect on customer satisfaction.

Finally, we would also recommend apprenticeships. We run an effective apprentice scheme with over 350 people trained each year. This training is key to supporting young people in the leisure industry within a variety of departments. With the potential of a permanent job at the end of the course, this has been a positive way for sites to develop their workforce.

How can a company measure the success of your training?

We recommend assessing training plans continually using both industry and internal standards. Also, it is important to monitor colleagues throughout their training and offer support afterwards.

Everyone that attends training is asked for feedback so that training methods or content can be improved. We also record the number of colleagues that have been promoted off the back of attending training. We also monitor feedback from customers, management and other colleagues. All of these methods combined provide us with a very clear view as to the effectiveness off our training.

Reviewing customer satisfaction is another great way to ensure your training is meeting the mark. We review our customer satisfaction regularly through surveys and customer feedback.

Ultimately, if your employee training programme is working, you will have happier, more loyal employees who are not only great colleagues but also excellent brand ambassadors for your business.


Posted in The Fitness Network.