Is Your Training Recognizably Different?

Is your company different? I mean, is it recognizably different from other companies its size, in the same area, or compared to its competitors? What about your people — your service department and customer service? Are they a “cut above the rest”?

Consider the reputation your company enjoys (or doesn’t). We have a crisis of trust,” says Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, chief research officer of the Reputation Institute, a reputation measurement and management services firm. He’s saying that people are questioning whether they can trust organizations. In their recent study, released as the “RepTrak 100”, they what a big deal a company’s reputation really is.

But, to whom does your company’s reputation matter?

It certainly matters to most customers, but reputation also matters to the talent pool of candidates evaluating your company as a viable workplace. A survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) asked millennials, “Which of the following characteristics make an organization compelling to work for?” After “career progression” and “compelling wages”, “excellent training and development programs”, was sited third by 35% of millennials.

Since training and development factor into a company’s reputation, it is worthwhile evaluating your current training programs. Many companies claim their “most important resource” is their people, but they continue forcing them through dry, obligatory training modules. Employees, if smart (you only hire smart employees, don’t you?), can likely guess their way through much of the mundane training.

If your training were to improve, how much in time and resources would it take to make a noticeable difference? How much of an improvement would be needed for people to “notice the difference” in your training? One of the concepts from Scrum might help answer these questions.

Scrum is, “The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time”, as the title of Jeff Sutherland’s book implies. One of Scrum’s core principles is that human beings need to see a significant difference in order to easily distinguish between things. That difference approximates the “Golden Ratio”, 1.618. For example (stay with me here), if students were asked whether training course “A” was better than training course “B”, then course “A” would have to be at least 1.618 times as good as “B” for the students to actually recognize the difference (improvement). Human beings naturally recognize differences in this way, even in nature.

Easily recognizable differences

The seed rows and petals of a Sunflower, the branches growing on a tree, the increasing size of a sea shell, and even music uses the “rule” that human beings need enough of a disparity between two things in order to easily distinguish between them and to rank them. It might be hard to rate something as either a “5” or a “6”, but it is much easier when the numbers have a spread approximating the “Golden Ratio” (1.618). Scrum teams use just such a number sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, etc.) to easily judge and rank tasks in order of importance. Math geeks and Scrum Masters know this as Fibonacci’s number sequence (Fibonacci was a 12th century mathematician). Look at the ratios between a few numbers in his sequence: 21/13 = 1.615, 89/55 = 1.618, etc. All of these are very close to the “Golden Ratio” — giving us the ability to easily recognize differences between values.

What does this have to do with your talent pool, your company, or your training? The point is, that in order for your customers to recognize a clear difference between your company and your competitor’s, your value proposition must be at least 1.618 times better than theirs. Your service must be better, your people better, and yes, your training better — at least 1.618 times better!

When a company outshines its competition, the HR department has an easier time finding and retaining needed talent. Technical training is an integral part (or should be) of programs to attract talent and to retain that talent. Good training involves relevant, regularly-offered technical training. Today’s valuable employee is a lifetime learner. Lifetime learners expect to have their need for training satisfied. If a company does not outshine its competition, HR will no doubt see an increase in turnover, especially as the Boomers head down Retirement Road and others jockey for better employment positions. All this affects reputation.

Companies like Amazon, Zappos, and eBay know that their reputation is largely seen via their online presence. In today’s digital world, 80% of customers’ buying decisions are made before they connect with sellers. Your future employees are scrutinizing your company as a place of future employment. Candidates are researching companies online that they might want to work for long before HR sees them.

With the existing skills gap, companies need to remain competitive in the eyes of candidates looking at them. The training companies offer is part of their reputation. Companies need to leverage every advantage available and ensure that the training and development they offer is recognizable as best in class within their marketplace.

Is your training effective? On a scale of 1–10, are your training evals coming in at “5”, or above “8” (5 x 1.618)? See the difference? Even in the widely-used Net Promoter Score (NPR) system, anything below an “8” is considered nothing to brag about.

When you want to move your training past the “status quo” to attract and retain the talent you need to achieve success, consider working with an education company to produce that competitive advantage.

Fibonacci would probably agree that a reputation 1.618 times better than your competitors would be the minimum recommended differentiator. Your future employees are no doubt assessing your company as you read this.

SnackLearning helps provide the educational expertise needed to make companies stand out as recognizably better. Check out our website to learn more about:

When you are ready to move up in the number sequence, we invite you to contact us and to start a conversation.

Founder/CEO at SnackLearning | Skills Gap Learning Solutions for Manufacturing and Oil and Gas |