“You don’t build a business. You build people – and then the people build the business.” – Zig Ziglar
The truth in that statement is so profound that I say to myself, “why don’t more business executives understand this?” I have been speaking a lot recently to credit union executives and directors about the importance of developing the credit union’s employees. One of my favorite things to say is that an organization only grows as much as its people are allowed to grow.
Sometimes, I get a lot of head nods that indicate to me that at least some in the audience are agreeing with me. Then there are the dissenters that challenge me as well as other people in the room. Healthy debate, as long as it is respectful and constructive, is never a bad thing. But I must admit that I hear some pretty lame excuses from people that don’t think training or professional development are important. Here are a few of my favorites:
Why should we hire consultants or trainers from the outside when we can do all of the training in-house? Not a terrible question; however, while your inside trainers are more than capable of teaching new hires the benefits of your credit union’s products and services, they may not be as strong on the soft-skills – leadership, conflict management, project development, sales & service, etc. For stuff like that, you will benefit more from hiring an expert in those areas to come in with an objective point of view and a clean slate. This person will take an unbiased look at what is happening and will try to discover the root cause of the issue. Then, he or she can design a program to address the issue and provide solutions. Trainers from inside the organization may not be able to be unbiased and objective.
Training costs too much. Well, you get what you pay for I guess. Yes, there are costs associated with hiring professional trainers. You don’t expect us to work for free, do you? Many of the credit unions that have a great need for professional development are the same ones that haven’t changed their budget structure in years. They continue to spend money on things like buying logo pens, pocket calendars, and other member freebies that are no longer relevant or useful for what should be their target markets. My point here is that some credit unions really need to prioritize and realize that there are things that you must spend money on. If they don’t start to concentrate on helping the employees get better at what they do in order to keep up with the ever-changing marketplace, well……you get the idea.
If we provide all of this training, our best employees will just leave for better opportunities. Get over it. That’s the world we live in. If you are running a credit union or any business for that matter, you have to accept that eventually some of your best employees will leave. And know this….if you decide against providing training and development opportunities to those same employees that you think will leave, they are already polishing their resumes and are looking to leave you anyway.
It’s time to get serious about attracting and retaining top talent. Professional development is guaranteed to help you do just that.