As director of the Center for Professional Development at
Webster University, Larry Mabrey has helped develop and implement the
university’s Leadership Continuum Certification, which takes a new approach to
leadership training and development. Mabrey previously worked as the external
communications administrator for Webster’s School of Business and Technology.
Q. What should companies train employees in as the economy
In an improving economy, customer service is an area that can
impact a business probably the most dramatically. As your business picks up,
you have the opportunity to capture new customers by providing top-notch
service. Hand in hand with that is communication, both internal and external.
Establishing strong internal and external guidelines for communication can help
effectively manage whatever growth you have because everybody is aware of
what’s going on.
Q. How can companies determine what training employees need?
They have to do an analysis of their own organization, doing
something as simple as a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats)
analysis on your company. If you step back objectively, you can get a snapshot
of where the opportunities are. Then you look at your people and say, ‘Do we
have the people who can take advantage of those opportunities or do we need to
give them some specific training to get them ready for that?’ Also, what are
your threats? If you see technological challenges coming ahead, then get people
trained in the technology areas that can specifically address those.
Q. What are some cost-effective ways to train employees?
Through the center, we have round tables that we do. Those of
course are free. Most regions have a local business paper, a local university
or college that provides these kinds of events, seminars that may be free or at
The idea of bringing a training company into your organization
and training an entire team may be of greater value to you than shipping your
whole team off to a weeklong conference or two- or three-day seminar. Having
someone come into your work can save you money and can be customized for you.
There are a variety of online training programs out there.