3 Questions Featured

10:40am EDT July 6, 2010

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

improves?

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

low cost.

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.