October 17, 2017

Why training?

Keep star performers and build reader loyalty

Why training? Save money, improve staff skills

“What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? Not training them and keeping them.”
— Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker

Here’s how to use training to:

Increase retention

Employees are more loyal to organizations that help them improve their skills, as these studies show:

How do you keep your superstars?

Career development tops the list of the dozen key factors that keep employees in their jobs, according to a survey of 6,400 employees conducted by consultants Sharon Jordan-Evans and Beverly Kaye.

Out of a possible five choices, respondents in an AON study ranked “opportunities for personal growth” to be the No. 1 reason they took their current job and the No. 1 reason they’ve stayed at that job. That’s ahead of pay and the ability to balance work and personal life.

Unfortunately, 21 percent of respondents reported that their organizations didn’t provide adequate opportunities for personal growth.

Source: AON “United States @Work”

Boost retention by 300 percent

Companies that don’t train their employees are more than three times as likely to lose them, according to the”Emerging Workforce Study” conducted by Louis Harris & Associates for Interim Services Inc.

Source: “Emerging Workforce Study” cited in Business Week

Slash turnover

Only 12 percent of employees who rate their company’s training opportunities “excellent” plan to leave within a year. More than 40 percent of staffers who say their company offers poor training opportunities plan to leave within a year.

Source: “Emerging Workforce Study” cited in Business Week

Keep your top editors and writers

Each year, one in seven magazine employees resigns. The highest turnover rate: editor/writer positions. Replacing such a professional costs $100,000, according to Development Dimensions International.

Based on exit interviews covering what caused employees to leave, Association of Business Media (ABM) members have implemented retention programs that include better training and development.

Source: “Retention Strategies for Key Employees in b2b Companies,” a white paper researched and prepared by American Business Media (ABM)

Save $100,000 per employee

How much is retention worth? Replacing a professional costs $100,000, according to Development Dimensions International.

Want to take advantage of the retention-boosting power of training? Bring a Ann in for for training or coachingContact Ann Wylie for details.

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Save money

Bad writing is expensive, as this discussion with a communications executive revealed:

How much does bad writing cost your company?

I was having lunch with the vice president of corporate communications at a California-based Fortune 500 company, when the topic of bad writing came up. He detailed the problems his company was having because so many communicators struggled with their writing skills. Among the problems he mentioned:

  • The VP spent one-quarter of his time rewriting copy instead of focusing on communications strategy.
  • Employees didn’t receive and act on key messages because they didn’t read employee newsletters and intranet stories. The result: Employees didn’t support — or sometimes even know about — corporate initiatives.
  • Press coverage was mediocre because news releases were mediocre.

“What’s all this costing your company?” I asked.

“Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said, “in lost productivity, lost opportunities and wasted executive time.”

Source: Ann Wylie, Revving Up Readership, Oct. 23, 2003

How much does bad writing cost your organization? Help your staff members improve their writing skills. Bring Ann in for training or coachingContact Ann Wylie for details.

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Improve skills

Training can help you make your talent more talented:

Help your team perform better

Why don’t your staff members do what they’re supposed to do? According to Ferdinand Fournies:

  • They don’t know what they’re supposed to do.
  • They don’t know how to do it.
  • They don’t know why they should do it.

One solution: targeted training that helps employees understand what, how and why to do their jobs better.

Source: Why Employees Don’t Do What They are Supposed to Do and What to Do About It
by Ferdinand Fournies. Fournies, a management consultant and lecturer, collected data
from 25,000 managers about employee behavior to develop this book.

Polish your skills like the masters

One of the highlights of the Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism at Harvard is the throng of Pulitzer Prize winners. Not just behind the microphone, but in the audience. These folks have earned the highest honor their profession bestows but still seek ways to polish their skills.

We’re never too green — or too accomplished — to improve our craft.

So who’s on your team?

  • A group of young writers who need real-world, professional techniques?
  • A seasoned staff who could use some new ways of thinking?
  • A crew of masters who are ready to advance to world-class level?
  • Maybe you have a few of each.

Whatever the makeup of your group, you’ll find that exceptional training can help. Whether your team members have just landed their first job . . . or their 40th award.

Source: Ann Wylie, Revving Up Readership, Feb. 3, 2004

Try the 2 percent solution

The problem: These days, with layoffs, closings and reorganizations, it’s not uncommon for staff members to take on new responsibilities. That’s why it’s important to make sure all employees are trained in their latest responsibilities and know where they belong in the scheme of things, counsels Ralph Monti, president of Special Interest Media.

The solution: Set aside 2 percent to 4 percent of your revenues annually for regular training.

The result: Training sessions demonstrate that the company is interested in its employees, wants them to grow and is willing to prove it by giving them more bankable career skills.

Source: “Regular Training Builds More than Staff Skills,” Folio:, January 2002

Make learning easier

In a recent Labor Day poll, a New York consulting group asked working professionals: “What’s the most laborious part of your job?”

The No. 1 response: “Learning new information.” In fact, nearly one-quarter of the 900 people who responded ranked learning harder than dealing with difficult co-workers, meeting unrealistic deadlines and giving up personal time for work.

It’s a rare person who can thrive in today’s fast-paced environment without mastering new skills. To make the most of your team members’ talents, they must continue to learn and adapt.

Double your skills

Read what these experts have learned about the power of lifelong learning:

“If you improve your craft by 1 percent a day, in 70 days you’ll be twice as good.”

— Alan Weiss, Ph.D., principal, Summit Consulting Group

“If you study your craft for one hour a day, in three years, you’ll be an expert. And in five years, you’ll be a national expert.”

— Earl Nightingale, author of The Strangest Secret

If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.”

— Anonymous

“We don’t know a millionth of 1 percent about anything.”

— Thomas Alva Edison

“An investment in education always pays the highest returns.”

— Ben Franklin

“Skill is the new source of security in the 21st century.”

— Morty Bahr, CWA president

“School is never out for the pro.”

— Cavett Roberts, founder, National Speakers Association

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

— Alvin Toffler, futurist

“What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? Not training them and keeping them.”

— Zig Ziglar, success speaker

Would you like to make the most of your team members, whatever their current level of experience? Bring Ann in for training or coaching. Ann reviews your team’s writing samples to target her programs to your group. Contact Ann Wylie for details.

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Gain a competitive edge in public relations

Great PR writing is hard to find. But it’s exactly what clients are looking for.

Just listen to these PR leaders bemoan the state of writing in their business:

“Ask any of your clients what matters most to them, and I guarantee that writing will be among the top five skills they list. Nothing really happens in this business — or in any other — until it is written down. The art of writing is fundamental to public relations. Unfortunately, it appears to be a lost art these days.”

— Christopher Dobens, freelance writer

“Our client surveys have consistently shown that good writing is one of the five top performance measures in gauging client service. At the same time, we’ve seen a growth in concern about the quality of writing by our clients and, of course, by us.”

— Bob Druckenmiller, CEO, Porter Novelli

“Young people don’t enter the field as skilled in writing as they once did. The overall level of proficiency has declined.”

— Ann Barkelew, senior vice president, partner and general manager, Fleishman-Hillard

“An executive at a major PR firm, noting his agency’s writing tests for prospective hires, says, ‘You wouldn’t believe how many applicants can’t write their thoughts down effectively — some of these folks have up to 15 years of experience and can’t do it.’ . . .

“‘There appears to be a certain laziness or a lack of rigor in some PR writing,’ Scott Farrell, senior vice president with Golin/Harris in Chicago, tells PR Tactics. He says that much of the writing suffers in at least two ways — poor technical skills and an inability to put a story into the context of a business issue or trend.’ . . .

“Adds Kansas City Star reporter Matt Campbell, ‘The quality of stuff I see is all over the place.’ Some PR materials are to the point, he says, but others are long-winded, sophomoric and unfocused. The writing often features what Campbell calls the confessional approach: ‘They want you to know everything about them.'”

— Burton St. John III, APR, manager, communication programs, U.S. Postal Service

Sources: “The Lost Art of Writing in PR,” PR Tactics, April 1999; “Whatever Happened to PR Writing,” The Strategist, Fall 1999; Burton St. John III, APR, “Whither PR Writing? Skills Show Decline, Some Say,” PR Tactics, April 2002

It’s the writing, stupid

Senior PR practitioners believe writing is the area where young professionals need the most improvement.

Source: A survey by PRSA’s Counselor’s Academy

Want to deliver better copy to your clients? Bring Ann in for training or coachingContact Ann Wylie for details.

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Boost business performance

Whatever your business, training helps your organization boost performance, as these studies demonstrate:

Outperform the market

Companies that invest in learning outperform the market by more than 45 percent. Companies that don’t invest in their staff’s professional development underperform the market by 22 percent.

A 2000 study conducted by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) researched the average annual training expenditures of more than 500 U.S.-based publicly traded companies. Organizations in the top half of the group — those that spent the most on training — had a total stockholder return 86 percent higher than firms in the bottom half and 46 percent higher than the market average.

The bottom half of the group had an average total stockholder return of only 19.8 percent — 22 percent lower than the S&P 500 annual return that year.

Source: ASTD

Compete in a global economy

What’s the next wave in improving corporate performance? People development, according to a new study by Watson Wyatt.

People are the key to maximizing shareholder value and increasing profits in today’s global economy, say the 2,000 top executives from 23 countries who participated in the study.

Training is among the top three human resources issues facing companies now, according to senior executives. Forty-two percent of executives worldwide felt improving worker skills and knowledge increases productivity.

Senior executives say training and career-development programs are “the price of admission to be a player in a global economy.” The companies that break away from the pack and lead their industries will be the ones that create cultures dedicated to learning and knowledge, according to the study.

Source: “Competing in a Global Economy,” Watson Wyatt

Want to improve your people — and your performance? Bring Ann in for training or coachingContact Ann Wylie for details.

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