When the company got a stinker from a buyer of its products that the quality of merchandise he had received was abominable, and that he was returning the whole stock and would not make any payment including transport, there was a stunned silence in the office. The MD stormed out of his chamber and shouted himself hoarse on everybody. For, the consignment that was being thrown back on his face was worth several crores. The MD asked why such a thing should happen, and nobody had any answer.
However, a senior staffer in the MD’s office stepped up and said that he could answer the question provided the MD and his senior management guys had the patience to hear the truth. Reluctantly, the MD agreed for a meeting the next day.
The senior staffer, only an administrative officer, rose purposefully from his seat as all assembled in the conference room and said in calm but confident words, “Sir, I am sorry to state that I was afraid that this was in the offing. For, all these years, the company has not done anything to help production or marketing and sales staff to update its knowledge of operations in tune with changing times and modern technology. On several occasions, HR heads pushed for creation of a training department, but the management did not pay any heed to those appeals. As a result, the quality of inputs from the production teams started dwindling every passing day. We did acquire new technologies, but did not spend any money on training our production teams. Whatever the teams learned was from on-job experience, which was, naturally, full of trial and error methods. Obviously, such a production can never maintain quality of output. That is where we went wrong over the years, and are suffering now.” Having said this, the administrative officer just sat down and started looking straight up at the ceiling fan.
The MD realised that whatever the guy was saying had substance. He also realised that the chief culprit in this episode was he himself. For, it was he who had opposed to establishing new training department which he found to be a useless investment.
Slowly, the MD said in a sunken tone, “Look guys, the blame is to be placed at my door. I did not realise the importance of training and development activity as an imperative. Now, what can we do? I am open to ideas on this issue. Let us thrash out this immediately.”
What followed was a flood of suggestions and ideas, which the Board took seriously. Soon, a new Training and Development Department came up.
The difficulty with many enterprises is that the managements do not believe the efficacy of a systematic approach to training and development of the staff in tune with the changing requirements of the market and technology. As a result, what is in witness in countless companies is a good proportion of rejection of its production in the marketplace. That increases not just the useless spending but also the gap between financial input and output. In simpler words, all this means losses.
Those companies that spend good money on training and development activities always stay in profits since their work teams are in touch with the latest and are abreast with changing times.
Training does not mean only in technological areas. It is needed also in area of personal growth of the employees in technical as well as personal skills in favour of advancement in career. Even though a serious movement has been going on in the country in favour of training and development efforts, many Indian enterprises are still not serious about its efficacy and use. That is one of the reasons why average Indian business is yet to scale itself up to global standards.
However, the extent of realisation of this truth is only marginal in Indian business. That is a real national concern.