Outside interests

What
are the knock-on effects of T&D to the value and reputation of the
organisation? How does it impact on share value? How crucial is it to attracting
talent? Patrick McCurry canvasses some views

Bill
Lucas
Chief executive, Campaign for Learning

There’s
no doubt that training and learning, in their broadest sense, have important
knock-on effects on the bottom line and shareholder value of organisations. You
only have to look at the organisational transformation that learning is
bringing in companies such as National Grid and Centrica.

But
despite the importance of learning on the bottom line, on performance, on
behaviour and on recruitment and retention, few institutional investors pay it
enough attention. This is partly because not enough companies report on their
investment in people, although there are notable exceptions like Scandia.

We
need more companies reporting on their human capital and taking the message of
learning’s importance directly to shareholders.

I’m
afraid HR professionals must also bear some of the blame because they have too
often failed to align the HR strategy with the business strategy and seen their
role as just providing training rather than adding real value to the
organisation.

Andy
Matheson
Training and development manager, Zurich Financial Services

The
whole emphasis on intellectual capital means the stock market takes seriously what’s
inside people’s heads, particularly in service industry companies. Nowadays if
a few key people quit a consultancy it can create havoc.

This
all means there is a clear link between the skills and knowledge people have
and the performance of the company but intellectual capital is hard to put a
value on.

When
it comes to training and development’s impact on recruitment I think so many
blue chips say they offer great training that a good programme has become a
requirement to attract new staff.

I’m
not sure if being more aggressive in publicising training programmes is the
right approach because job candidates are sceptical and would want to
experience it themselves before believing it.

It’s
not even clear that having a great reputation for training benefits the
company. Look at Marks & Spencer, which had a legendary training programme
but ended up with serious commercial problems.

Sue
Prout
HR manager for business services, BT

While
development and training are not taken directly into account by the City, they
do look very closely at the kind of people a company has and what skills they
have. You will often see questions raised in the financial press about whether
management has the skills to take the company in the right direction.

These
issues are all linked to the quality of development and training of management,
especially at the senior end.

Development
and training is also important in attracting people.

At
interviews a lot of candidates say they are joining us because they know we are
willing to train them and it helps having the Investors in People logo.

I’m
less sure about how important training is in retention as I’ve never heard of
someone leaving because they’re not getting the training they want. But I’m
sure if someone was not getting any training at all it would contribute to them
leaving.

Glyn
Berrington
Training and development manager, Matra Marconi Space

I
feel that unless you’re a small and fast-growing technology company, it is very
hard to determine a link between training and development and shareholder
value. But there is certainly a big effect on recruitment and retention,
especially for young people and graduates.

A
couple of years ago we studied what attracted people to us and training and
development was one of the top five reasons. Certain companies in their sector
have a good reputation for training and that does tend to attract people.

In
terms of publicising training, it’s something we are taking seriously. In fact,
we are about to publish a brochure for graduates playing on our training
opportunities, both in the UK and in European joint ventures.

The
message of the brochure is, “Join us and you’ll get the best training and
development”.

I
think that with the disappearance of a job for life, employers have to
contribute to the employability of their staff, and that means opportunities
for training and development.

Nick
Wyatt
Training and development manager, Roadchef

There
is no doubt that training and development has an impact on how outsiders
perceive the value of the company.

We
were acquired recently by Nikko European Investments Ltd and they said that one
of the factors that attracted them to us was that we had Investors in People.

For
them, the fact we had IIP in place represented a kind of guarantee that we had
some foundation they could work from.

Training
is important too in recruitment and development. We stress our training package
in interviews as much as pay and benefits and we’ve had people return to us from
competing companies, because of our training and development.

We
do try and publicise our training through external awards, which we can mention
at interview, but it’s not easy to get much information on training in general
corporate material.

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