Auto Service World
Feature   October 1, 2003   by Gordon Cameron and Ken Keis, Results Consulting Group Inc.

The Ironclad Case for More Learning/Training in Your Business

Marketing for Results

Why would anyone want to decrease profits? When you omit learning and training from your business practices, you put a slow leak in your bank account.

It’s easy to think you are saving money by cutting “training” in your company. But when you delete training, you join the ranks of customers who don’t service their vehicles. They may not see the repercussions now, but just wait a while!

In previous articles, we’ve exposed learning myths and revealed future training trends. Today, we’ll share research that proves that the most profitable organizations provide/partake in the most learning/training.

In 2000, the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), of which we are members, conducted a research study that involved more than 3500 organizations in multiple industries-including automotive. After the information was calculated, it was clear that organizations not committed to continuous learning/training were, on average, the least profitable.

If you sent your team to only a couple of three-hour seminars last year, we’re not surprised your management may think training doesn’t pay. The study suggested that a few hours of staff training per year produces few measurable results-like working out 10 minutes a week and wondering why you aren’t fit!

What did the Learning Leader organizations do?

The most profitable organizations invested double the average investment-240% more-into training and learning for their people.

Training provided, per eligible employee, per year

Average organizations: 26.3 hours

Leading organizations: 62.5 hours

Investment for learning initiatives, per employee per year

Average organizations: $1040

Learning organizations: $2600-260% more per person

Investment for learning initiatives, converted into percentages of payroll

Average organizations: 1.8% of payroll

Learning organizations: an amazing 3.6% of payroll

Preferred delivery methods for learning

The delivery preferences of the Learning Leader organizations and the average organizations were very similar.

Instructor-led: 80%

Technology-delivered: 8.4%

Self-paced or distance-learning: 8%

Various other methods: 3.6%

One of the main reasons for the poor showing of technology-delivered learning was participants’ frustration with “not right the first time” launches of e-learning programs-such as CD-ROMs that crash, slow Internet service, and email learning that lacks interactivity. The study also documented that once a learner has a negative experience with e-learning, he or she is significantly less likely to take future e-learning courses.

You have one chance to get your e-learning set up properly. Unless you can be certain you’ll do it right the first time, don’t even try. Piece-meal, partial solutions are not acceptable.

The benefits, flexibility, and learning opportunities provided by the e-learning option, however, are too great to abandon. Projections show a doubling of technology-delivered learning over the next 18 months. By 2004, close to 25% of learning will be technology-based.

Who conducted training for Learning-Leader Organizations?

Outsourcing is seen by Learning Leaders as a powerful way to access expertise in a just-in-time manner. They are more likely to use outside providers and contractors to provide their learning needs.

96.6% used outside learning firms

89.7% used colleges and universities

86.2% used product suppliers

86.2% used independent contractors

Performance management practices

How did the Learning Leaders grade their employees, to ensure the company maximized their return on investment?

98% conducted an annual performance review

92% documented individual-development plans

83% documented each individual’s competencies or skill sets

78% produced skill-certification programs

64% conducted peer reviews or 360*Feedback Assessments

Work practices

How did the top businesses operate, to achieve higher profitability, compared to their peers?

97% had problem-solving teams or quality-circle teams

92% included job-rotation or cross-training as part of their process

78% of the Learning Leaders involved their employees in the management of business decisions

That last element is generally overlooked in our industry: 92% of the Learning-Leader businesses encouraged employee access to confidential business information. So often, the “dealer statement” is not given to managers-let alone staff members. The research proved that the more the team knows about the details of the business, the better able the team members are to produce profitable results for the business.

Compensation practices

How did the top organizations compensate their team?

66% had incentive programs in place

64% provided profit-sharing opportunities

54% based remuneration on proven skills and knowledge-not on seniority, as many organizations do

51% had team- or group-based compensation plans

The bottom line?

Training generates the highest business profits-and automotive service is no different. Many businesses across the country are seeing first-hand what learning/training can do-both for their employees and for the organization as a whole. Although there is still a significant gap between the Learning Leaders and the “average” organizations, the developing trend is toward more learning and training-two factors critical to your profitability.

About Results Consulting Group Inc.

Results is an international full-service business consulting company with special expertise and experience in the automotive industry. In the past five years alone, Results’ team of automotive professionals has trained more than 20,000 automotive personnel-and logged thousands of in-store consulting-project days, from independent operations to national and international chains. Senior Partners Ken Keis and Gordon Cameron have over 45 years of combined business-ownership experience and 15,000 hours of automotive consulting experience. The Results Performance Institute provides a full range of information products and services designed to increase your business and individual performance, including personal one-on-one coaching, in-store consulting, on- and off-site educational sessions, tele-conferences, videos, and audio solutions. Results also provides appointment-scheduling and dispatch software solutions-ServiceMate-specifically designed for the independent maintenance and repair sector. Shops wishing to start growing their service business immediately can now order ServiceMate software. Created for shops from 2 to 32 technicians, it almost pays for itself the first week you use it. Learn more about this easy-to-implement solution: Call 1-866-852-4347.

Results’ copyrighted service marketing and operational system, “0% Customer Defection & 100% Customer Retention,” has a proven track record of increasing service gross by 10-20% and beyond-in less than six months. For further information about Results and its automotive and business solutions, call us Toll Free at 1-866-852-4347, email, or visit our Website at

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