Most employees need training after they are hired, particularly at the entry level.  If you read here regularly, you know that I’m a big proponent of using validated selection tools when hiring and promoting.  It’s just more cost effective.

Recently, I was reading this entry by Paul Downs in the small business blog on the NY Times website.  To summarize, Mr. Downs has a cabinet making shop and he was computing the cost of bringing up one of his floor guys to do some light engineering work (note that his original numbers were off and he updated his calculations here).  The point he makes is that training can be expensive, particularly for a small business with limited working capital.  He also makes some good points on how to keep this investment from going out the door and the pros/cons of outsourcing the work.

What he doesn’t consider is how much less expensive the training would be if he used assessment to select one of his floor guys.  His presumption is that none of his guys have the computer skills, particularly on the software he uses.  This leads to a lot of additional projected training costs.  But, what if he’s wrong?  Maybe there is someone who is interested in the position that has experience with the software (or something similar).  Or, perhaps one of the workers has a very high aptitude for computers (which would lead to less training time than he anticipates).  The cost of determining who has the skills and aptitude for the job is a tiny percentage of the cost of training.

As I wrote last week regarding leadership, it’s not an effective HR practice to wait for skills to suddenly appear in your workforce.  Rather, you need to look for them in your employees and applicants doing so when hiring/promoting will not only make these talents available to your organization, but may also trim your training costs.

This is my last entry for 2012.  I appreciate you taking the time to read these posts.  Enjoy the holidays and I’ll be back in 2013.

For more information on ROI and talent management, please contact Warren at 310 670-4175 or