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Training – what’s it worth?

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Learning should never be for its own sake, so what do you really get in return?

Whether you’re self-employed or a long time employer, investing your hard earned cash and precious time in training can be a tough call. The choices are varied regional colleges, NVQ accredited training schools, private academies, in-house training or independent educators and once you’re over the hurdle of where to train, how do you make your time and money work hard?

Sheriff Mehmet of Envy Barbers (@envybarbers) is both an educator and an employer he says “I check that my staff are confident in all the techniques required and once I’ve id’d a weakness I set out a plan. For barber shops considering external training I recommend they research the educator. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a College or a private academy, don’t just go on brand names and look for a low student ratio. Back in the shop get them to show you what they learned and share it with the team. Always ask for hand-outs and keep them centrally. As an employer if you paid for the course, you own the material and it might be valuable to refer to later.”

It’s frustrating when money in the till doesn’t instantly equal training investment. Robert Rix of Master Barber (@master_barbers) and Paul Simmons (@kingofmenshair) confirm that you need a big picture mind-set and a really long view. Robert has been a barber for 54 years and employs all of his staff and says “I have an internal training structure and a team approach to training. It allows me to have complete control of the situation, standards and quality of work. Our apprentices learn in formal sessions but they also learn every day through observation. It not only shows them ‘how it’s done here’ but also gives them a chance to offer ideas on how we can improve. It’s a fresh pair of eyes. It needs to be a culture of learning and sharing and it never ends. Training in the shop is also great marketing because it shows your customers that you are a real craftsman and you are committed to the next generation.”

Paul Simmons, author of (@barberbible) is an educator and an employer, when new staff join regardless of their track record he spends a few weeks assessing their skills and matching their standards to his own. He provides staff with a 360 degree view on the skills and responsibilities of becoming a barber and includes guidance and coaching on attitude, meticulous diagrams and habitual training on looking after the perfect kit. He says “Be a tribal leader for your shop, demonstrate the standards that you want everyone to reach, invest in helping them but also hold them accountable.”

So…what’s training worth? It’s worth playing the long game and when the course ends, expect the real learning to start!

Summary of benefits

Staff retention – employers that train staff keep them longer, they’re in for a career not just a job. Customer trust – sharing skills in front of the customer demonstrates your commitment to constant improvement.
Customer loyalty – same/same…you train, you learn, you share knowledge, customers see you are investing in them, you come back.
Standards and quality – pushing up the bar for skills helps you stand out.
Professionalism – improvements build confidence and value in the eyes of the customer.
Staff motivation – fresh ideas, new perspective, more opportunity…gets the energy up!

 

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