Does Employee Training and Incentives Improve Quality of Service?

In this article, we will provide information on the advantages of cross-functional integration and transparency with an external partner, particularly suppliers. What we discovered was that companies using training for the suppliers tend to reap more financial benefits from the quality efforts. Training offers a common language helping suppliers understand the impact that defects or other setbacks, such as delays, will have on the final client, thereby resulting in a unified focus on the client and increased financial advantages.

The same concepts of common language, transparency, and understanding the impact of roles on quality should hold true for the company’s staff members. This is why the article will examine more closely the relationship between incentives and staff training programmes.

Training Staff and Financial Value

The training programmes assist employees in developing competencies, establishing a quality-focused work culture, and understanding their role in creating quality services for the client. Respondents were asked to indicate if they had undergone quality-related staff training programmes. While the majority of companies do not present with formal training programmes, it was seen that more organisations are now investing in matrix management training programmes as compared to those in the year 2013.

Although it cannot be argued that there is an intrinsic financial value to offering quality training, certain questions remained unanswered, such as who will receive the training and what training should be provided.

Choosing Employees to Train

The majority of respondent companies (56%) offer their employees involved in quality activities quality management training, either via direct training or a compensation for external training. Approximately half of the respondent companies (44%) also provide quality-related training programmes to the staff driven by the need to embed a quality-focused work culture within the business.

To understand where the company should focus the training resources, with regards to ROI, we performed an analysis of the staff offered training and the companies’ financial advantages of quality.

Using traditional wisdom, it would be best to increase the quality training for all employees, thereby developing a shared perspective and improving the company’s culture of quality. The analysis indicates a drop in financial benefits for companies offering quality training to their staff and shows a larger increase in financial benefits from companies providing training for quality-related employees (particularly those who request training).

Topics to Train Employees In

The majority of companies focus training programmes on quality fundamentals, quality management principles, ISO, auditing, and quality resources. However, few companies include training on customer-value topics, such as the client experience, New Promoter Score and lean. To fully understand what training promotes and increase financial benefit from quality, we conducted an analysis against the training offered and the companies’ financial benefits of quality.

The findings indicated that almost all forms of training programmes discussed in the survey correlated to improved financial benefits. However, the companies providing training on client-value related issues, such as Six Sigma, lean, NPS and the client experience were more likely to result in higher financial benefits. This is understandable given the relationship between financial benefits and client value as discussed in our initial article. Companies utilising quality as a type of competitive differentiator for the benefit of the client and brand image will reap increased financial benefits.

Final Words on the Matter

As can be seen, the best organisations tend to utilise training as a means of driving commitment to quality and helping staff understand their role in service quality, including the impact on the overall driving value and end customer. However, companies must consider the function of the quality efforts before making decisions regarding the types of training programmes, the incentives, and which staff to target for training. If the companies’ goals are to create a culture of quality, then it is recommended to cast a wide net for resources tied to quality and train staff on the fundamentals of quality with the impact on how clients can reap benefits. However, if the company is leveraging quality to offer client value with potential price premiums, then it should consider incorporating training focusing on client experience with related concepts.