How can we overcome barriers to learning in logistics and transport? Part 1

At the recent Talent in Logistics Develop Conference, we asked our audience of instructors, in-house trainers and training providers to share their expertise when it comes to how logistics organisations can overcome common barriers to training and development.

More than 100 delegates worked together in teams to discuss example scenarios that represented some of the frequently faced training issues in the transport and logistics sector.

This is the first in a series of three blogs sharing delegate’s ideas and recommendations from the session. These examples might sound familiar and the advice may help you overcome some of your own internal challenges.

How can you justify time and budget for training?

The scenario:

Your organisation only trains to deliver short terms results and performance, the senior leaders claim that the cost for training far outweighs the benefit it delivers to the business. Occasionally they change their tune but then money gets a bit tight or the business gets busy and the training is removed from the schedule/budget.

Delegates’ ideas and recommendations:

The Health and Safety or Training departments need to educate senior leaders on why they shouldn’t cut training. You should explain relevant regulations and legislation and refer to Approved Codes of Practice.

Explain to the organisation about how investing in time to train now, could reduce downtime in the future with enhanced productivity. Safety levels would also improve and there would be less accidents, this would mean less damage to stock and machinery which would save money. Maybe using a case study of similar organisations that have ended up with fines where they haven’t met standards would help.

Senior management need to understand that it is better to pay a couple of thousand pounds on training every few years rather than paying out tens of thousands of pounds when there is an accident. It could be helpful to do some networking with other organisations to find out what they are doing and do some benchmarking.

Getting an in-house trainer has lots of benefits for training – it makes the team into more of a family and enables the trainer to identify their colleagues’ needs and address them. It could also allow you to split training up internally to take place over a period of time, flexing around peak times, rather than leaving it until the last minute and putting everyone under pressure.

It sounds like the workforce at this organisation won’t feel like they are being invested in and treated as the valuable asset that they are, they probably feel like they are just a number. Maybe changing the view on training and development would also help the company with staff retention, and therefore reduce recruitment costs.

How can a business overcome negative attitudes to training?

The scenario:

Your organisation has a workforce that is extremely disengaged, this becomes very apparent during times of change. When training is delivered on new processes and procedures there are lots of comments about how ‘it will never work’, ‘we have seen it all before’ and ‘what would the management know about our job role’. Sound familiar? How could you try and address this?

Delegates’ ideas and recommendations:

To tackle a disengaged workforce, it’s a good idea to reinforce the benefits of training. Sometimes by focusing on the personal benefits of training it’s easier to win hearts and minds.

Training highlights real challenges and situations encountered on the road or in an operational environment. The workforce think the managers don’t understand, so perhaps management could consider going ‘back to the floor’ and taking a ‘show not tell’ approach.

It might be helpful to look at examples from other companies who are getting it right, or, if there is disengagement with management, look at peer-to-peer training as an alternative.

It’s important to get open feedback after training. Technology could be used to do a staff engagement survey easily at grass roots level. In this scenario, the management should try and find out what the employee’s want, consider what’s possible and identify a middle ground.

More help with overcoming training challenges

These are just the first two example scenarios and some ideas on how to address them. Look out for the next blog in the series, which will look at the hot topic of getting managers on board with training.

In the meantime, you can learn plenty more about managing and developing talent in logistics and transport businesses through the Develop blogs on our website and in the Talent in Logistics Journal.

In the latest issue, you can get ideas about developing talent with a career development programme or read one logistics professional’s story on how they progressed from Apprentice to Account Manager.

Talent in Logistics Engage Conference

To help support you in engaging your logistics workforce, the Talent in Logistics Engage Conference will take place on 21st April 2020. The event will look in detail at how to boost employee engagement and the specific benefits this can bring to businesses in the transport and logistics sector.

Book Engage Conference tickets now or find out more.