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Structure your training needs

Leading figureheads in the automotive industry suggest that creating a training structure and policy is the easiest way to identify and assess your staff training needs.

The intricacies of this will vary depending on how many people are in your organization, but there are some practices that can be used universally.

Jeff Jennings, manager at the BMW Group Academy, says that having a corporate structure in place, which dealers can use as and when they need it, works for the German brand.

“BMW dealers assess the needs of their staff against a competency framework we provide. There is also a corporate university structure, which is designed to clearly define a career path for each delegate,” he says.

Sue Brownson, dealer principal at Blue Bell BMW in Wilmslow uses this structure for her staff.

She says: “We have access to our manufacturer’s training infrastructure, which includes an online facility called Training Needs Analysis. This enables users to enter their current status, their career aspirations and thus identify their training requirement.”

If there is no larger framework to work with, it still pays off to develop a policy for your business as a whole, as well as each individual.

“We advise managers to create a short training policy that states the intentions and objectives of the business in regard to training and development, which complements and contributes to the overall business strategy,” says Alan Mackrill, director of learning and skills at the IMI.

Once the needs have been established and the training has taken place it is vital to ensure you assess how effective it has been.

Diane Pocock, training and development manager at Lookers, says that progress can be measured against core standards such as profitability, labour sales, parts sales, efficiencies and complaints.

Whichever route is taken to achieve the end result, it is vital that your staff know their training needs are being prioritized for the sound future of their careers and for the company as a whole.

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