MANY companies view training as something they will spend their money on only if they have to.

Usually, when pruning the company or department budget, this is often the first area that gets the chop. And yet can you really afford not to?

Dr Donald Wetmore, a time management specialist from the United States, told online e-zine Activepro why training is no longer just an option:

* Training is not a cost. It is an investment.

"It really doesn't matter what we pay for an investment. What's relevant is what we get in return.

"One of the best ways to jeopardise an organisation's future in today's world and increase the probability of troubled times is to look at training as a cost, and pay the price of not training or provide substandard training that operates only as a Band-Aid for the training requirements."

* A person being paid $50,000 a year who is wasting just one hour a day is costing the organisation $6,250 a year.

"If, by participating in a time management seminar, that person can learn how to recapture just one hour a day, that translates into a payback to the organisation of $6,250 a year."

* If there is a group of 25 people, the return to the organisation is $156,250 a year.

"That does not even include other benefits like profitability, reduced turnover, improved morale, enhanced teamwork, greater creativity, etc. Over five years, the payback is $781,250. What would your organisation invest to achieve that return and payback?"

Lifelong endeavour

Not so many years ago, training was an option for most organisations.

Today, it is a necessity. If your company continues to do what it does the same way, within five years it will become obsolete. Why?

Because your competitors are helping their people to become more effective through training.

If you look closely at companies that are doing well in the long run, they almost always have a well thought-out training programme in place. They realise the price for not training is the real expense of training.

The most important training or knowledge enhancement you can offer to your employees is in the personal development area.

In every organisation I have worked in, people issues are always the biggest challenge.

You really can tell the difference between a "switched on" organisation or individual as opposed to the general "run of the mill" variety.

Their attitudes are positive, and it reflects right through the company. This in turn affects productivity, staff morale and, of course, profits.

Training is a lifelong endeavour. It has to be ongoing. Life changes constantly and so do your needs and those of your people, the No. 1 asset in every business.