Expect real returns on training investments

by Scott Creighton

Training programs can accurately be described as an investment that can deliver real, measurable financial returns when those who crunch numbers for a living might see training as a “cost” of doing business.

Fleet managers are often surprised by the size of the financial results that emerge once they begin to track all of the related figures. There is no question that the price of the related programs can be tracked in terms like trainer salaries, training material, and the fuel used for an in-cab demonstration. Every one of these figures can be evaluated in the cells of an accountant’s spreadsheet.

Consider the savings that can be realized by investing in qualified training.  It can be as basic as training drivers on how to properly complete a vehicle inspection or adjusting mirrors for maximum visibility to appreciate the return on investment, with fewer maintenance costs or sideswipe collisions.

Even training employees who maintain shop space and clean the floor of a service bay can help to reduce the workers’ compensation costs that are linked to slips and falls.

The financial returns do not end there. These investments play a role in reducing recruiting and retention costs, especially when the training is seen as part of a long-term strategy rather than an example of short-term discipline.

Each session in a classroom can help an employee to see they are worthy of the investment because they perform an important role in the future of the company. And let’s face it – everyone enjoys doing a job that they are good at and respected for.

There is an enormous price to be paid whenever a fleet needs to find, replace, and train an experienced driver.

According to Trucking Human Resources Canada, it can cost between $6,000 and $14,000 to find, train and replace an experienced driver. Imagine the amount of training that can be delivered for this amount of money. It can simply make more financial sense to enhance the skills of an existing driver than to hire a new one. Companies with a skilled and trained driver workforce are also in the best position to act on any opportunities that emerge in a competitive industry.

Meanwhile, targeting the training to match the specific needs of individual employees can also maximize the results, and their needs can be identified in a number of ways. Carrier profiles and driver abstracts will offer information about the nature of infractions that occur on the road.

A truck’s electronic control module or telematics system can help to identify drivers who are more aggressive with a throttle than they should be.

General feedback from customers and fellow employees alike will help to identify those who show the attitudes that deliver a safer driving experience. This is all information that can be tracked as accurately as any dollar figure. Another step to enhance any returns will come with the choice of skilled trainers who can deliver lessons the most effectively.

While fleets often focus on a potential trainer’s experience behind the wheel, as well as the number of years without a collision, there are also training-related needs to consider. The most effective people in these roles tend to demonstrate strong communication skills and have a positive attitude that can influence and inspire their trainees.

 These are all steps that will contribute to a healthy business strategy.  When the targeted training initiatives match financial objectives, the results are tangible for all and can make all the difference for a company’s financial future.  These are the types of investments that will pay dividends for years to come.


This month’s expert is Scott Creighton, director, risk services, transportation and logistics. Scott has served the trucking industry for over 25 years as a driver, safety manager, and in loss control and risk management services as well. Northbridge Insurance is a leading Canadian commercial insurer built on the strength of four companies with a long-standing history in the marketplace and has been serving the trucking industry for more than 60 years. You can visit them at www.nbins.com.

Have your say

We won't publish or share your data