What happens once an employee has been hired? This section discusses training and developing employees and the importance of having a diverse workforce.

Training and Development

It would be nice if employees came preprogrammed with all the skills they need to do their jobs. It would also be nice if job requirements stayed the same: once you've learned how to do a job (or been preprogrammed), you'd know how to do it forever. In reality, new employees must be trained; moreover, as they grow in their jobs or as their jobs change, they'll need additional training. Unfortunately, training is costly and time-consuming.

How costly? On average, for every $1 in payroll, large companies spend close to $0.03 in employee training and development". The consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton invests almost $0.08 in employee training and development. At Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, the total is $0.14 out of every payroll dollar". What's the payoff? Why are such companies willing to spend so much money on their employees? Pfizer, whose motto is "Succeed through People," regards employee growth and development as its top priority. At Booz Allen Hamilton, consultants specialize in finding innovative solutions to client problems, and their employer makes sure that they're up-to-date on all the new technologies by maintaining a "technology petting zoo" at its training headquarters. It's called a "petting zoo" because employees get to see, touch, and interact with new and emerging technologies. For example, those attending the "petting zoo" several years ago got to try out the Segway Human Transporter even before it hit the market.

At Booz Allen Hamilton's technology "petting zoo," employees are receiving off-the-job training. This approach allows them to focus on learning without the distractions that would occur in the office. More common, however, is informal on-the-job training, which may be supplemented with formal training programs. This is the method, for example, by which you'd move up from mere coffee maker to a full-fledged "barista" if you worked at Starbucks. You'd begin by reading a large spiral book (titled Starbucks University) on the responsibilities of the barista. After you've passed a series of tests on the reading material, you'll move behind the coffee bar, where a manager or assistant manager will give you hands-on experience in making drinks. According to the rules, you can't advance to a new drink until you've mastered the one you're working on; the process, therefore, may take a few days (or even weeks). Next, you have to learn enough about different types of coffee to be able to describe them to customers. (Because this course involves drinking a lot of coffee, you don't have to worry about staying awake.) Eventually, you'll be declared a coffee connoisseur, but there's still one more set of skills to master: you must complete a customer-service course, which trains you in making eye contact with customers, anticipating their needs, and making them feel welcome.