“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and have them stay” – Henry Ford, Founder, Ford Motor Company
“Successful people invest in their education, development and their personal motivation – knowing that these are the tools to success” – Grant Cardone, Entrepreneur/Trainer/Speaker
“Only the people who take learning, growth and skills development will be tomorrows leaders” – Alli Worthington, Business Coach
There is a lot written around the desired profile of a Customer Success Manager when hiring but whatever that looks like that static profile will not be enough for your business moving forward. Neither should it be enough for you as that Customer Success Manager if you wish to continually progress your career.
In a recent survey it was reported that 85% of workers indicated that employer-provided training increased their own workplace loyalty significantly. That same survey showed that workers who trained just one hour per week saved nearly two hours per week through productivity gains. Clearly there is significant RoI on training, yet when you look at statistics and depending on what survey data you look at, between 50% and 33% of workers interviewed did not receive employer-provided training in the previous 12-month period. So, if the return is clear, why do employees not get that training and who is to blame, if anyone?
I was told a few years ago by a mentor of mine that there are only two people that genuinely care about your career; one is your mother and the second one is you. So, if that is the case, the responsibility of your development and learning falls firmly on your shoulders. But is it that simple? Frequently, it’s a matter of time and how companies make time for their employees that prevent this from happening. Therefore, your employer has a responsibility to enable you to pursue your continuous development and learning. How can they go about doing this?
The make-time-for-training debate is one that hits both the employee and employer. As a Customer Success Manager, with an already packed agenda and workload, with customers and internal stakeholders all wanting a piece of you and your time it is easy for training to slip down the list of priorities to the point of extinction. As an employer, with a number of projects that arguably can be seen as a greater priority it is easy to understand how this doesn’t make it onto the roadmap.
So, what can you do to ensure that training is higher up the list of priorities, both as that employer and as that employee?
Training and development must be seen as part of your company culture
A commitment to providing training and the time to complete that training sends a very strong message to the workforce that the company is fully committed to the continued development and success of their employees, together with their general well-being.
That is easier said than done though. So, what can you do as the CEO of that company? It can start with a very clear vison and commitment written into the company’s value or mission statement. Ensure this is lived and breathed from the top down; demonstrate these behaviours across the leadership functions and ask your managers to own this into each of their own teams.
As an employee, as a Customer Success Manager you have your own commitment you need to make around how you will continue your pursuit of development. While training is and will always be a significant part of your development plans do not limit it to just that. Open your mind and activities to more; social media activity, blog writing, job-swapping, networking, event attendance, webinar viewing and more, are all hugely impactful in your development.
Reward & recognition
As alluded to previously, as a Customer Success Manager the demands on time is continuous with customers alone, never mind all that comes with that internally. As a leader, either of an entire company, a department or a Customer Success Team it is important you recognise the commitment and sacrifices made. That recognition can come in many formats whether it is a companywide communication through newsletters, town halls or email or something much more personal through a 1-2-1 coffee. However you do this it is important you recognise the dedication to their ongoing development and progression.
Dedicated training & development time
This is arguably the hardest element to implement and even more challenging to maintain on an ongoing basis. As a leader ensure a dedicated time per week for development or training is created for your team; block book this time, insist that phones and emails are switched off, create a suitable environment for learning. Show your commitment to your team and their career, ensure you are continually reiterating to them the importance of their personal development.
More often than not, these positive intentions are made with the greatest will in the world but very rarely kept to. Something comes up, there is an urgent customer situation, someone can only see or speak to you at that exact time scheduled for your development. This is where you as a Customer Success Manager must take control of your own development, holding yourself accountable. Ask yourself honestly, will giving up that 30 minutes dedicated to your career have such an impact on that situation? Very rarely will it but it does potentially impact your levels of concentration during that time. If that is the case, then you need to make that decision yourself – what is best for you and your commitment to your development. Look at your diary, look at where you can make sacrifices, are there meetings that have little to no value than can be removed, or are there meetings that with greater focus can be reduced from an hour to 30 minutes.
Remember, only two people care about your career – your mother and you, so give yourself what you deserve.
For my own development I commit to a number of actions:
How do you ensure your continued development and career progression? What activities or actions do you commit to? What do you do for your team members to ensure their development?
It would be great to hear what is working and not working for others.
Matt Myszkowski - experienced Customer Success leader & founder of CustomerSuccessMatters