Retention, sales and customer service are terms frequently used when describing the various aspects of running a successful business. A term not heard as often, yet of equal importance, is corporate culture.

Dr Ludi Beukman, HR development specialist at Softline VIP, says that your employees are key assets in implementing and maintaining a corporate culture. It is
therefore imperative that you affirm your most valuable resource – your staff.
Corporate culture reflects the values, norms, and behaviors of a business and when a culture promotes positive and value-driven behaviour, a business gains an edge on the competition. A well-defined corporate culture creates unity among staff and loyalty to the business.
However, when the culture has significant negative aspects, this leads to a reverse cycle characterised by conflicted values, high attrition, and poor morale. Thus, making the effort to define and execute a healthy corporate culture is essential in creating a profitable and respected business which employees are happy to be a part of.
Beukman oversees Softline VIP's performance management and training budget for 65 executives, a large complement of consultants, and other employees. He says that while more than seventy percent of the time dedicated to training is spent in-house, direct outsourced training costs can easily be more than that of in-house training.
"In my experience, cultivating managers who can reinforce your corporate culture is most effectively achieved through in-house training. Training in-house is also more cost effective. However, cost should never inhibit you from capitalising on outside guidance. Strike the right balance between in-house and outsourced training and the results will speak for themselves. In-house training is also an important contributor to staff retention.
"Keeping training 'in the family' allows a company to really get to know its employees and to make the important distinction between skill and talent. Just because someone doesn't display the necessary skill to be a payroll consultant, for example, doesn't mean that they are worthless. Their talent lies elsewhere and a skilled trainer will pick this up and see where best this talent can be utilised within the company."
He adds that effective management training and leadership development is a continuous process which takes its lead from industry developments and trends. While much of the learning will take place inside the office in the form of training modules and informal sessions, certain aspects demand the guidance of outside trainers and the company must be prepared to invest in this.
"With the increasing competition that businesses are facing from those offering identical services in their backyard, the need to keep ahead of the competition is more important than ever. External training outfits bring to the table their experience and perspectives which can be blended with individual organisational needs. The advantages of in-house training, where learning essentially takes place around the table and from evidence of success stories, are however critical. And in the process, to offer people opportunities for personal development is priceless. So, it stands to reason that establishing the right balance between the two forms of training is the most profitable approach," Beukman concludes.