Death of a Training Department


I learned of yet another training department that was shut down this week to save money.  Three people are no longer in the training function and have accepted other positions within the company.  Was this a good idea?  Yes and No.

These three people came to work everyday and were very busy training people in basic skill development.  They operated in a very reactive role ready for anything anyone wanted them to do.  There was no training plan, goals or objectives and each year they struggled to show any kind of return on the investment being made in their department.

Yet even with all of this fog in place, they earned salary and benefits!  When the closure was announced, the CEO said that the department was not demonstrating a reason to continue this expense, and that since they were all valued employees they would be placed into other roles.

Well here is what went right and wrong in my view.  First, the CEO was overdue in letting these three people go.  They were committing fraud by collecting a paycheck and providing little value to their company.

Second, the CEO threw the baby out with the bath water!  The training department needs fixing, not closing.  I did not audit this training department, but it is possible that the training people were not capable of doing their jobs correctly.  It is also possible that there just was no leadership and accountability and the place lost its focus.

In my book, The Training Physical, I am quite firm in my committment that no company should be without the training function, but many companies need to get a new set of training employees.  Sometimes people lose the edge over the years and stop caring, and others never had the heart of a trainer in the first place.

My goal now is to see if I can convince this CEO to reinstate the training function, and structure it to work this time.  This will not be an easy task given that the last team did such a bang-up job of screwing up the purpose of training in management’s mind.

Wish me luck!

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