Training Needs to Market Themselves!


Normally when you take a highly qualified training director, add an experienced OD consultant, an instructional designer, a facilitator and a top-notch administrator you have the makings of a great training department.

Now imagine that this training director has developed a focused learning plan based on company business objectives and growth strategies for staffing.  For added seasoning, this training department reports to Human Resources with the finger on the pulse of the employee population.

So would it surprise you to learn that this company fired everyone in training last week?  Yep, completely closed down the training function for the whole company!  Not only are 5 people out of work, but the learning function was dumped as a way to save money.

It is important to mention that this is a healthcare facility that employs a couple thousand people.  Not only are we talking about a lot of folks “learning on the job” now, but they are not hurting for money and are profitable.  So why is training gone?

My personal belief is that most training departments like to believe that the training function, the purpose of training is self explanatory.  Yet, today more than ever, training needs to sell, to market themselves for the return on investment they are making.  If they are unable to quantify their worth, then a company should replace the individuals with competent training personnel.

In my book The Training Physical, I point out that I do not believe that any company should be without the learning function.  Some companies would do better with a more qualified training staff, but never should you throw out the baby with the bath water!

What do you do to market training as a return on investment?

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Training Manager 101


If you are a training manager, and you are worried about your ability to show enough return on investment that you will keep your job, I would like to put your mind at ease.  Because if you are doing the basics, I believe you are at least breaking even for the investment made in your salary and benefits.

Ask yourself if you are doing the following:

  • Do you have a training plan in place that maps projects to corporate objectives?
  • Does everyone on your training staff (you included) have a performance plan with measurable goals that align with the training plan?
  • Are you at least developing competencies in your company that address Management Development, Sales, Service, Productivity and Compliance skills?
  • Do you meet with department managers at least quarterly to establish your value and identify their specific needs?
  • Do you stay current with learning trends that match the generational needs of your company’s employees?

I call these the basics, because at the very minimum these should be in place.  If they are not, you are subject to be viewed as an expense that could be reduced.  If they are not in place, it is time to hop to it and get them going ASAP!

If you need help, contact me!

Consequences of Incompetence


Management puts a lot of trust in the training function of their company to build the necessary skills within the employees so that they can perform their job function well enough to meet the organization’s goals.  So what are the consequences when the training department is unable to perform their job properly?

Imagine a bank that has identified a skill deficiency in their branch managers to adequately manage the sales and marketing function of their individual branch markets.  The training department preformed a needs analysis and created a focused list of skills that management agreed needed developing.  So far, so good.  The training manager is headed in the right direction by focusing everyone on what needs to change.

Yet as most of my readers understand, the next phase is a training solution that will create the skills and an environment that will put them into use.  So what happens if the training manager is unable to understand how adults learn?

As a reminder, all of these branch managers need to have the same training experience for consistency, and that can be obtained within a virtual or classroom environment where all learners are participating together and able to interact with each other.  Their common working environments will have similar roadblocks and similar solutions.

But what if the training solution is determined to be a series of separate learning environments, with different instructors and no collaboration among these learners with their common issues?  Learning becomes inconsistent, and less accountable.  Further, the individual branch managers are unable to assist each other easily.

So the consequences of incompetence, are the lack of skill development, which means that company goals will be harder to achieve.  It also means that money was spent on salaries and training that did not return on the investment.

Now this example really happened, and I did not make it up.  Imagine it happening weekly at hundreds of companies across the country.  Training is responsible to create competencies, but they can’t do that if they lack the competencies themselves.

The consequences of incompetent training personnel severely handicap a company’s ability to be successful.  Do you agree?

Facilitating Virtual Learning


Just because you know how to deliver content in a classroom facilitated event, does not automatically mean that you will be able to ace the transition to the virtual learning environment.  With webinar learning becoming more and more the future of facilitation, it is beyond vital that trainers obtain virtual facilitation skills.

Speaking with a CEO of a training company this week, he lamented over the future of his business if his trainers are unable to deliver their content in a virtual environment.  Not only have travel costs spiked again with the increase in oil, the newest generation in the workforce really enjoys the short and focused learning that comes in the virtual environment.

He has several highly experienced trainers that need in-depth training so they can convert classroom content into the virtual environment, and then deliver it in an engaging manner to achieve learning transfer.

There are some really poor programs out there in the market right now that claim to be able to achieve these results, and are not much more than a 90 minute lecture of tips and tricks.  Thankfully there is a company that can give you the skills you need, and my client is on his way to expanding his trainer’s capabilities.

If you would like to learn more about a program called the Virtual Facilitator Trainer Certification course, and save some money from the retail rate, email me at jim@jkhopkinsconsulting.com .  We can discuss your needs, and how best to use this training.

Being Busy Is Not Being Productive


Back in the days when I taught time management workshops, I was always comparing that being busy all day does not necessarily mean you are being productive.  Yet over the past decade I have noticed that while productivity seems to be in decline in the training function, being busy is on the rise.

My two pet peeves are when people cannot answer an email or return a phone call.  This causes the other person to send more emails and leave more messages, which not only reduces their productivity it adds more busy work to the person unable to hit reply or pickup the phone in the first place.

I know we are in countless meetings, conference calls and running from one end of the building to the other.  You will miss email and the phone ringing when you are not there to answer it, but how hard is it really to let someone know you got their message and when you will get back to them?

Being productive is getting things accomplished.  Make a list of tasks for the week, and evaluate your success at the end of the week, month, quarter and year.  Add up the amount of time you are paid to work, and honestly decide if you are productive or just busy.

The say “training is the first to go when business is hurting”, which I agree with if training is just busy, but if they are productive it is the last to go.