A client of mine is desperate to change the “culture” or view of the purpose of training. His company has been so small that all learning has been self-directed and learned on the job. Yet, he is growing this organization and knows full well that training needs to become more formalized.
He said the process to create a formal training department has been slow. That people are not ready for the change in their learning culture. I asked him why is he ready?
Simple questions like that are often the hardest to answer, and there is no right or wrong answer. I know that this person has a history of working for companies with formal training functions. He is not from the training world, yet he has personally experienced the benefits for himself, staff and achieving business goals.
Answering that question was something he was unable to do immediately with any great depth. So I told him I would call him back in a day once he thought about it. The time delay allowed him to reflect on his experience, and when we talked the next day, the benefit statements came flowing.
How do you change the culture of a company that does not see the value of a training function?
First, you need to realize that people rarely see past their own experiences. The people my friend want influence do not have his same experiences, so no kidding, they see zero value in the training function. How could they see anything else?
But spouting off that we need to do something because it is necessary does not change impressions. You are talking with people who don’t see the picture until you start to paint it for them. I suggested that he have the group describe the current learning methods, and then change the scenario with the addition of the 50 new people they plan to hire in the next year; which is about 200% more than they have now!
Can they use the same learning methods? Maybe some, but what would have to change? I encouraged him to ask them for answers and summarize what will no doubt describe a formal training function. We shall see in the next few months how successful he is in changing impressions.