In the past two weeks I have spoken with 5 CEOs about the health of their training function and if they know how much training is returning on the annual investment. Not a single one had given it much thought, because they were all living under the assumption that training was a cost that as one said – “must be returning on the investment.” Yet when I stressed the words how much it is returning they fell silent.
Isn’t it odd that every department within a company is accountable for results, and yet too often the training department is not? I find this appalling to say the least. What makes the dollars allocated to training any less valuable. I bet if you were not spending those dollars on training, another department would love to have them!
Although I have recommended that each of these 5 CEOs hire me to conduct a Training Physical, I asked them to test the need themselves by asking their training director to come to their office with the 2011 training plan. Since the year is nearly over, I suggested they ask the training director to explain how they have returned on the investment made in training this year.
Since most training departments run without a formal, strategic training plan, the absence of one should be the first indication that the training department is not focused, but reactive in nature. Reactive training is expensive and only meets specific training objectives.
The second thing I asked each of these CEOs to do was to request their training director present them with the 2012 training plan and explain how it is tied to the goals and objectives of the company and how they plan to return on next year’s training investment.
These are two very simple requests that any CEO should be able to expect answers from the person they are paying to lead the training function. If any training director cannot stand up to this kind of query from the CEO, they are in over their heads!
Not only are they probably lacking the competencies necessary to create and manage to a training plan, but they have not been held accountable to doing their job correctly. These are but symptoms of an unhealthy training function, and one that needs to undergo a complete Training Physical!
The training function is like the heart of the organization and if it is functioning correctly the whole company is too! However, if the heart is ill, then the organization is fighting an uphill battle to be successful.