Building Training From Scratch


Many are saying that the housing market is coming back, which means that construction and home renovation is on the upswing too.  And in the world of learning, there seems from many indications that training functions that were closed a few years back are starting to reopen for business too.

Working with a few companies right now as they begin the building process of creating a training function from scratch, I am noticing a lot of similarities to building a house too.  While you probably don’t want me building you a house, I am a master craftsman in building training functions.

When I wrote The Training Physical a few years back, I was concentrating on fixing and repairing broken training functions that were unhealthy and nearing terminal conditions in many cases.  For several years now the focus has been on saving the function, and making it more effective.  When I was asked if I was now going to write a book on building a training function, I realized that my original book is a blueprint for a well run training function.

I work a lot with banks, which over the past 10 years have been down sizing and closing their training functions to meet operational expenses.  Now they are starting from scratch and I find that they want to hire a training manager as the first step.  I caution this approach and liken it to hiring a general contractor to build you a custom home before you hire an architect to design it.  Bankers get this analogy quickly, and it is an easy process to explain that management must decide the strategic look and plan for training before they hire staff.

Once a training plan or blueprint has been approved, it is time to hire the talent and order the materials for the build.  There are a lot of training programs that can be purchased off the shelf to get you started before you think all training needs to be customized.  Designing from scratch maybe cool, but it is time-consuming and costs more than an off the shelf program that will work for your needs.

I am also noticing that companies that hire a training manager first are allowing this person to get their feet wet for at least 90-days before any project is even getting started.  I have designed a fast process of building a complete training function in 90-days, so that you are implementing and training quickly.

Training is supposed to return on the investment being made, but it cannot do that until it starts training employees.  By waiting around for your new manager to get their feet wet, you are spending money and missing out on any return.

There is a better way, so if you want to learn how, email me at jim@jkhopkinsconsulting.com and let’s connect.

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Bank Training Revival


20 years ago nearly every bank in the country had a robust training function that provided the skills employees needed to perform their respective roles.  It became the competitive advantage that fueled human resource retention efforts, and made hiring from the competition a very costly endeavor.  Well trained individuals remained working for the same bank for their entire careers, and loyalty toward the bank was an expected and achieved result.  But as margins shrank, and cost cutting became the new way to show a profit, training over an entire industry was slashed and burned.  And an entire industry has suffered from this change in focus.

Yet all indications are now pointing to a revival of sorts in the interest and attention being paid to training bank staffs internally.  The proverbial well to hire skills from the competition has dried up and forced banks of all shapes and sizes to reassess the need to build both basic competencies and job specific skills so their staff members can perform their jobs.  The larger banks are well into the process of rebuilding their learning environments, and the mid-size to smaller banks seem to be adding this project as a high strategic priority.

Having built a bank training function from scratch, I know first hand how much work is involved not to mention at stake if done incorrectly.  My heart goes out to the Human Resource Director that is now responsible with everything else on their plate to pull a rabbit out of a hat and have a functional training department up and running sooner than later.

Since I owe a lot to the banking industry for two career paths over the past 33 years, I am devoting all of my time and attention to helping any bank in the country that wants to rebuild their training function with the least amount of pain possible.  Bank training is back in business and I am into helping as many banks as I can meet this challenge!