Training Function – Know Your Purpose


“Flyer Stuffing and Distribution” is not a purpose of a training function, but it is currently listed as a prime responsibility for a current job opening for a National Training Manager.  The advertisement for this new role in a growing company caught my eye because of the other oddly attached responsibilities that had been blended into this job description.  While many of the duties did tie into a training role, too many did not and will cause this function headaches in the future.

In addition to having the talents of an instructional designer, facilitator and previous management experience, “organizing catalog content and placement” ranked high on their required skills list.  But my favorite was “Drive training revenue through (are you ready for this) filling classroom seats!”

So aside from listing activities that are unrelated to the competencies of a training professional, this organization will measure training value by measuring butts in seats.  While most training professionals are measuring return on investment through changed behaviors in participants and being able to perform assigned duties correctly, this group has a much different approach.

The new National Training Manager that gets this job will either land up being a novice that goes along with the insanity, or spend countless hours trying to change the perception and value of the training function.  Although it will be an uphill battle, I hope for this company’s sake they hire the latter of these two options.  They are so off course right now that it is scary, and yet it probably is not their fault.

I believe that training and the role it plays within an organization is the result of management’s combined experiences.  If training has been seen as a strategic partner, then those managers will advocate for that role.  If training has been mostly seen as the hosts of meetings and the supreme talent for arranging the donuts, then they will be supporting those job tasks.

If you are managing a training function, and do not already have a written mission statement, take the time to write one up.  Spend time with management and check in to see if they all agree to the role and purpose of training.  Make sure you are living up to their expectations if they are functions of training, and work to educate those with misconceptions.

If you need outside help, just let me know!

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