Another Company Loses Their Training Department


“The first thing to go when things get bad is Training.”  However true this statement has been in the past, it is alive and well today!  And I had a front row seat this past week watching the demise of another training manager who was in over his head from day one and did nothing to correct the situation.

Now although I prefaced this blog with the training manager’s lack of skill and ability to fix the situation, the real problem started back when the company first created the training department.

Senior management wanted training for their growing company, because several of them had come from previous companies with robust learning environments.  And true to most good training departments, these talented people made it all look easy.  So it is somewhat expected that the initial plan to hire a trainer was all that was needed.  When HR got involved, they applied a little organizational development to the process and helped Sr. Management realize that they should start with a training manager and build from that point.  And so began a search for the most experienced unemployed training manager available that would work for a trainer’s salary.

There is another saying that “you get what you pay for” and they found a willing soul to accept the position.  The lack of experience was noted, but they figured he would learn on the job.

The list of projects appeared and rather than establish a training plan or prioritize the list, this guy just worked on everything at the same time and a year and a half later didn’t have a whole lot accomplished.  So when the company started to lose money they cut training out to save expenses.

Lessons Learned:

  • First, the company didn’t have a compensation budget that would allow HR to hire the right competencies, and they had not allotted any additional money to hire or contract with others to build out this training department.  Their wish list was lengthy and yet way too much for a single person to accomplish
  • Second, the training manager functioned more as a worker bee instead of a leader.  He knew he was in over his head, but did nothing to improve the situation.  Hopefully he has learned this lesson and will not repeat it at the next job.
  • Third, absolutely everyone lost out because this company is not meeting objectives and cannot seem to connect the dots that the lack of employee skills are causing poor performance all over the company.

You may be asking yourself that if Jim had a front row seat why did all this happen?  Well I should clarify that my seat was in the bleachers.  I was advising people who thought they knew better, and are now quite embarrassed about how bad things have turned out.  It is my hope that they will try this again within the next couple of months, and this time we will do it the right way!

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