Is Your Training Department Any Good?


285671_D1L1_01“Is your training department any good?”  If you answer in the affirmative, I hope you have several specific reasons why, and if you answered that is does not, I hope you could detail what is missing.  The worst answer possible is that you have no idea if your training department is any good.

Does your training department meet or exceed your needs and expectations, or does it fall short becomes not only an awareness factor, but whether you have a good understanding of what it should be doing for the company.  Having a lot of training classes, or a group of people who seem very busy may be signs of both an effective and an ineffective function.

Four years ago I wrote a book about a process I developed called The Training Physical.  While my intent was to document what is essentially a review of what is working well, what is not working or absent in the function, it became a guide for what every training department should be doing on a basic or minimum level.  Reviewers have commented that while it is full of good reminders, it does not lay out a plan for everything that should be done by the training function.

I am the first to agree with the feedback that it doesn’t address any of what most Fortune 1000 companies achieve.  I felt there was plenty of guides on improving the function from the basic level.  My goal was to illustrate the need for a training function in every company, and that if you are going to run a training department you ought to at least be running a healthy function.  While I wrote it for new training managers to guide them, it has become a sales tool for executives to learn what their training functions should be providing.

If a CEO can answer that their training function is in good shape, you can bet that most of the time it is.  However, most CEOs are not that involved in training, so they have no idea.  If a CEO is proud of the training function, they understand the purpose, and can readily name off several instances where training makes an impact on the organization.  They know the training team, are involved in promoting training events and programs in person, heck some even train staff themselves.

I’ve had the honor of being a judge for the CLO Magazine’s “Learning Elite Awards” for the past 3 years, and have reviewed some top-notch organizations.  They make the basic level look like just that, the foundation of the building.  And yet, this past year a couple of my applications were not what I expected.  They had not even achieved a basic level, so until they grasp what that looks like they will not be able to grow.  Yet here they were completing an application at the elite end of the spectrum.  They obviously thought that what they were doing was right up there with the best of the best, and yet sadly they were not even meeting minimum standards.

Training impacts employee development.  Employees must be able to perform tasks so the company can achieve results.  Good training has a positive impact and poor training will produce negative results.  The only way to be certain of how good your training is doing is to conduct a 3rd party review, and find out what is working well, what is not, and then fix the problems.

If you are wondering if a Training Physical is something you should schedule, email me at Jim@JKHopkinsConsulting.com to set a time for a complimentary chat by phone.

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