Although I am no connoisseur of beer, I do like a Lite Beer. I prefer Diet Soda over regular and black coffee over the fancy coffees. I even like skim milk over whole milk when I drink a glass. But when it comes to other lite version of food favorites I draw a line. Lite mayonnaise as an example is no substitute for the real thing.
In many organization today, training is on a diet. Either the company is fasting and has eliminated training completely, or they are choosing lite versions and passing them off as the real thing. Learning is not the focus, but rather training is applied in ways that yield little skill building in the end.
I’m a cook, and I also have battled a weight problem since 2nd grade. I have always made food decisions on what I can live with and still have flavor. I’ve learned to fry chicken with a couple of tablespoons of oil, instead of 3 inches like Grandma did. The taste is close, and worth the tradeoff of healthier eating. However, when I make potato salad, I must have real whole egg mayonnaise or I don’t bother making potato salad.
Training is about skill building and there are often many choices that can be applied to reduce costs and/or time commitments. But when I see companies fasting, or going cheap by cutting the learning process, I wonder if they understand that the cost savings does not outweigh the lower learning levels.
In too many companies there is little to no training happening. Employees take more sick days in a year than they spend learning. HR Managers and Training Managers hide behind the lack of executive support for training. Hello? Who is the advocate here? So very few organizations have a CEO that is the champion of the training function. Which means that the role falls to another leader in the company or it falls to the side of the road instead.
I am far from endorsing that training should be the most expensive unit in your company. I am endorsing that for most companies the lack of training for so many years means that their training function should not be on a diet. It is time to gain competencies. It is time to put the training lite programs away and train in-depth skills. In most cases, if you continue on your training diet, you’re going to die sooner than you expect.