It occurred to me recently that I have spent the past 24 years in the corporate learning function, and there are days like yesterday that really make me wonder why. Speaking to a Human Resource Manager for a bank with about 4000 employees and no corporate training function, AT ALL, I stepped right in it when I asked why?
The answer was another question to me. “Why do we need one? Everyone learns what they need from each other. When it comes time to promote we hire from the outside most of the time because we get hundreds of applicants that come with experience.”
Now while I would normally launch into a discussion about the value of consistent learning processes, and engaging people with different experience levels I didn’t say anything. I was at a loss for words. Either that or I finally realized a lost cause when I heard it and just shut up and moved on. There was no turning around this mindset, and honestly these folks will learn best by experiencing failure someday. Failure I might add, on a grand scale!
Now while the stockholder will realize short-term gains through the control of expenses not being spent on learning development, their long-term investment is at risk. Customers are the ones that are getting the substandard experience, but if they don’t mind who am I to argue with them? Employees are working there for paychecks, not careers. So eventually they will move on to another bank, probably one with a training function since they want to grow and get promoted.
Most banks don’t operate this way, thank goodness! I personally only bank with ones that have robust learning environments, that constantly engage employees to be better skilled. I know the value that learning brings to the employee and thus to my experience as a customer.
You can “get along without training”, but that is all you can do. You can’t thrive, grow, and become all your customer needs. But if you are not into what is best for your employees and customers, then I guess you don’t need to worry about training either.