Benefits of a Training Physical

Most of us that are into preventative health care, engage in an annual process know as the human physical.  Now while this experience is not one that we often look forward to, it does reduce anxiety when we find out we are in good shape.  It also gives us the chance to change certain behaviors that could cause us harm, and it often catches issues before they become major health impediments.

In the corporate environment, most departments are subject to annual reviews for fiscal and operational standards.  Yet I discovered that one department hardly ever is reviewed unless there is a problem.  That department is the training function, and if attached to human resources, will usually go without any external review.  Tons of money is spent in the HR/Training functions of any organization, and yet senior management rarely takes the time to evaluate the health of these departments before things really go south.

If you think about every major illness that can afflict a human being, would you tell yourself that there is no reaon to pre-screen for these illnesses before they are too far gone to cure?  No you would not.  Men and Women often go through annual blood tests, scans and other tests to detect illness in the early stages so there is a better chance to cure it.

I was asked this week what could be so bad in the training function that they would need an annual physical.  I simply said “anything small that can grow into something big.”

  • Take a trainer that doesn’t know how to train adults, but has trained a number of employees this past year, in a number of different workshops.  If these employees didn’t learn what they needed to, then money was wasted on the training materials, facilities, the participants and trainer salaries and you are no farther ahead in building skills.  Thousands of dollars are wasted every year because of unskilled facilitators.
  • Take a training manager that is reactive and doesn’t know how to plan.  Things appear busy, a lot of things are going on, but they are unable to quantify what results training brought to the company that year.  That salary was wasted, and again skill building progress was hampered because of an unskilled training manager.
  • Take a designer that creates a workshop, that is super interactive and engaging, but forgets to analysis the intended audience.  While the training is good, the audience already knows what is being taught.  Wasted time and dollars again.

A recent client of mine put is very succinctly to me.  “Jim, I want to know what is working in our training, what is not, and where to go from here.”  (Notice the similarity to what you might ask your Doctor prior to a physical?)  And the answers to his questions boil down to the benefits of conducting a Training Physical.

Don’t operate a training function without knowing if it is running on all cylinders, and don’t take the training manager’s word that everything is fine.  Either conduct an internal review yourself, or call me and we can set up a time to assess the condition of this department for you.

Jim Hopkins is the author of the process and book called “The Training Physical: Diagnose, Treat and Cure Your Training Department.”

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