Just because you have a Training Manager and/or a Trainer on staff does not mean you have a training function that will make a positive contribution to the success of your company. In some cases, this training function can be so poorly managed that it actually is contributing to your company’s future demise.
Nothing gets under my skin more that a company that believes because they have people on staff dedicated to “training” that somehow they have a strategic partner that makes a positive difference. Maybe they do, but in too many companies, these training functions are actually hurting efforts and misleading management.
I have had the honor of being a judge for CLO Magazine’s Learning Elite Awards for the 3rd year now, and the applications this year had me in awe for how they contribute to the bottom line. Two of the companies I am judging are so vital to the success of their perspective companies that if they were reduced in scale or shut down the companies would follow soon after.
And then there are the countless companies that operate without any training function at all. They are ticking time bombs for how not to run a company. CEOs that simply don’t take the time to understand the value of a solid training function, and Directors that allow the company to run without employee development should all lose their jobs. The sad truth is they all will in time. Just watch and companies that don’t use training well eventually close their doors.
I support a lot of financial services companies. The banking industry is made up of mega banks, regional banks, and smaller community banks. There isn’t a single mega bank that doesn’t have a solid learning function and is also a strategic partner. Most if not all Regional Banks have pretty solid training functions. Yet small and mid-sized community banks either go completely without a solid training function, or convince themselves they are doing okay. The key to their common success is the degree to which the training function is part of the strategic plan of the bank.
If there is a single function within a company that will make or break the future success of the company it is training. But equally important is a roster of leaders that know the value of training and how to leverage it to their advantage. I look forward to the day that the dinosaurs that are leading companies without solid learning practices retire. Yet we must look to advance better leaders that are better trained to replace them or the story will never change.