I’m often asked what is usually wrong with a training function that is not having a lot of impact and/or success. I’ve narrowed it down to a list of my most commonly found issues. All five of these issues must exist for a complete shutdown of effectiveness, and you only need one working in the opposite direction to keep the training function on track.
- FIRST, the training function is not strategic in nature, and is more reactive. Instead of working on projects that will prevent a fire, they are waiting until someone calls 911 to alert them that the place is on fire. Once the ashes are cleared away they wait for someone to tell them how to rebuild. Because they are not in touch with the goals of the organization, they are unable to supply a blueprint for rebuilding.
- SECOND, the training department does not work off a project plan with due dates. Let alone a strategic look at the projects in a given year or month, they will take off on implementing a LMS, or launching an initiative to train managers and there are no deliverables attached to due dates. Project Management 101 tells us that things go undone without due dates for tasks and the ultimate implementation.
- THIRD, is a lack of accountability. Neither the training function itself is accountable for progress, nor is anyone else in the organization holding the training function accountable. While it is preferred that the training leadership runs a function that wants to be productive, it is imperative that senior management also have expectations and hold training accountable to achieve results.
- FORTH, is a lack of actual competencies to perform the training manager role. Too many companies are fooling themselves into thinking that they can hire an experienced facilitator or an instructional designer as a training manager. These folks have not learned or acquired the competencies to manage a function. They try hard to make things happen, but in the end they get little done year after year because they don’t know how to manage training.
- FIFTH, any company that has a weak training function also has a weak HR function too. If employee performance and retention are less important to HR than keeping the recruiting function in high demand, having well-trained employees does not serve their purpose. The best ally training could have is the head of HR, but if that HR Leader competes with training than the company ends up losing.
“The real take-away is that if any of these 5 areas are working well, then the training function has a fighting chance to succeed.”
- When the training function acts strategically, than projects are aligned with organizational needs and the training function is working on the right things at the right time.
- When the training function uses traditional project planning processes with due dates, then projects get completed on time!
- When both the training function and senior management holds training accountable, things get done!
- When companies hire experienced training managers to lead their training functions, and cross train their training employees for succession, training accomplishes their mission.
- When HR supports well-trained employees as a way to increase retention, and decrease the need to constantly manage poor performance and recruit for replacements, than the employees and the company win big!