Are You Afraid of Training Employees?


afraid Have you ever wondered why your company offers such little employee training?  Sure they offer the required compliance training, and a catalog of assorted eLearning courses, but real skill development is absent.  Heck, an actual training function is absent from the organizational structure of the company!

In my 26 years working in the world of Learning & Development, I have had the opportunity to hear every excuse for not training employees that the human mind can conceive, and not a single one is worth the effort being made to disguise the real reasons we are avoiding the skill building process in so many organizations.  I will admit there is one legitimate reason to not training employees, and that is that the company is closing in a few months.  Yes this is a reason to avoid training.  But other than, we are closing up shop, the rest of the excuses are useless.

First I would like to acknowledge the many companies that are spending time and money on real development and processes that build their employees.  For the past 4 years I have had the honor of being a judge for an international search for the CLO Learning Elite Awards and I have reviewed some over the top, outstanding learning organizations.

So today I am not talking about the companies that are closing, or the ones that are building learning up in everything they do.  I am talking about the rest of the companies out there that are either faking the effort, or convincing themselves they don’t need to train employees.

Many companies offer some training, but it is what I call Swiss Cheese Training, because there are a lot of holes in the offering.  It lacks any testing for results, and claims of having a training function are only claims.  They are believing what they want to believe, not what actually exists.  These are companies that can improve because generally they want to have what they think they already have.  A Training Physical offers the company the ability to document what is working and document the missing pieces.

Companies that don’t fit into the above categories and are not providing training are afraid of the results:

  • “If we train our managers on employment law, they will know when we are failing to follow the law”
  • “If we build internal competencies, we will retain employees and reduce our ability to constantly hire unskilled employees at the lowest wages.”
  • “If we train communications skills then we will reduce the need for HR to intervene and solve problems.”
  • “If we train employees and they see it as a benefit they are apt to stay longer, and thus HR will not be as involved in recruiting anymore.”
  • “If we spend money on training, we will have less for management bonuses and stockholder dividends.”
  • “If we train employees they will know more than management, and that could cause accountability to get out of hand.”

In a nutshell, many companies are afraid of training their employees.  They think by withholding skills they will win, and yet they never do.  Companies that don’t have comprehensive learning strategies are setting the stage for failure.  In my 26 years, I have yet to see a company without training succeed.  Have you?