The conversation between this CFO and CEO is meant to describe the conversation about the return on investment in training. Or is some cases spending the money were the penny pinching CFO comes up against real leadership in the form of the CEO. While both interpretations are worth learning from, I wonder about the companies that continue the conversation?
So the CFO asks the CEO, “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us?” To which the CEO replies, “What happens if we don’t and they stay.” I imagine for some companies, it bounces back again with the CFO saying, “Considering that employee development is not a guarantee we keep or retain people, let’s save the money and see what happens.” To which the CEO replies, “Okay.”
Now while many of my training friends are swearing at me right now for violating such a sacred quote, how can we explain why some of our companies offer little to no training? Why is employee development avoided like some kind of plague? What can be done to get through to management that employee development, when implemented correctly, makes a big difference?
Anyone that knows me, is keenly aware that I beat my head against this wall daily. I’ve learned that when management is not developing the whole employee, it is usually not a cost consideration, but rather one of the following:
- They have never personally experienced good quality training.
- They have never worked with a competent learning professional that explains the connections.
- Their current training management are without the necessary skills to lead the training function, and so pass off to the company inferior performance solutions.
I have on occasion run across the senior manager that has only used training when things have blown up and it becomes part of a fix. They don’t see training as a proactive function, only reactive. Sadly there are a lot of training professionals that endorse this thought process in their daily activities. Hence, why they operate without any kind of training plan or accountability.
As a training professional I grieve at the loss of employee development as part of everyday life in most companies. But until management changes their opinions, or simply change to another person, companies will continue to operate without employee development and wait to see what happens.