What Is Your Purpose For Training?

thumbnailCA4Z1XR6What Is Your Purpose For Training?  Easy question I would think for any executive that is working for a company that has a training function.  Actually, not as easy of a question as you would think for most to answer.

I am forever disappointed in executive management that doesn’t understand the purpose of a training department.  They seem to have a firm grasp on all of the other human resource functions, like payroll, benefits, employee relations, and recruitment, but are just plum stymied by a definition for why they have a training department.

Then there is the company that wants to build out a training function from scratch.  Brand new initiative and even those closest to the approval phase are not really in touch with why the company needs training.  They try to latch on to safe bets like, “it is to improve retention efforts”  or my personal favorite, “what do you mean, shouldn’t we have training?”

While training has some common reasons for existing, management should not be struggling with a reason they have or want a training function, unless it really is a brand new concept.

Recently I met with two organizations that want to build out a training function.  The first had already begun, but were running into a lot of issues with having the right people implementing training.  Yet they had learning as a core value and could really articulate why this function needed to get things done and how their work impacted the organization.  I mean, this management team was solid on the value and purpose of training.

The second organization wants training, but from the job they see ahead of them, has no real understanding of the purpose of training.   Digging a little deeper, I realized that the management team has never worked for a company that had a training function, so their personal careers have never intersected with corporate sponsored learning.  They struggle because they simply have no experience to draw on for a purpose.  They want training because outgoing employees are asking for it.  Maybe a weak reason to begin this process, but at least it is a start.

My point is that before training can be built, and before it can be implemented, management needs to be able to articulate and sell the reasons their company needs this function.  It is also the responsibility of the training leader in both organizations to guide these discussions so that a solid purpose statement can be defined.  For more information on the purpose of training, check out The Training Physical at an online bookstore or our website.


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