I hated to be the barer of bad news this past week, but after completing a full Training Physical for a client, I was searching for something positive to report. While I entered this work agreement with the client telling me that he had little faith that I would find anything that training was doing that made a difference, I was convinced that no training effort was without some redeeming quality.
Well, after performing countless Training Physicals on organizations of all shapes and sizes, I was forced to agree completely with the client. Absolutely nothing they were training had any impact or return on investment. Their training efforts were pointless and needed to stop. Not only were they wasting money, the lack of quality and purpose in their efforts was clouding the future of any training effort.
So while I didn’t have to stress over how the client was going to take the news, I have been concerned about what to recommend doing from now on. How should I direct this turn around?
First it may be helpful to know that their “Training Manager” had resigned 2 months ago, coincidentally I’m sure when the contract was signed to conduct the Training Physical . This has afforded me complete access to the operation with nothing diverting my attention from known problem areas. So now I am recommending they approach the redesign of the training function before they hire a new training manager.
I am suggesting the design first, so they can interview with expectations. The design is something I can facilitate with management in a few weeks, where a new training manager could easily take 90-days before they begin implementation. Now a new training manager can start implementation within their first week on the job.
I know I will start with an annual training plan that matches the existing strategic plan, and then begin a general clean up. This will mean tossing what doesn’t work and replacing it with better solutions. My biggest concern is how to demonstrate a new training function to the masses quickly. I believe I have a topic that could benefit the entire organization, and my pitch will be to engage all employees in a new learning process at the same time.
Getting everyone engaged at the same time creates that positive buzz that moves around the population within days. Once we have people being wowed by the new way to learn, we can begin implementing other training solutions one after another.
It is my sincere hope that this time next year we can say that training is running with a purpose, and no one is saying anything remotely like the word “Pointless” ever again.