Opening a Pointless Training Department


Everyone was so excited 3 months ago when the announcement was made by senior management that they were going to open a training department. The company has been growing and it will continue to grow and the decision was made that training should be a focus going forward.

So what has happened in the past 3 months?

  • Maybe they hired someone that was a facilitator (trainer) and made them a manager.
  • Maybe they have posted a job and are looking for a training manager
  • Maybe they are knee deep in strategizing the purpose and goals of the training function before the seek to find a manager
  • Maybe they delegated this to an overtasked manager or HR person, neither of which knows much about the learning function, and there it sits.

Sadly, only one of these options would be a good use of the past 90 days, that being setting strategy and goals. Yet for a majority of companies that come up with the realization they need a training function, one of the other options is probably where this project is sitting.


In my first book, The Training Physical: Diagnose, Treat and Cure your Training Department, I go into some detail on how to fix a poorly run training function. Yet for readers without a training function, it is also a clear roadmap as to how to setup a function that will return on investment.

I stress that the company should have in writing a clear sense of purpose for training. Why do you want it? What is the purpose? What are the goals in 6 months and the first year? Knowing the answers prepare you to interview people that can make it happen. Maybe a current trainer could be hired to manage the function, but if they can’t tell you how they will address these goals or push back on incorrect perceptions then they are not ready.


In my second book, Pointless Training: The Consequences of Inadequate Training Strategies, I begin by saying that no company sets out to create Pointless Training programs or a Pointless Training Department, ON PURPOSE. Yet it happens all the time because the wrong strategies are implemented.

If you have delegated the implantation of a new training department to the wrong person, they will hire the wrong people to manage it. Often it is assumed that the HR function should be able to house a training department, sadly many HR Managers never studied Adult Learning Principles and are clueless to the components of a functional training department.


So what do you do if you have been the lucky one assigned the roll out of a new training department? Simply, get help from someone who has done it before successfully. Consultants can be your best resource, and you pay only for the work you contract.

  • Maybe you need help setting strategy and the consultant facilitates those conversations.
  • Maybe you need help designing a first year training plan and goals.
  • Maybe you need help interviewing finalists that say they can implement your plans, and you need someone to see through the jargon into whether a skill set exists.


So if a year from now you would like the employees of your organization to be cheering their new training department versus saying that our training is pointless, build it correctly in the first place. It is so much easier than to fix it later.


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