Where Did All the Value Go?


How can you lead a training function for 15 years, and not show the value to continue this function? Can you even imagine the utter disaster a training department would have to be in for management to eliminate the head of training after 15 years on the job with most of the staff included? I’d want to hang my head in shame if this ever happened to me.

Thankfully it never did, because I insisted that everything we did have an outcome that demonstrated our value. I passed on the party planner role for the company, and wouldn’t have my staff playing the roles of caterer or diplomatic hosts and tour guides. We were always about building skills that made a return on the investment.

This company is a large financial institution that never saw the need to evaluate their training function and the director always kept me at arm’s length from management when it came to The Training Physical. Well, duh, now I know why!

So this guy is out of work, in this late 50’s with a track record that screams never put him in charge of training again. Time for a new career, with less at stake my friend.

Now what boggles my mind even more is that senior management has not changed much in quite some time. I figured that there had to have been some new people that added accountability to the company, and so I was eager to see who had been hired at that level in the past few years and didn’t see anyone that fit that description. That would have at least explained how 15 years seemingly went by without a word until recently. So where did all the value go?

My guess is the bottom line numbers are getting worse or not improving much and it was time to eliminate expenses. First thing to go is usually training because although we know it serves a purpose it is hard to identify how much it saves or earns the company, so hack, it gets removed.

I feel for this guy trying to find work at his age because, hello, age discrimination is alive and well. However, I am not upset that this company finally woke up and took the first steps toward fixing their training function!


Is Your Company’s Training Lousy?


If the training at your company is lousy at best, blame the CEO. The CEO is responsible for running a well-tuned engine, and if your employee training is subpar, then so are the skills of your employees. If the employees are not fully skilled they are producing less, and unable to care for your customers as well as they should. And dare I say, those wonderful company values are not being met either.

Hello CEO! Why are you taking such a lack of interest in the development of your team members? When was the last time you personally evaluated the training at your company? When was the last time you reviewed the annual training plan and objectives?

Sir Richard Branson, of the Virgin Group of 60+ companies, said that each company focuses on the employee. If the employee is happy, then everything else is easier to manage. Southwest Airlines focuses on the employee first too, and they are successful and loved by many passengers. But most companies don’t focus enough energy on employees and they suffer for it.

Too many training departments are led by managers that are weak in learning development, while some are outright incompetent. If you ask the CEO how effective training is, they have nothing tangible to comment about, or have no clue how to answer. It really is a shame.

Even adults that are fully competent are always looking to learn new things that will help them perform their duties. Yet when training is weak, these employees look to other companies when opportunities arise. You then lose a qualified employee, lose time recruiting a replacement, and you lose even more time training the new person. Wow, that was a waste of time, energy and money.

So why do I and many others in the Learning Development space continue to preach this same sermon? We hope to get through to the many out there that there is a better way. If even one of you reads this and calls for help, I have made progress.