Don’t let your team miss out when times are hard…


Stephanie Broad, True North


It was January, and Linda had been allocated her training budget for the year.  It was smaller than last year’s, and had to cover three departments, one more than last year as the business had expanded.  Given the growth the organisation was experiencing it was also going to be a challenge to take staff out of the business to undertake any training.   As training manager Linda’s biggest challenge, she thought, was going to be prioritising the training needs.  Where could training make the biggest impact and add most value to the organisation?

In any organisation the training manager will not find it difficult to identify training needs – there are plenty from which to choose.  However, deciding where to invest scarce resources – not just budgets but perhaps more importantly the staff time – is a critical decision.  What are the key questions to ask?  We’ve come up with the ones that we hear experienced training managers asking most often:

“What gaps in organisational capability are having the biggest impact on the achievement of key organisational goals?”

“What training is mandatory – e.g. health and safety, compliance?”

“What training will have the most impact on the most numbers of people?”

“What is your organisation’s core competency and what training will help most to develop it?”

“What training will most impact the organisation’s sustainability?”


Strategic training and HR managers will see training as a key tool that has the potential to drive the organisation.  So, whilst it is important that mandatory training is delivered it will be the discretionary training that can add to an organisation’s competitive advantage.  Recognising in an organisation that can be improved and have a tangible effect is a key skill that requires not just careful analysis but also insight borne from a deep understanding of the business and its goals. 

An area that we have seen more training and HR managers explore is the concept of sustainability.  This is not about planting more trees (in this context!) it is about how to ensure that the organisation will be healthy in 5, 10 and 15 years’ time as well as one years’ time.  This is concerned with helping to develop innovation within the organisation and of course developing future leaders with the capabilities to meet the challenges of tomorrow – not just be replacements for the leaders you have today.