Most training is a waste of time and money because senior management have not given it enough thought. They often look at it in isolation as a way to ‘fix’ other people and neglect the most important aspects including their own role in the process.
Back in the mid 1990’s when I started as Learning and Development Manager at the Waldorf Hotel in London, Senior Managers would often say that their Middle Managers were underperforming so I should train them. However, after the training there was little change because the Senior Managers didn’t change their own behaviour and didn’t coach and encourage the Managers to implement what they had learned. My mentor at the time helped me to recognise that for real change to happen it had to start at the top.
Is training just another ‘cost’?
Training costs a lot of money; the participants hourly rate of pay, the providers fees (or if you have an in-house resource, their salary) and training materials. If the training is off-site you have additional time, travel and venue costs. However, this can all be wasted if there is no time to practice back at work and if there is no follow-up coaching to support the implementation on the job. Sadly, most of the time training is seen as a ‘cost’ rather than an ‘investment’. This gives training a bad name because it is just another overhead eating into hard earned profits.
With an investment you have high expectations of a return. You scrutinise the investment to ensure it will get you the return that is promised. You monitor the investment to ensure you are getting what you expect and do something if your expectations are not met.
It is easy to blame training for being ineffective when you see it as cost, but when you see it as an investment that will require scrutiny and monitoring you are more inclined to take responsibility for getting the return you want.
Courage and discipline
It takes courage and discipline to make the time to implement training properly. I recently signed up to a course about how to use ‘Linked In’ effectively. It was an interesting package; seven Webinars and 2 half-day follow up workshops. It took a lot of effort to make the time to watch the Webinars and even more discipline to put what I learned into practice. Fitting learning and implementation into a busy schedule is a major challenge and you need to be very clear about the outcome you want to achieve. There needs to be a clear purpose. A driver that will make it a real priority.
This is another significant component of training that gets overlooked by Directors and Managers. What is the driver for the training and has this been explained to the participant? Why should they bother putting in the effort? Are they fully aware of the expectations of their performance and behaviour after the training? What will the consequences (positive and negative) be if there is no change? For you? For the business? For the participant?
Once again, addressing these questions takes time and effort on the part of the participant’s line manager and the company Directors . . . and it is often neglected – making training a waste of time and money.
What are you doing to ensure you get a good return on your investment from the Training and Development activity that happens in your business? What are you scrutinising and monitoring?
A resource for you
If you would like to have a copy of our ‘Evaluation of Training Activity Checklist’ just go to the ‘Useful Resources’ page of our new Website by clicking on this link: Inspired Working Online. Once you are on the page, click on the ‘Checklists’ Tab and scroll down to the ‘Management’ section where you can download it with my compliments.
Remember . . . stay curious!
With warm regards