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Annie Hayes



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Opinion: Training strategy must change … continued


Although some training departments conduct training needs analyses when new legislation is passed and they become aware of business changes, the results of these analyses are often not included in the training strategy, as the business is unwilling to pay for the additional development activities suggested.

In order to be able to stand their ground and to be able to address apparent learning and development gaps such as the ones mentioned, training managers need to become proactive business partners instead of behaving and therefore being seen as a supplier of training courses.

As business partners training managers are able to advise and convince the business leaders and line managers on new learning challenges such as the mind set change required by diversity legislation, and support the business through offering different types of training and development for different learning needs such as one-to-one coaching for behavioural issues and the introduction of mentoring. This change in role of the training manager and indeed the training department must form part of the new training strategy.

What key areas should a UK organisation’s training strategy address to balance the increasing and changing learning/training needs of their staff without blowing HR budgets?

Balance is the key word. As budgets for learning and development are often limited the business tends to see content and skills training as a priority because without it daily operations might suffer. To ensure long-term business success, however, training managers need to ensure that the training strategy strikes the right balance between content/skills training and behavioural development interventions. As recent court cases have shown, it is vital for businesses to avoid lawsuits for bullying and discrimination – the damage to reputation, the bottom line and staff recruitment/retention is high.

To help business managers understand the need for different types of training and development and support their inclusion in the training strategy, the training strategy should include the rationale for each type of learning and development, the impact, risks and opportunity cost of not doing it, its benefits including impact on the bottom line.

In order to achieve maximum results within a limited budget the training strategy should not be developed in isolation of the wider HR strategy. Some HR interventions such as using role models or changing the recognition and reward process may go a long way towards behavioural change and reduce the need for training and development interventions such as one-to-one coaching.

Bettina Pickering is a Managing Consultant for PA Consulting Group, a management, systems and technology consulting firm.

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Annie Hayes


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