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Annie Hayes

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Opinion: Training strategy must change

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An organisation’s training strategy must take account of recent legislative changes and support mindset and behavioural change within the business, especially for line managers.

To ensure that these issues are included in the training strategy, training departments must transform themselves from being suppliers of training courses to becoming proactive business partners. In addition, training strategy should not be developed in isolation of HR strategy to ensure that the most cost-effective actions are chosen to achieve behavioural and mind-set change.

Training managers are becoming better and better at aligning training strategy with business strategy. They provide the range of training the business demands evidenced by impressive training and course catalogues and role specific training paths.

In most businesses training managers go round to business managers during the budget process and/or the performance management process and ask for training requirements for the coming year. The training strategy is then updated based on business managers input, generally this input is focused on skills/content class room training for example new product training for sales staff, leadership/presentation skills courses and IT training.

But this demand approach does not work anymore! There are several reasons for this.

One reason is that business and line managers often do not recognise new training and development needs, as they are unaware that management style or mind sets require changing. Businesses increasingly focus on embracing and complying with diversity and anti-discrimination legislation to retain and attract staff, staff and line managers often need to behave and act differently from how they have behaved in the past. As they are not aware of a development need and often do not understand how this legislation applies to their behaviour, they would not alert training managers and request development actions.

Another reason is that staff are often unable to articulate which kind of development intervention they or their staff might require or are too embarrassed to ask for what they need as they do not want to look like a failure in the eyes of their peers.

A good example for this is the devolvement of HR responsibilities to line managers. Line managers are being asked to take over more and more responsibilities from cost reducing HR departments such as dealing with grievance and disciplinary in the first instance, developing talent, recruiting new staff and developing direct reports through coaching and mentoring.

In addition, staff nowadays expect more from their line managers than ever before. HR provide advice and guidance but do not have the capacity to support line managers with face-to-face support on an ongoing basis. Line managers often feel left alone and find it difficult to cope with their new duties as they do not have any role models within the business or sufficient support from HR. A significant number of line managers often feel that they should cope and perceive asking for help as failure.

Why training managers mustn't be seen as suppliers.

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Annie Hayes

Editor

Read more from Annie Hayes
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