Don’t throw it all away

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Getting training right is about ensuring it is one of the ‘thousand beatinghearts’ of the organisation.  PaulaO’Neill shows how not to waste money on the wrong projectsThe director of a major multi-national organisation assured me recently thatcost control in his area was as good as it could be. Every time I worked withhis first line managers, we identified potential cost savings of around£100,000. I invited him to sit in on a workshop and hear what his own people weresaying. He didn’t arrive. Effectively, he was paying me to be professionallyimpotent – some cost control! So what can the well-spent training budget achieve? Positive change. Somethingmust be different – better – in the organisation, after resources have beendedicated to training and development. Some managers aren’t really sure what “better” should look like,and many training purchasers have not grasped the fact that knowing how to bebetter isn’t enough. I believe there are four reasons for training budget waste: – Inadequate buy-in to training objectives. This usually occursbecause training programmes are focused on one level of employees at a time.Seniors may feel disassociated from the programme or threatened by it.Delegates’ absence from the daily workplace causes strains within the workteam. Support from their manager is vital if development is to continue afterthe training event; this could even involve brushing up their coaching anddiagnostic skills. – Difficulties of measuring development lead to a reluctance to attemptit. Clarification is difficult and there is the possibility of failure.Measurement involves three steps to assessing personal development: imagine,measure, and then a parameter check. This “IMP” approach also allowsyou to reflect on whether the original boundaries set were correct. – Functional splits in businesses are perceived as a natural developmentto their growth. Specialisation has its advantages, but there is a price:alienation. For focus, read narrowness of vision. For in-depth knowledge, readlimitation. As our understanding of training, and particularly management development,improves, so the training specialist can become more and more alienated fromcolleagues in other disciplines. Paradoxically, managers may be too ready to”send Bill on a course”. Twenty years ago, Bill would have beendeveloped by being taken under Ben’s wing. – Pure machismo. It’s the superheroes in other departments who reallyearn the income, training just spends it. Not if you get it right it doesn’t! Achieving more with training budgets at less cost means placing training anddevelopment at the very heart of organisational strategy. This means cascadingthe implications of that strategy accordingly. True strategic thinking places training at the very heart of the delivery ofbusiness targets. It is fair to assume that part of a business plan is to be ascompetitive as possible, and part of that edge must come from cost control. To ensure the achievement of our radical aim, strategic thinking needs to beunderpinned by both “multi-level buy-in” and the use of work-basedprojects. Multi-level buy-in is a vital component of the strategic cascade I’mdescribing. Delegates must know that they will be encouraged – indeed, expected– to achieve real, visible results from training and development. Thisexpectation should be nurtured by everyone, up to the chief exec. The projects undertaken should yield clearly measurable resource savings orproductivity improvements. In many cases, however, the benefits will bebehavioural – in this case, the IMP approach above should be adopted. Both the outcomes and the processes of the project can produce significantadded value. Cutting costs now and building benefits for the future -Êthat’swhat training should be about. Don’t throw it all awayOn 1 Nov 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more