Training + Development = Strong Organization........ Training - Development = Disaster

Brian Beck PHR, MHROD
May 5, 2009 — 2,196 views  
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In times like we're in now with this economy, so often training and development programs are the first to be scrutinized in an effort to reduce costs for an organization.  Once management has determined that this department can be shaved down a bit, plans are implemented and moved forward.  As senior leaders we can then relax some that we have been able to lower costs for the company. Soon afterwards, we learn how this was a mistake. 

Consider what a training and development department is able to do for a company.  It's one of the last, if ever, that should be downsized, rightsized, whatever you would like to call's too valuable a department!  Management training (which is huge and would take up way more space than I can blog to describe), customer service training, recruitment/retention training, basic HR training (keeps liabilities down), process training in regards to quality, workers comp strategies, strategic planning.....folks, the list could go on and on. 

Part II of what I would like to stress even more, is that once you decide not to downsize this department and further engage in more training and development planning strategies and techniques, don't forget the "development" part of the equation.   As an example, being a good HR Director, I could put your department managers through an intense, thought provoking and actually fun, four hour course on conflict management.  I then congratulate you for attending, celebrate and offer a certificate suitable for framing and send you on your way, back into the workforce, to be stronger conflict managers.  But....what happens after that?  As stated in the movie Top Gun..."crash and burn eh Mav?"

Companies forget the "development" part of this process.  We cannot train managers and then throw them into the world to produce and execute the strategies that we discussed for four hours.  We, especially in HR, need to support, drive, follow-up and query how their training has rolled into the real world.  We must follow up.  if we find that the theories we have driven and espoused into these managers is not producing the way we had hoped, guess what?.....we adjust and assist.  HR holds their hand, rewinds and drives the process again with the manager.  We check up on them at regular intervals.  I would suggest weekly.  Using the conflict management example, plan 15 minutes a week with each manager to see how things are coming along.  Have they needed to use any of the ideas, concepts, strategies that were discussed in the training?  How did it go?

Organizations are in such a hurry these days to get the data and information out to the field, but are incredibly delayed in the follow-up.  In fact, it's often that we don't even plan on the follow-up even happening.  That's sad....because we then hold the manager accountable for their performance on the topic after we've done nothing but offered steps, a fancy video and feedback session or role playing to engage and submerge their conscience into believing that once they leave the classroom, all will be well.  Guys, "develop" your managers and leaders, not just "train."  It's Part II and needs just as much, if not more attention than Part I.

Brian Beck PHR, MHROD


Brian J. Beck, PHR, M.H.R.O.D., has worked in the human resources field for over 15 years, focusing on recruitment/retention, HR strategic planning, organization and leadership development.