So said the MD of a 100 plus company in the south east.
His view was that he employed people with relevant supporting skills and with the exception of meeting the legal niceties the rest was down to the line manager and learning on the job. He had previously spent money on training, but had not noticed any real difference in the performance of his staff, with or without off the job training.
The company survived, but not without an injection of new blood and a root and branch review of the way the company operated. There was not just a lack of people development, all the company’s initiatives were top down, change was always prescriptive and employees were expected to cope come what may. Not only were employees unhappy but they were a vastly underused resource, they never volunteered and their potential for creativity was lost.
Of course training and development is never an optional extra, well directed, they serve both, the on-going effectiveness and wellbeing of organisations; and they help future managers to arrive in post oven ready.
The key phrase is well directed, sadly a lot of training is not well directed, the expected results are not clearly specified and post training impact is not objectively measured.
The Benefit of Training is to make a gain or, to avoid a loss and the company and the employee should both benefit.
A few sad facts:
• 22% of skills are below standard.
• Typically, this costs a business of 50 employees, £165,000 per year
• UK productivity is 13% below that of other major economies
• In Britain £4.5b is spent on training each year by employers, but this may not be used effectively
• In 2001 50% of the $56.8b training budget in the USA had not been used one year later and was unlikely to ever be used!
To make training pay, there are a few questions that it is well worth having the answers to.
• What is the need?
• When will the need arise?
• If the need is met will it serve the strategic needs of the organisation?
• Will there be an adequate return on investment?
How can you be sure that you have genuine and timely answers to these questions? All too often training and development requirements are generated as a reaction to perceived bad performance and locking the door after the horse has bolted is bad news. Training requirements are also often generated as a response to a trend or a fad; there have been more reincarnations of fundamental training ideas than there are grains of sand. Some training is sold like clothes, fashions are created each year to generate products that superficially look different, but serve the same basic needs.
Some things stay the same; organisations still need a vision, a mission and a strategy to generate the strategic objectives from which managers derive their goals.
A lot of organisations don’t have a goal setting culture and even in those organisations that do have one; goals are not systematically tracked so that feedback is regular, and not ad-hoc.
• People who have written goals are 25% more effective that those who don’t.
• People who track goals are 25% more effective that those who don’t.
• People who have written goals and track them are 65% more effective.
Collaborative goal setting, in which goals through the organisation are aligned to its strategic goals and tracked, does not just deliver great results, it systematically identifies any resource shortcomings and needs. It objectively determines training and development needs and provides the basis on which the return on investment can be calculated. -DKL
David Knowles-Leak runs a performance management company. He works with www.goaltrak.co.uk who provide an organisation wide strategic goals and management system for generating and managing results. He can be contacted on 01628 400 665 and at email@example.com