Without managers being fully invested in training, there is no chance it will have an effect on people. Just as with everything else in an organization, training relies on its importance being exemplified by leaders.
That means leaders should not dictate employees take training, but rather be an example of how it’s important. If a leader sees no value in training to the point of avoiding taking it, then it’s not important. That doesn’t mean only direct leaders act as a positive example because people see beyond that level and they also become examples.
This also leads to the necessity of managers being the ones to manage training and what their direct reports need for their job.
Who should manage training?
If the answer to that questions is Training & Development, I don’t think training is going to be as successful as it needs to be to create the value commensurate with how much money is being invested. T&D is too far removed to have a proper grasp on the requirements of individual employees, yet they are often one dictating what training employees take
The best person to determine what training is required of employees is the one who is closest to the employee. Managers regularly talk with employees and hopefully have a good idea what their pain points are and what is going to help them in their job the best.
To me, that tells me that managers should be the only one in an organization to mandate any type of training on their direct reports only. There are still certain types of “training” such as compliance, but that is far removed from training or even earning the label of training (and that’s hard to do!). A while ago I wrote on what compliance training should be like, and yes it’s included in a post titled “10 things that make me cringe.”
If managers are to manage who is taking training, they should also be the one to track training. Sure managers already have enough on their plate, but so does everyone. The last thing we want to do is save managers a little bit of time but have T&D load up every employees plate with useless training.
If we always say they have enough on their plate, they can’t deal with that too, then it’s easier to pass off responsibility onto someone else who doesn’t always put the priority on the people, yes T&D. In the case of training, determining what their direct reports need, and figuring out if they need additional resources is the responsibility of managers, not T&D.
Tracking training doesn’t always have to be literal tracking of training. Tracking of training shouldn’t be making sure a test was passed or that a butt was in a seat. The only way to track training is to make sure behaviours changed and employees are more capable of doing their job better.
Managers already do this. It’s usually the managers responsibility to make sure the job is getting done to the best of abilities. It’s a managers responsibility to hire the best person with the best skills to do the job (or the highest ability to learn how to do the job). That also means it’s the managers responsibility to make sure those they hired have the skills and resources they need to continue improving in their job.
That is the type of tracking that is needed. Training & Development usually only focuses on butts in seats, which is wasting everyone’s time.Tracking true performance improvement can only be done on the front lines, with the managers who know
Tracking true performance improvement can only be done on the front lines, with the managers who know what their employees need and want.
It’s time to transition responsibility for how training is done, who determines the necessity for it, and how much money is spent on a central department to handle it. Separating the job from the people it affects isn’t the best way to go about training, therefore, T&D in most organizations should be a shadow of its current self and focus on being a resource for managers, but never taking the responsibility off of managers.
T&D should be able to be approached by a manager who needs support in finding resources for their employees growth needs. Once the manager contacts someone in T&D, resources should be put together and a personal map for those needs provided.
T&D should be curated the best content out there from all the sources it’s available, not created new content for something that’s probably available on the Internet already.
Do you think this would help transition an organization from a training culture to a learning culture?
I think it would.