Friday, 7 December 2012

Would we in learning & development last 5 minutes if we worked for Roman Abramovich ?

As Roberto Di Matteo and many football managers know you are only as good as your last game which for Di Matteo was a 3-0 defeat to Juve. If ever there was a profession that personified the phrase “ it’s a results business” it has to be the fickle yet beautiful game.

This got me thinking ? What if Mr Abramovich decided to employ me as a freelancer or he decided to buy a training company. Would we be able to say well, Sir you spent £x amount on training and this is how it affected the profits of your business.

Maybe this lack of demonstrable value add/ROI is the reason why the first thing to be cut back in times of recession is training.

But equally not investing in training can be devastating to a business as Toyota learnt ,when  the problems that resulted in product recalls in 2011 were down to the fact that proper training hadn’t been carried out.

It strikes me that in times of austerity the only training that gets done is the mandatory stuff.

Why is that ? It comes back to lack of demonstrable value add. Training without application and transfer of learning is entertrainment and we’re not in the entertrainment business. So as professionals we need to be more than simply order takers .

So if we are asked to run a training event we should consider asking some of the following questions:

  • What is the issue that the event is trying to solve ?
  • How does that issue manifest itself ?
  • How much is it costing you currently ?
  • How much extra income would you expect to be generated as a result of the training
  • What needs to happen (post event) to make sure that the training or new skills learnt on the day are successfully transferred back into the workplace
  • How will we know that the training has made a difference ? (measures of success)

So as a profession we need to ask the right questions of our customers in order to be able to show that we’ve made a difference and be able to quantify that difference, then training wont be the first thing to be chopped in difficult times.

Until we start doing this, training will just be seen as a cost by the bean counters.

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