Why Do Client Always Want to Short Change Learning?

by Dana Skiff on August 18, 2009

Rarely, if ever, does a request for a training course or the design and development of a course ever come without an unreasonable time constraint by the client. Two days of training are allotted for a three day course or a half-day course is requested to be delivered in 2 hours. It never seems to fail. Why?

Obviously, time is a precious resource. Time equals money. But, is that the real reason? Learning is critical. If employees don’t know what to do, how can they perform, much less perform well? Like most other things, learning, if done correctly, takes time. The amount of time depends on a variety of factors, not the least of which is what is being learned.

Would a business ship an incomplete product just to save time to get the product to market earlier? Would a business sell a half-baked cake or ship a partially assembled handset? Absolutely not!!! So why, then, short-change learning? It makes no logical sense. However, it happens so frequently there must be some kind of explanation. Here are a few possibilities:

  1. Management doesn’t care.
  2. Management doesn’t know or understand the dynamics of training and the learning process.
  3. In-house trainers don’t do a good job of making a case for allowing sufficient time for learning to occur.

Are there other explanations?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Stephanie Addante August 19, 2009 at 3:36 pm

You are correct that many times training is compromised due to mandated time constraints from upper management. What vendors and training departments must understand and embrace is the need to provide a specific and measurable ROI with high levels of accountability. Good leaders don’t give budgeted dollars without understanding an expected return on investment. Too often in the past, training is rolled out with a “feel good” approach and no one wants to manage the accountability and results. It becomes an isolated event with no check and balances vs. a solid process towards personal growth. The majority of companies also underestimate leadership’s ability to coach effectively – a skill required for successful training. If employees don’t clearly understand their roles and responsibilities for their own personal growth it’s difficult to hold them accountable.

How can learning initiatives grow vs. getting short changed? Here are some successes I have had.

1. Training Departments should be under the HR umbrella with a strong dotted line to operations to assure all training initiatives are in alignment with the company’s top-tiered objectives. In doing so, more support will be gained across all channels.

2. Compliance Reporting with role clarity and defined accountability should accompany all training from day one. Training Departments often love creating training, but more often than not, throw it over the fence and assume someone else will assure execution. Training Departments need to raise the level of communication and collaboration between departments to assure flawless execution of training.

3. Provide everyone in the organization with training progress and results on a consistent basis. Recognizing successes and opportunities early and often will raise training awareness and improve the probability of additional budgeted training dollars in the future.

4. Establish an environment of self directed learning!

5. Last, but not least, leadership within the organization needs to learn how to coach effectively before any budgeted dollars are spent on training and education for the field.

When there is communication and collaboration among all areas of the organization, Training Departments are enabled to identify training needed to resolve root causes vs. just symptoms of a bigger problem.

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