Human Resource Management

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Trainers Conflict With Senior Management

January 17 2007 - A recent survey survey of in-house training professionals by The Ken Blanchard Companies finds that senior managers are undermining the training programmes they have asked for. The survey shows that top management ask their training managers to:

  • Initiate learning programmes that produce empowered leaders for the future
  • Encourage people to be more productive
  • Be accountable for bottom line results showing a clear return on investment (ROI) in training

However, approximately one half of the same top managers will undermine these requirements by:

  • Failing to set an example of what good leadership looks like
  • Refusing to go on training programmes themselves
  • Not showing an interest in sharing the responsibility for enhancing the recognition and value of training within the company

46% of training managers surveyed said that their greatest frustration was a 'need for more top management buy in.' 28% also said that appropriate staff members were not being trained because they opted out of non-compulsory training programmes or because training managers did not have the right staff or finances to provide training in the most effective way.

Despite their reluctance to be trained themselves, or to be good role models, senior managers were not slow in criticising training departments if the expected ROI did not materialise. 58% of training managers said that 'proving the impact and ROI of training' was their biggest challenge. 47% also said that raising the priority of training and development within the organizational culture was a problem.

According to Jim O’Brien, managing director of The Ken Blanchard Companies UK:

"It seems that while upper management is putting increasing pressure on training managers to justify their existence by proving they can deliver ROI, they are at the same time jeopardising any positive outcomes by their counter-productive behaviour. Given this and other Blanchard surveys showing best results are achieved when there is top-down support for learning and development initiatives, you have to ask whether training managers will, sooner or later, have to raise the issue of whether they should be held accountable for results if they don’t get the support they need from the top."

The Blanchard survey also found that coaching is now the most popular method of reinforcing and following up on training with 60% of those surveyed citing the technique. Developing future leaders also remains a top priority for 57% of respondents.

> More human resource development articles

Related article:

Managers more likely to get training than workers

April 3 2001 - The CIPD's third annual training survey shows that managers and professionals are far more likely to receive training in the workplace than manual workers. The survey was commissioned from the Centre for Labour Market Studies, Leicester University who telephone interviews with over 500 people in December 2000 and January 2001.

Mike Cannell, author of the report and CIPD Adviser on training and development says:

"The findings show an alarming gap between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'. Only 8.4% of our respondents said that managers and professionals in their organisations had received no on-the-job training in the past year, whereas 47% said that their manual workers had received no on-the-job training during the same period. Similarly, although less surprisingly, manual workers are less likely to have a formal coach or mentor than managers and professionals."

Mike Cannell adds that: "It is surprising that the main beneficiaries appear to be managerial and white collar employees given that on-the job-training has historically been a case of manual workers 'sitting with Nelly'. This shift may be due to the widespread use of computers, which has forced every manager to learn about information technology which lends itself to on-the-job training."

Nearly half the training managers interviewed said that they found it difficult to obtain adequate assistance from senior line managers or directors to develop an adequate training strategy. And 16.5% believed believe that their senior managers and directors had a poor understanding of training and development.

Cannell concludes, "One of the weaknesses of the UK economy is that we have too many people with low skills and low incomes. It is therefore very disappointing to see that the training needs of some of the very people we should be targeting to get out of this circle, manual workers, are being ignored. The UK economy should be moving towards a high performance/high skilled economy but it can only be achieved if more investment in training, particularly through workplace learning, is undertaken. Maybe one of the reasons for this, as our survey suggests, is that a minority of senior managers and directors are insufficiently committed to developing their employees."

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