Training occupies a funny place at a lot of organizations. Training is (or should be) a whole organization project, and it touches every part of the organization. This leads to a lot of different views on what training is, where it belongs, and how valuable it is to any given person. You can tell a lot about the learning culture (or lack thereof) at an organization just by locating the training department (be it one person or ten) on the org chart. There are three main categories I see again and again: HR/ Managment, Its own entity, and part of Programming.
Today, we are going to talk about what often happens when training is a part of HR. A quick note: these are generalizations and trends to watch for or think about – not hard rules. I have seen some brilliant and highly regarded trainings come out of each of these places.
Since some training requirements come from organizational policies (especially in bigger organizations), training is sometimes housed in Human Resources. Training staff are part of the administration, and spend their non-training hours sitting across from hiring specialists. There are several implications of this:
- The chatter they hear and participate in day to day is about policies, procedures, and benefits – not the programs the agency is currently running. This creates distance between the trainer (and the trainings) and the reality of the things they are trying to train.
- The trainer becomes personally closer with those HR staff than the program staff, and as such is regarded as another outsider telling people what to do.
- Trainings become dated, out of touch with current best practices and realities, and start to be regarded as a barrier to real work.
Bottom Line for the Learning Culture: trainings are seen as a burden separate from the actual work of the program. Real learning is thought to only happen peer to peer on the job. This inhibits growth and change, and makes it easy for a few disgruntled staff to lower the level of services provided across the program.
Next week we will talk about what often happens when training is off by itself.