When the people in charge understand that training is important – but aren’t exactly sure how to balance the needs of the programs with the needs of human resources in regards to it- they might make training its own department.
I worked for an agency once that had two dozen people in various HR and Administrative jobs under one director, hundreds of people in various program jobs under another director, and one person under the training director. There were some big pluses to this model over the Training-as-part-of-HR model.
- The chatter is training focused, which led to sharpened training knowledge and a more robust approach to creating a learning organization
- The training staff are hired for their training and instructional design skills and experience – not their HR backgrounds.
However, putting training by itself still creates a real and persistent divide between training and programming. This created some serious drawbacks:
- Instructional designers have to schedule appointments with subject matter experts and get their input all at once, instead of organically learning about the struggles and strides forward being made in the work.
- Program staff often think that everyone who is not part of the program (the “real work”) doesn’t really get it. This creates an artificial disconnect between programming and training.
- Training requirement decisions are often imposed from outside the usual command structure, and were resented accordingly.
Bottom Line for the Learning Culture: Trainings are still 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. Trainings become more technically excellent, but may have little to do with how work is actually being done.