Training Belongs with Programming

We’ve already covered where training doesn’t belong:  Some agencies put training into HR, which has a lot of negative implications for training quality and staff reception. Others put training on its own. This is better, but still not ideal. Training belongs with the program.

Training Org Chart

Think about it – what do you most want your staff to learn? Sure there are some HR requirements and organizational policies that you must cover, but no one is going to pay much attention to that regardless. What is really critical is teaching your new and ongoing staff the theories and skills their work will be based on. You need to teach them in a way that will change the way they work. This is only possible if:

  • Training staff sit by and work with program staff, hearing their challenges and really understanding their work.
  • Training leadership is part of programming leadership, so that those who will do the work with kids or families and those that will teach them have the same goals and mandates.
  • Program staff view trainers as their peers, and so want to hear what they have to say.

When trainers are embedded with the program(s) they are training, it just works better. Going to staff meetings, getting to know the staff, even doing a little process work are all things that make trainers better at their jobs and better received by their colleagues. In a perfect world, the trainers would all carry a case or two until they really understood what was going on. The best trainers have actual experience doing the thing they are training.

This is more effort, but the payoffs are great:

  • Staff are more engaged with trainings and trust the trainer more, creating better training transfer
  • Trainings are more targeted to the needs of the program, saving time and money
  • Job satisfaction increases across the board

Bottom Line for the Learning Culture: trainings are seen as an important way to improve practice, and staff feel like they have real input into what trainings are offered, what they cover, and how they like to learn. Professional development becomes a real possibility instead of a buzz word. In short, the promises of good training become possible.


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