A Return to First Principles (Part 2): Why Do We Train?

For most of my career, I have focused on employee training and learning. The writing I have done has primarily been in support of someone learning process or concepts related to successful process performance. Even with my current job–where I do no training–my writing is in support of our organization’s end users being successful with our products.

But why do we train? 

We consider training be a necessary component of our organizations’ operations. Some would call it a “necessary evil.” In these minds, training is seen as something we have to do because some regulation requires it, or to avoid burning down the facility, etc. If this question were posed to organizational leaders and managers (even Training Managers), I would wonder how many of them could quickly provide a meaningful answer.

(Aside to the reader: don’t hesitate to send me your answers to the question!)

Here is the answer: to enable our organizations to improve their ability to make money or to improve their ability to save money.

Crass to be sure, but this is the core of any operation. Even non-profits, which by definition are not in existence to make money, must work to save money in order to apply more of their resources to their missions.

Training must be intentional, to directly impact the bottom line by enabling the making and/or saving of money. Why? Because training invariably costs money. If the money I spend training is greater than the bottom-line benefits derived from the training, I should not bother training.

This understanding is integral to the manner in which an organization designs, develops and implements its training program. That will be the focus of the next post.

About Tim James "Mr. Procedure"

A communicator; all-purpose capability in writing, designing and presenting training for all facets of organizational function. While my focus has been manufacturing, my training/development experience includes supervisory and lead person development, audit processes, continuous improvement and Lean, and Quality Management System implementation.
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