Thursday, July 20, 2006

Getting Respect

I miss Rodney Dangerfield. He was a genuinely funny guy. You have to admire the one-man comic industry he built around the phrase "I get no respect!" I hear this same phrase, and am reminded of Rodney, every time I am in a room of training managers. They are often lamenting the fact that their role is not valued in their organizations, that no one listens to them, and that their budgets are continually cut back. According to a recent study, however, the training folks may be authors of their own misfortune.

Chief Learning Officer magazine recently published a story about a study of 250 senior executives conducted by Accenture. The study was about workplace performance and found that:
  • only 14% thought that their organization's entire workforce was industry-leading;
  • only 20% thought that their employees understood their company's strategy; and,
  • a mere 10% reported being very satisfied with the performance of their HR and training functions.
This survey found a gaping disconnect between what HR and training was doing, and the central business drivers and objectives of the organization.

This is training's vicious circle in a nutshell. The training department does not often align its efforts with organizational goals, and organizational leadership rarely demands that it does so. Leadership is dissatisfied and the training folks feel that they are constantly marginalized.

Yikes!

What's the answer? Well, we think training managers can do a lot more to earn respect by following the "Five-E" framework:
  • Establish Value (target training at real organizational needs)
  • Effect Change (make a difference to the organization by contributing to positive change)
  • Engage Stakeholders and Learners (engage the former through understanding and responding to their needs, and the latter through active learning design)
  • Experiment (constantly try different approaches and build upon those that work)
  • Evaluate Results (measure, measure, measure)
In short, 5E = R-E-S-P-E-C-T.