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Why train?

As a Consultant I have often been stumped by this question thrown at me by Business Managers and HR Managers.

They are convinced that the resources hired by them have the requisite knowledge/skills needed to excel at the workplace. The reasoning is as follows: the employees are products of leading colleges or have been recruited from another organisation where they have had rich experience.

Deduction: They have received the inputs needed to do the job well.

So they hire these people, put them through a sketchy induction process  and send them to the war-front. I agree that there are a few organisations that take every new employee through a comprehensive training/induction program to get them battle-ready, but they form a small percentage of the pie.

The Managers of the employees in the first category often wonder why the new recruits aren’t performing as expected? The crib being: We thought they knew how to do the job! This isn’t rocket science and any sensible person should be able to do it.

Another commonly heard reason for not training – We don’t have budget. These same organisations would invest in a lot of other things that do not yield expected results, but pay scant regard to a mission critical activity like training.

There is a third reason given – People don’t stay for long; so why should we train people to excel elsewhere? The counter query to that one would be:

– What if training can make them performance better while they are with you?

– What if you don’t train them and they stay on much longer than expected?

I had mentioned during a recent interview that the best organisations invest 3-5% of the payroll on training. Why would they do that?

After all they get the best resources available in the market and they have the best selling products/services too. Doesn’t it sound counterintuitive that they should be “spending” so much on up-skilling their employees?


There is a lot of change happening in the market:

Business Environment / Customer Preferences / Technology / Methods

People develop rough edges as they go along – their knowledge, skills and attitudes need to be fine-tuned and buffed for them to shine once again.

The best organisations know this and are reaping the benefit of their investment into this important activity.

If the best employees need training, do I have to stress on the need to train average or poor performing employees?

So Business Manager / H.R. Manager, what are you waiting for? If you want to reach /remain at the top  …. Do train!

  1. Biju Krishnan
    September 29, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Some of the studies say that the enhancing knowledge, skills and attitudes required at workplace is impacted 20% by training and 80% by on the job/on field experience. The training part is like the sharpening of the saw and the other 80% is about the sawing. If we want to be a World class company we need to give that world class training even at the risk of the well trained employee leaving the organisation. No Risk = No Profit. Like you said measuring and tracking the training expenses as a percentage of the total staff expenses will be one of the ways to check the importance given to training. The other aspect is to check the effectiveness of the training – how it has made a difference at the work place (in a way it is the ROI of training)and communicating it within the organisation.

    • JayadevM
      September 29, 2012 at 4:50 am

      Hello Biju

      That is so well stated. Wish more managers understand that and gain from it too.

      Yes, like all other investments this needs to be tracked too and returns studied. But without that investment they can’t hope for bigger returns from their most valuable resource.

      Let me just make one more addition to what you have stated – that 20% returns can be further increased if organisations do some on-the-job training / coaching after classroom or offsite intervention.

      Thank you for sharing those important messages.

  2. September 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Well, even if one were a highly intelligent person, one needs to know not only the rules but also the tricks of the game called chess to prevail upon the opponents.

    • JayadevM
      September 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm

      Absolutely, Umashankar.

      Even Viswananthan Anand needs to undergo training to win matches.

      I am sure that if we say this to an Indian Manager s/he would say that we are trying to create World Champs and feel smug about it.

      Everyone needs training.

  3. Anish Rajendran
    October 1, 2012 at 3:05 am

    people who says NO to trainings have stopped their brains to accept new things in life… certain managers are like that…

    • JayadevM
      October 1, 2012 at 3:42 am

      Hi Anish

      A strong comment, but right too.

      A closed mind is not a good thing to have at the workplace. It stunts growth.

  4. Jamy
    October 1, 2012 at 6:00 am

    Training is the best way to keep yourself abreast with the latest advances in fields and areas that are vital to your professional growth- We all learn something new everyday and training or being trained is a great tried and tested method to make it happen. Anyone who does not believe in training is blind, deaf and dumb!!

    • JayadevM
      October 1, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Hi Jamy

      Refusing to learn and refusing your team opportunities to learn is like writing a death sentence.

      Like Anish, you have not not minced words either!

  5. Kailash
    October 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Very nicely put J, I have just change my Job and i haven’t given any KT/Training about the current systems/their architecture/Internal clients/internal precess flow etc and i’m owning 3 major project. One of them is one year old and on going and rest two are new one. YOu can imagine my situation and i can very well relate my self with your blog. The issue here is managers in our Orgs. feel that once they higher a candidate with certain level of experience they would do/deliver everything on their own (they say we will not have to do hand holding) for God’s sake !!! Giving training on products/systems/company processes is not landholding. The candidate has done something to reach to this position and hence you have hired him/her but to give idea/knowledge about YOUR Org. setup which will in turn help candidates to adopt the place/systems/process/people smoothly and start deliver effectively. They miss the point that some time and money spent on these trainings would give them benefits 10 fold.

    • JayadevM
      October 1, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      Excellent support material for the message in my article.

      Thank you for sharing this experience, Kailash.

      I hope you have managed to find the required information – you should not be found wanting on the job even if the manager responsible for your readiness has messed-up.

      Best wishes!

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