Training Industry Quarterly - Summer 2011 - (Page 13)
TECHNICAL TRAINING | WENDY COMBS AND BETTINA DAVIS
THERE IS NO NATURAL OWNERSHIP FOR TECHNICAL TRAINING
TECHNICAL TRAINING – WHERE DOES IT BELONG?
he question as to where technical training should reside in a company is an interesting one. There are two common “owners” of technical training: the Human Resources (HR) Department or a business function — e.g., operations, engineering. Research shows that about 60 percent of companies have technical training anchored in the HR Department. The reality is that technical training can logically fit into either. It tends to swing back and forth between the two. There is no natural ownership for technical training because it is both people-oriented and technical in function. However, while strong leaders recognize the value of technical training, many HR and business executives do not understand technical training and, hence, cannot lobby for it or proactively lead it. As a consequence, technical training is often put in one department until it no longer works and then moved to the other. Economic cycles have an influence on where technical training lands. During hard economic times and when cost savings and efficiencies are crucial, training efforts tend to be consolidated and moved into HR in an effort to centralize resources and gain economies of scale. As funding and resources become more available, functional business units begin searching for technical training solutions that are not available from HR. Small technical training initiatives are authorized in functional business units and grow into larger technical training organizations. Hence, the pendulum swings back toward decentralized technical training. While housing technical training in HR can
bring challenges, there are also advantages. It may result in higher visibility, as HR is typically anchored higher in the organizational hierarchy, and with that, strategic objectives related to technical training can be more closely aligned to high-level company goals. On the other hand, the advantage of housing technical training in the business is that access to technical experts is easier and relationship building occurs naturally due to peer relationships and joint operating processes - e.g., staff meetings, strategic planning. In this case, technical training is not seen as an HR function and the legitimacy afforded by proximity to technical experts is higher. Technical training is often easier to justify than other types of training because the link to the work people do is more apparent and it appears in the context of business objectives. There is no right or wrong answer to where technical training should reside. The best place for technical training varies by company and factors that apply equally to HR and business functions: maturity of the organization, reputation of the organization, people in the organization and organizational culture. At the end of the day, stakeholders of technical training do not care who owns it; all they care about is that it is ready on time, is cost-efficient and effective, and builds the skills employees need to contribute to the company’s bottom line. Wendy Combs and Bettina Davis are the co-authors of “Demystifying Technical Training: Partnership, Strategy and Execution” (Wiley Pfeiffer). E-mail Wendy and Bettina.
TrainingIndustry Quarterly, Summer 2011 / A Training Industry, Inc. ezine / www.trainingindustry.com/TIQ
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Quarterly - Summer 2011
Training Industry Quarterly - Summer 2011
The Formula for Performance
Table of Contents
Training for Transformation
Working Smarter: New Ways of Learning
Classroom Training: 7 Scary Problems
Technical Training: Where Does it Belong?
Social Learning: Focus on Collaboration
Performance Management: Focus on People…and Profit
Adding Social Media Tools to Learning Portfolios: 10 Questions to Consider
Bridging the Gap: Training and Business Results
Managing Knowledge in High Performance Organizations
Web 3.0: Transforming Learning
The Soft Touch
Training Industry Quarterly - Summer 2011