No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Diary: A rookie mistake


diaryIt's hard to be an award-winning L&D manager when all the business wants is basic training. Diarist Josie Roberts has been dreaming of putting together a world-class training programme, sadly, the business' needs are quite different...

I have made such a rookie mistake I am embarrassed to admit it. Last month I wrote about my plan to make our training the envy of the world I forgot one key thing - what the business actually wants. I know! That should have been where I started. But sadly it wasn't. I aim to keep up to date with what is required. Twice a year I meet up with all the managers and ask them whether training has been meeting their needs and what more we can do for them. This time I got an unprecedented barrage of requests; and not one of them was focussed on how I am to raise my profile and justify my existence. Well, of course not.

Now I have to find ways to slot the ideas I committed to previously in to what has been requested. But what I have been asked for are low-key projects. No one wants me to introduce a programme to transform their customer service in award-winning style. They can't spare the staff for the training that would require. Their requests are far more basic and functional.

This means that I will have to admit defeat on one idea. I wanted to go forward for a training award this year. The trade press has been full of mention of the National Training Awards and I've found out just how many other awards are out there. (There are companies that will help with submissions who have a list of awards available, submission dates etc.)

"When every course is pared to the bone there is little scope for the more imaginative activities. We have been sticking to the tried and tested."

Last year was a tough one with redundancies from the training team and looking at previous winners I reluctantly concluded that this year isn't the best one for us to be going with. The key seems to be to have measurable progress. My intention is to establish some clear start and end points for projects that I have in mind to make a next year submission a more sensible idea.

Meanwhile I've been training. Last week I found myself looking at a roomful of expectant faces and asked "When is the best time to be thinking about your career?". "After the recession" came the response amid laughter. This was the perfect cue for my session on why it's important to work on your career now as if you leave it until then you'll be a year or so behind those who have been focussing on honing their skills and looking to their next role.

At short notice I had been asked to talk about training and focused on how training can support career development. I enjoyed working on a session that didn't have to have a visible ROI. I devised a game to draw from people all the different things we do for them.

It then struck me that it's been a while since I did that. When every course is pared to the bone there is little scope for the more imaginative activities. We have been sticking to the tried and tested. On a day course it's easy to try out a half-hour activity to see if it would work as a longer one, in half a day it's an awful lot harder and in the two hour sessions becoming increasingly popular it's not really possible at all.

I miss the fun and think that is a new challenge; to shake out of the formula we've been following and see if there can be enjoyable activities that fit. If we can find a way to make our training innovative and effective within current constraints we surely will have come up with something award worthy.

Josie Roberts is a pen name for a training manager in the private sector
Read Josie's previous diary entry:
Talking targets


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!