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How much delivery should training officers do?


We're considering creating a new post of training officers, whose main role will be to delive (not design or develop) existing training courses.

What sort of proportion of the working week might it be reasonable to ask the officers to actually deliver training? We were thinkiing of 4 out of 5 days.
Mandy Hetherton

11 Responses

  1. What’s wrong with 5 days?
    If they are just taking courses off the shelf and delivering them, then there’s nothing wrong with them delivering 5 days out of 5.

    I’ve certainly delivered 5 days out of 5 for weeks at a time after I’ve designed the material.

    So unless you have something different for them to do on day 5 (and not just tiny bits of admin) that will be useful to the business, get them delivering non-stop.

  2. Depends
    I have worked in places where they have training officers who are purely meant to train all the time. this is fine if they only have set courses that they deliver (although I feel that you do get a certain amount of burn out after a while of the same old courses). the problems start up when there are new training requests coming in. if you have a seperate position as a ‘Training Developer’ who writes the courses when do you make time to train the trainer? We found that you need more developers than trainers. If not then the Training Officers very quickly start to be given design work on the side and so end up not training as much as in their job description.

  3. Create WOW! Trainers – Don’t Burn Them Out
    If you want to stimulate, create and sustain burnout go for 5 out of 5 days. By doing this for any sustained period (in just a few weeks) you will also create presenters with little or no ‘spark’ and diminishing returns on the quality of there sessions. In 14 years of experience working with trainers in 28 different industries I have no feedback to suggest that 5 out of 5 days is healthy, in fact its counter productive. Don’t misunderstand this to mean that on odd ocasions trainers can’t achieve five straight training days; we’ve all done this, when required.
    There are many well known corporates that work to 4 out of five days, however the success of this ratio depends on critical influences such as:
    1. Does the trainer have to travel?
    2. What genuine preparation and follow-up time is required?
    3. What time is required for the trainer to develop further their skills so the role remains aspirational for them?
    4. What time is required for research and development?
    6. Does their personal psychometric suit the limitations of the role you are imposing upon them?

    My experience tells me that many corporates working to 4 out of 5 days completely underestimate the above factors and they still run their trainers to burn-out. This is because too many decision makers do not factor-in the above influences and make the continuing assumption that training is simply a matter of standing-up and presenting.

    Then they wonder why they receive some feedback that the training was something less than inspirational or less than worthwhile – Hello!!

  4. Trainer delivery days
    It is possible for trainers to do a high number of delivery days for a period of time. I do take issue, however, with people being employed full-time on this basis.
    I agree with what has been said about burnout, so won’t repeat it. I think this conveyer belt model of training is archaic and is unlikely to result in sustainable, high grade training.
    There are three aspects I would challenge. Firstly why separate designers and deliverers? In my experience designers who do not deliver are less able to create well rounded and viable designs. And deliverers have less ownership of the material.
    Secondly, from the organisations point of view, employing one trick ponies does not build in sufficient flexibility and is unlikely to attract high calibre applicants. Thirdly, in many organisations where they have this role split there is conflict and displacement of responsibility.
    Why not go for a more professional model that makes use of well balanced job design and good people to develop and deliver courses, and a range of other good quality results driven interventions.

  5. In theory yes; in practice no!
    Like some others who have commented I do think it is possible for trainers to deliver for 5 out of 5 days (most of us will have done it at some point), however I don’t believe that it is healthy on an individual or organisational level.

    For the individual there is a high risk of burnout, delivering training day after day after day is tough; it’s physically and mentally demanding and, at some point, the degree of routine involved will dull the edge of the trainer and lessen her/ his effectiveness.

    From an organisationl perspective I think you need to consider the degree to which the trainer is tied in to the desired outcomes of the training. An effective trainer understands the drivers for the training, knows what certain interventions are aiming to achieve and is involved in the post-event evaluation.

    To seperate the trainer from the design and evaluation is, in my opinion, a mistake. Otherwise what you are left with is the training equivalent of a soap actor – turn up, do my lines, go home (apologies to soap actors everywhere!)

  6. Be flexible
    I think it is dangerous to think in terms of days or hours when writing a job description for training deliverers.

    Think more in terms of the overall objectives you are looking to achieve. You need to consider travel, time for planning and preparation. There needs to be time for review and feedback to the developers.

    What involvement will they have in evaluation?

    Some situations will need training for 4 or 5 days in succesion and others will not.

    Talk to your trainers and consider their needs. The role can be very isolated especially if field based.

    If the trainers time is well planned (and managed) and the objectives are being achieved there should be no reason not to be flexible with the amount of days spent delivering training.

  7. Got the T-shirt
    Like most of the people responding to this, I’ve had my share of delivering 5/5. For short bursts it’s OK, although very draining. What I found was by being involved in the design and then the delivery, it gave me a much better understanding of both and I became better at both. It gave me much more variety in my roles which kept me interested and enthusiastic for longer, which had a positive affect on my delivery.

    Training is not a ‘conveyor belt’ activity and should not be treated as such. And in my experience, most of the trainers I’ve known are not the sort of people who are motivated by too much routine – i.e. 5/5 delivery.


  8. What’s wrong with 5 days?!!!
    Umm – let me see – 5 days non-stop training, and you think that you’ll provide effective training?

    I’ve been there, done that when covering for sick / high demand and I ended up falling asleep at 8.00pm each night, needing full-strength coffee twice a day & fell ill myself.

    5 days training for a long time is not a healthy choice for the trainer.

    4 days out of 5 is workable, as the 5th day is generally used for research / self-development / admin / queries that you don’t get to do during the rest of the week (unless you use your break times which leads to burn out again).

    3 days from 5 is even better, which is what I now do, where I spend the other 2 days in a more ‘consulting’ style role -it’s much more beneficial and I have had no burn-out feelings since changing the role around.

  9. Variety or sameness?
    It will partly depend on how varied this training is. If there are a variety of topics and there is little or no repetition over the four days, that is one thing. But if the range is limited and the training is repetitive over the four days, and that repetition is continued week after week, then few people can sustain their enthusiasm for long. My experience of repetitive training is that it isn’t demanding in the sense that one can go onto automatic pilot, but whether you want trainers on automatic pilot is another matter. One soon loses track of what one has said to which group. It doesn’t create a positive impression when you have to ask either yourself or a group of trainees whether you have already told them something, or whether it was the previous group. Whatever this role involves, the pattern of delivery will impact on the recruitment and selection process.

  10. Why just deliverers?
    Rather than comment on the 5 days, I’m more curious about the concept of having staff who just deliver and have no input into design and/or development. What is the reason for this? Is it cost? Do you feel salaries of those ‘just delivering’ would be less? I started my training life over 10 years ago in the public service and initially all material was supplied. It didn’t take long though for me to realise that I wanted to put my stamp on things; that even though material was supplied I still needed/wanted to do my own research to ensure I had all possible information on the subject matter I was delivering. I then found that I wanted to add or amend the material I was given; that I could design exercises to supplement what I was given. To cut a long story short – I developed into a fully fledged training & development professional. I did a train the trainer course and CTP(CIPD). I can’t think of, or imagine any training officer who would not want to design and develop their own material; to develop themselves as training professionals. Can anyone reading this disagree? It is only my opinion, but if I was approached by my employer to recruit new people to only deliver prepared materials by someonelse, my response would be it is an unrealistic proposition (as is delivering 5 days a week every week -to answer the actual question)

  11. Training Objectives
    I absolutely agree with Nick’s sentiments. When measuring the success of training provisions, rather than setting objectives relating to how much time is spent actually delivering training, I think it’s better to monitor that actual effect; demonstrable quality rather than quantity.

    In a previous company we recruited a trainer whose remit was to increase sales per head and she could do this in any way she saw fit. By adopting a range of development techniques; ‘class room’ training, one-to-one coaching, attending team meetings etc. she developed a ‘business partner’ role and most importantly achieved fantastic results.

    I believe that training should be relevant and bespoke rather than blanket and off the shelf. A trainer who has to be delivering training a set amount of days each week is a risk of delivering training for that purpose only.


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