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Local or Centralised Training


Question: "If you were given a blank sheet how would you organise learning and development?" Background: A manufacturing company operating in 6 Western and Eastern European Countries approximately 14 locations.
Each Cost Centre currently has a local training budget. The quality and integrity of this plan is patchy.What would you do to ensure Best Value, whilst maintaining commitment and accountability?
ian jenner

2 Responses

  1. Local or centralised training
    I think I’d want a lot more information before deciding exactly what approach to take but I am pretty sure I would go for local AND central training, not either/or. Practical issues like numbers/viability, travel costs and facilities would be one factor. Cultural issues, such as legitimate versus unacceptable regional variations, would be another. Organisational drivers and outcomes would be a third – improving leadership may need a different response to reducing the number of reject items.
    So, it is hard to say what the proportions would be but I would certainly expect some mix of local and central L&D provison, and a strategy with some mix of centralised compliance along with some local discretion and tailoring too.
    As to patchy quality, why not try some internal benchmarking and sharing of best practices bringing each centre up to the standard of the best (for some interesting techniques to support this process have a read of ‘Learning to Fly’ by Chris Collison and Geoff Parcell)

  2. Both
    I agree with Graham,

    Generally I think that core programmes should be standardised and managed centrally. However, materials should be able to be tweaked to fit local cultures/issues, and also be run locally. (I often design materials for ‘standard’ programmes that indicate where local businesses should add their own examples etc).

    Investing in modular programmes (everything approved by head office, but businesses get to choose which bits they want to do) also appears to be popular approach, as it allows central and regional departments to share control.

    It is good for the local business to have some discretion about how it addresses needs that are specific to its needs. However, there is a danger that some businesses stray too far off ‘corporate rails’, and start training in things that contradict global issues. Also, I have seen many companies duplicating (at best) training programmes that are very similar, and wasting their budget when a central programme with some flexibility would have been more cost-effective and encouraged consistency throught the organisation.

    So, as I said at the start – share it.


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