Why Do Training Professionals Have an Identity Crisis?

ID-10059446As I work with some of my clients, there’s a common theme: Some training professionals don’t know what their function is.

Don’t get me wrong! These pros have solid skills. They love to solve problems. They know the value of learning. That’s why they became training pros in the first place.

What Is the True Value of a Training Professional?

But if you ask them what value they bring to the business, to the organization, you’ll get a wide array of answers. Some say their value is knowing the latest and greatest authoring tool. Some think that, like the security checker at the airport, being able to quickly herd huge numbers of people through an unpleasant but necessary process is their value. Some think mentoring employees is their value.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! A training pro may have all those skills, but those things are not their value.

The value of a training professional is to find learning gaps in an organization and fill them. That is the value of training distilled to its essence. If you’re not filling those holes then you are not providing value.

But here’s where the problem lies—how do you prove that value? How do you prove that you filled those gaps? How do you show ROI for what you do?

A Clear Disconnect Between Businesses and Training Pros

Here are some interesting stats: An ASTD report (2009) found that while 92% of organizations measure reaction to training, only 36% believe that’s an effective measure. Nearly 60 % believed ROI to have high value, but only 18% measured training on that level.

That shows a clear disconnect between what businesses want and need from training and what training professionals provide.

The cost of NOT measuring training impact is too high. There is far too much ambiguity around the value of training to organizations. This misconception about value has shown up in many ways—as subject matter experts being used as trainers, as cuts in training personnel, as reductions in training budgets.

If our industry ever hopes to be seen as a strategic business partner, we must understand our value.

If our industry ever hopes to be seen as a strategic business partner, we must understand our value.

We must know how to communicate that value in business terms—as dollars and cents, as hard proof of achieved goals that add to the bottom line.

Measurement Is The Key

Measurement is the key to doing just that. This year that theme will be explored frequently on this blog.

  • We’ll talk about best practices in training design.
  • We’ll discover how to align training with business goals.
  • We’ll show how our training product will help you EASILY deliver proof of impact.

If one of your resolutions is to finally tackle measurement of training impact, stick around.  There’s lots to look forward to this year.

What do you think? Do training pros have an identity crisis? Are you tired of training being relegated to the bargain bin when budgets get tight? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net