When Training Is Acquired By HR

Let’s face it—one of the things that gets slung on the world of HR at some point is the Training Department.

What type of training you ask? Well, the circle of life that usually happens is that Training resides in the field organizations for long periods of time, then at some point the powers that be decide that…

Shazam! Training belongs in HR.

Which generally causes one of two reactions:

1.  A low-level civil war between a field organization that thinks training is too critical to give to HR (think sales or customer service, the two functions with the heaviest eye/need for training up their workforces), or

2.  Yawns. What? Someone else had training? I never knew that. Yeah, give it to HR. They’ve got facilities too, right? Sure, give them training.

Why did training need to come to HR? Usually one of two things has happened:

1.  There’s a competent HR leader who’s looked at underserved areas like Leadership Development and Manager Training and decided that it’s important enough to shore up those areas, so he/she will do the right thing and acquire the function by cutting the deals necessary internally, or

2.  It’s a complete power play by an HR Leader who’s looking to make as many organizational land grabs as possible to build the kingdom.  This leader generally has no true interest in Training or Learning & Development; they’re just trying to build the empire.

And it’s within the organization of the second type of HR Leader outlined above that Training will go to die. Not because Training isn’t important, but because it can’t thrive if it’s acquired by that type of HR Leader.

The Kingdom Builder has no true interest whether training actually results in business results or behavioral change. To the Kingdom Builder, Training is a transaction—an event that happens and then gets crossed off the list. Someone building a kingdom doesn’t have time for deep philosophical questions… like if training actually works.

Making this transactional effect even worse is the type of HR pros who generally work for the Kingdom Builder. They’re just like… well… the Kingdom Builder.

People who work for Kingdom Builders in HR are much more likely to be transactional in nature. They’re not going to think deeply about whether something works, or worry about outcomes. They’re going to check off that list, baby.

Is your Training function managed by HR? Want to know if it was acquired by an HR Leader who really values learning or a Kingdom Builder? Look no further than a Leadership class or a class for Managers of People that’s led by an HR pro from the shop in question.

Here’s your leading indicator: If the HR pro leading that class can’t display the skills being taught or seems unwilling to do that in any way, you’re dealing with a transactional HR pro doing training—and the Training function most likely was acquired at some point by a Kingdom Builder.

Clock in, clock out. Check it off the list.

On to the next wayward department with loose ties to HR to be acquired. Safety, anyone?

FOT Background Check

Kris Dunn
 Kris Dunn is Chief Human Resources Officer at Kinetix and a blogger at The HR Capitalist and the Founder and Executive Editor of Fistful of Talent. That makes him a career VP of HR, a blogger, a dad and a hoops junkie, the order of which changes based on his mood. Tweet him @kris_dunn. Oh, and in case you hadn't heard the good word, he's also jumped into the RPO game as part owner of a rising shop out of ATL, Kinetix. Not your mama's recruiting process outsourcing, that's for sure... check 'em out.

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