Staff development row brews as managers and training firm pass buck

A row has broken out between employers and training firms over who is responsible for learning failures.

A survey of learning and development professionals at last week’s World of Learning conference in Birmingham found that a lack of line management commitment and follow-up exercises were the most commonly cited barriers to employees retaining knowledge learned on courses.

Bob Mosher, learning and strategy head at training firm LearningGuide Solutions, said that inaction on the part of line managers was costing employers time and money.

“My biggest concern today is that many employees do not get proper follow-up responses to training,” he told Personnel Today.

“People need help to remember and apply the information, but a failure to support staff post-training can see them forget as much as 80% of the information they learned just days earlier.”

However, Ruth Spellman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, hit back, insisting that poorly structured training programmes were at fault.

“It’s about training programmes and how they’re not performing up to scratch,” she said. “They need to be much more self-directed, because training is not the line manager’s sole responsibility, and it’s the individual who needs to be able to access the learning and follow-up.”

She added: “Perhaps [learning and training professionals] should spend less time talking and more time improving training schemes.”

Spellman insisted that in increasingly busy business environments, individual employees needed to be able to carry out their own training follow-up, and that e-learning programmes needed to be adjusted accordingly.

She also said a power struggle existed between line managers and training professionals over who controlled workplace learning and development.

“Research shows that over the past four years, the number of line managers who feel they have control of the training has doubled from 15% to 30%,” she said.

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