From me – Lacklustre programs reflecting badly on the L&D Manager

First of all, my apologies for not posting on Thursday and Friday last week – as you know, I try to post something of interest every weekday but I had some leave so I was spending the time with my wife and kids and trying to keep away from the computer…it was great but ‘back to the grindstone’ now.

Anyway, I wanted to do a post about a problem that I see happening all-too-often whereby L&D Managers will engage a learning solutions provider solely based on cost…i.e. the cheapest option will often win the day.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate the need for value for money (particularly in companies where L&D Managers are expected to deliver learning outcomes with a budget that hardly covers the cost of photocopying), however, generally speaking you get what you pay for in life and, in the case of cheap L&D programs, this will normally mean several negative outcomes, including:

  • Disengagement of program participants
  • Low completion rates (especially when programs are delivered in an ‘intensive’ format as participants are usually trying to balance the training with a busy work and home life)
  • Negative perception of L&D programs within the organisation (making it increasingly difficult to get people to attend future workshops)
  • Minimal positive change in skills, productivity, initiative, etc
  • Possible lack of support from the executive group for future programs
  • Extremely low overall ROI

What’s worse is that when people start asking who was responsible for the failure of such programs, the finger of blame with generally point straight at the L&D Manager.

As mentioned above, cost will (and should) almost always play a part in the decision making process, however, ROI is obviously measured by more than the price of something (indeed, a ‘cheap’ program is, in fact, very expensive if it results in none of the required learning outcomes). Therefore, consideration for the reputation of the delivering organisation, standard of the learning materials, experience and competency of the facilitator(s), the structure of delivery, support for the participants , etc are all of equal importance…and if done properly (with the learning outcomes achieved, a positive culture developed towards L&D programs, the execs on board, etc) everyone is pointing at the L&D Manager congratulating them on a job well done and not even mentioning the price!



2 thoughts on “From me – Lacklustre programs reflecting badly on the L&D Manager

  1. Hi Sam
    One of the skills missing from many presenters is their ability to build rapprt really quickly. Unless there is a technically element (every engineer loves every engineer) the (external)presenter in my industry ( Construction) is so content driven they forget to connect. This of course kills the session and makes ROI a thing of dreams.When choosing a product you really need to meet the person actually delivering and check out their “credibility” skills first.

    • I couldn’t agree more – indeed, if a facilitator can’t engage the group almost immediately (which generally has to be done through a genuine understanding of the culture of the group and of the the topic (via experience!)) then things can very quickly go down hill and even get quite ugly, especially with the Blue Collar Guys and Girls (I’ve heard about people in groups taking mobile phone calls, reading newspapers, chatting, and worse when the facilitator hasn’t won the group over with their credibility).

      As mentioned in your reply, the best way to ensure a facilitator’s suitability is to meet them before you put him or her in front of your people (or be sure that the organisation you’re engaging to do the work knows you well enough to not send the wrong kind of personality)…

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