Is HR responsible for training?

Is HR responsible for training? Well, is HR responsible for the performance of the department that needs the training? Therein lies the loaded question and, in my view, answer.

What is the role of Human Resources (HR) in training? It is only to facilitate execution of the training. Unfortunately, I find many customers for the training relinquish its success to HR. Admittedly, sometimes, it’s because it’s how the organization is structured, but many times, it’s not.

Inter-departmental decision

Let’s take one of the short courses we offer, that is, writing effective reports, usually undertaken by varied organizations for different reasons. Research or business reports are the most common. Anyway, the manager of the department (the customer) realizes that the quality of the reports by his staff is wanting. He knows training can help, so he reaches out to HR to help. HR comes back with three recommended suppliers proposing a particular one.

HR responsible for training

Possibly, HR invites the three to send proposals and even calls them to pitch. All this while involving the departmental manager to choose whilst being guided by what HR may know of the industry and maybe the training firm or trainer himself. A decision is jointly agreed upon and the training happens. It is a resounding success.

Making HR responsible for training

Now, this is where the relinquishing begins. The learners resume business as usual and there seems to be an improvement in the reports. But it’s momentary. And the manager starts lamenting that the training did not help, and worse, HR should assist.  Some even blame HR outright for it’s failure. Much like saying HR is also responsible for career development.

I even know one that wanted HR to monitor progress of the success or failure of the training! Really! How? How does HR start reviewing reports to determine improvements or not? Is this not the manager’s job? Unless of course we’re saying that HR is responsible for the performance of the department.

It’s the manager not HR that is responsible for training

A more prudent approach, I think, would be, pre-course, the manager to note specific and objective issues that the report writer’s struggle with. For instance, it could be structure or grammar. Then, focus on these during the pitching and the training and then, plan around continually measuring and improving these post course. All this is the manager’s responsibility. Even from a leadership perspective this is a responsible way of stretching the return on training investment.

It is impractical to expect HR to ‘own’ the training output. Especially where sales training is involved Sales Managers should jealously guard this role. This is because of the unique nature of selling.

Why some make HR responsible for training

Why do some department managers surrender (abscond?) this responsibility? I think because it’s seen as extra work and it is easier to ‘delegate’ (dump?) it on HR because, “Training falls under HR.”

Meanwhile, the output of the clueless learners, caught in between the back-and-forth, continues to deteriorate and therefore that of the department, and, therefore, its leader’s, the manager. Even for self-preservation reasons would it not be wise to just own the training fully? And like this one manager, plan on how to monitor and evaluate the output? How? He assigned a rotational role to his members of staff and included feedback as an agenda in his weekly meetings. He made it a collective responsibility.

What is the role of Human Resources (HR) in training? It is only to facilitate its execution.

What do you think?


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