Reasons for not Training? LO5793

Ron Dickson (
Thu, 22 Feb 96 08:06:04 PST

Replying to LO5763 --

Read with interest Gary's list of excuses companies often give for
not training. His list is pretty comprehensive; I'd guess that
most of us have heard at least a few of these. At the risk of
preaching to the choir, may I offer rebuttal and another theory.

a) For large investments in training, individuals can and do leave and
command larger salaries at other companies.
A theoretical risk, but as Gary points out, hardly compelling. If
the company has no competetive reward structure for highly skilled
employees, those employees will probably not be retained anyway.

b) No immediate payback of the training.
Often there is not, although occasionally training yields swift and
dramatic results. In my experience, the most successful companies
have training and development plans linked to the strategic plan of
the company. Knowing where the company ought to be in 1-5 years
allows them to take advantage of the training "fruit" that may take
years to appear.

c) No dollar justifications of training. ...[Y]ou can't directly show
the return on a training investment.
I really must dispute this common misconception. Although a direct
dollar-to-dollar ROI is often not available, good businesses have
indicators that they want training to impact. (Kirkpatrick's level
4 evaluation looks for results, not ROI.) Reduced safety
incidents, lowered legal exposure to harassment/discrimination
litigation, heightened awareness of the organization's policies and
objectives may not directly add dollars to the till, but they are
all measurable indicators which should be of concern to most

d) Many people have learned on the job without formal training in the
past. Why do you have to do formal training now?
Good question. Why make students take language classes when they
can already speak? (Hint: standardization, reliability,
efficiency, accountability--issues that ISO, ANSI, ASQC, and others
look for when evaluating an organization's compliance.)

e) You can hire people with the skills, it appears time consuming,
difficult and long to train staff internally, when you can just put an
ad and hire someone.
A cursory comparison of the cost of training vs. the cost of
recruiting and hiring should end discussion on this topic, not to
mention the costs and risks of disposing of current untrained
workers to make way for the new.

In my experience, two factors most often underlie resistance to training:
managers don't know/understand the benefits and/or they would simply prefer
to spend the money elsewhere. We all probably can--and should--do a better
job of addressing the first. Training and development departments should be
every bit as adept at justifying their existence as other groups in the
organization. That by itself will have some impact on the second; the
remainder will take time and sustained performance on our part.



Ron Dickson <>

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