According to a recent industry report, companies in the U.S. spent $90 billion on training and development activities in 2017, an increase of 32.5 percent over the year before. There are many important benefits of offering robust training; however, some companies may be wasting resources—trying to train their way out of problems training simply can’t solve. Training is an extremely powerful tool to address an undeveloped skill if the root cause is a knowledge deficit. Well-designed training programs with customized content, relevant case material, skill-building exercises, and assessment mechanisms work wonders, but they can’t solve systemic issues like ineffective decision-making processes, narrowly distributed authority, and clunky information-gathering processes. When training is applied in such situations, at best it will be ineffective and at worst it can backfire, frustrating employees and making management seem out of touch with what’s really going on in the organization. When millions of dollars are being invested in training programs, its critically important managers understand the problem they are trying to solve.
When to Invest in Training