Who “Owns” Training? And What Are We Spending?

The Relias 2017 State of Staff Development and Training – A National Perspective for Healthcare Report

This is the second of a four-part blog post series on the 2017 State of Staff Development & Training study.
The blog posts will be published consecutively on the first four Wednesdays of October.

Welcome back, everyone!  Also stated above, this is the second blog post in a series of 4 on the results of our nationwide training survey.  As mentioned in our first blog post, Relias does this survey every two years and THIS IS YOUR YEAR! 

In this post, we’ll tackle 2 of the survey questions – who “owns” training, and is our spending what we think it should be – more about that in a minute.

Who “Owns” Training?

So, our first question you see below, on who has the management responsibility for the training function – who “owns” training.

As you can see from the chart, management responsibility is spread among several for the great majority of respondents.

This is to be expected, as many organizations tend to silo their training by department.

About a third responded that one person or department has responsibility.

So there are a couple different ways to look at this – functional responsibility and corporate responsibility.

If your organization is all functional, meaning each department trains in a vacuum, you can find yourself with higher costs, rework and what I call a “tower of babel” training model.  While departments should absolutely be drivers, the overall goals of the organization should be aligned.

This might seem foreign for some of us, but doing what we’ve always done because it’s comfortable isn’t necessarily good for the business or a smart spend of scarce resources.

A best practice is when a single, corporate entity can align the various factions in an organization and help all departments provide training that meets organizational needs.

If your organization is lucky enough to have that champion (or a learning function that operates in that type of role), we encourage clients to think outside the box a bit about how to use the LMS as a communications tool, not just to deliver content.

Use the LMS to communicate results to the L and D staff members who are doing their work further down in the organization.  You can then use push reporting to keep managers aligned and on the same page with where the learning function wants the organization to go.

It is so easy now to make short videos, even voice-over PowerPoints for communication, that you should definitely be thinking that way to leverage what the technology can do for you.  It also comes in very handy if you are a merger and acquisition company – as you onboard new staff – but that is another blog post for another time!

What are we spending?

Our next question concerns spend.  We are asked all the time, “What are others spending …and what are they spending it on??”  I wish we could answer that for you.  Unfortunately, when we send these surveys out, most organizations can’t answer that question.  I know!  It’s dumbfounding, isn’t it?  But it does have something to do with the previous question.  When organizations silo training, no one person really knows what the spend is!  That’s no way to run a battleship, but it happens ALL THE TIME.

So we DID get them to answer the following question:

This one was a surprise to me.  73% of respondents thought their manpower and financial investment was “adequate.”  As we saw in the demographic data earlier, we have a wide variety of respondents who answered this question, some of whom may not have any visibility into budget oversight, so take this one with a grain of salt.

We did receive feedback in our comments section that even though most thought that their spend was “adequate,” time and money continue to be blockers for many respondents.

You know, the one thing we hear as a vendor occasionally is that people “can’t afford” to invest in online training.  It makes me want to ask the question, if you don’t really know what you are spending, how do you know you can’t afford it?  So we try our best to help organizations understand just exactly what their spend is.  Sometimes their spend is high in instructor-led sessions that could easily move to online learning.  By the time you factor in paying an instructor, the room and materials costs, it makes online learning at least an alternative in the spend category.

See the next blog post on blended learning for more on how to determine when instructor-led training is a good thing, and when it is just a fully loaded Cadillac with curb feelers (when you just need a ride)!

Ain’t nobody got budget for that!

Here are the links to the webinar and the report if you’d like.  See you on the next topic!


Jan Wilson

Director of Learning Design and Outcomes

Director of Learning Designs and Outcomes at Relias, Jan brings over 25 years of technology, human resources and learning expertise to the Relias team. Her experience in senior care spans more than a decade, including serving as a senior executive of learning strategy with one of the country's largest providers. As an organizational development consultant, she has provided strategic planning, process alignment, curriculum development and planning, and learning solutions to a variety of clients in pharma, healthcare and state governments.

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