Why are human resources and training roles in organizations often seen as cost centers rather than critical drivers of organizational success? Why is training first on the chopping block when organizations look for cost savings? While many training professionals focus on designing great training programs, they often miss the point that executives expect training to deliver business results.

I have noticed a positive shift in human resources of late that positions human resources professionals as strategic partners within work units.  These professionals work closely with management to provide strategic human resources advice that impacts business success.  The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) is advancing this agenda by offering a variety of professional development opportunities in strategic human resources.

The current climate of downsizing, skill shortages, re-skilling, retiring baby boomers and immigrant workforce provides a unique opportunity for human resources leadership.  The Annual C-Suite Survey indicates that 90% of corporate executives believe that skills development is the number one factor in boosting the economy.  It is, therefore, an opportune time for training and development professionals to provide strategic leadership that can deliver real value to their organizations.

So what does the application of strategic training and development look like? Here is a high-level overview:

  • First, take a big picture view of training in the organization before focusing on each of its parts.
  • Identify organizational goals and priorities, which drive the employee competency and skill framework.
  • Use employee competencies to identify skill gap analysis and training needs.
  • Build training to meet specific performance requirements.
  • Select training methods that enable employees to reach proficiency in their jobs in the shortest possible time.
  • Link training ROI to the employee competency and skill framework.