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HR Directors: Why Your L&D Program Is Falling Short

July 21, 2021


Most companies understand the importance of developing their people, and they’re willing to make major investments in training. Organizations in the U.S. spend more than $150 billion every year on learning and development—unfortunately, these dollars are often wasted on ineffective and incomplete programs.   

So why are learning and development programs failing?    

Good intentions; poor execution

Organizations have good intentions and want to see their people succeed. People managers care about their employees’ professional development and happiness. Senior executives and HR leaders also want to see a return on their leadership training investment in terms of:   

  • Increased employee retention 
  • Improved productivity 
  • Higher employee engagement 
  • More strategic decision making 
  • More employees in line to succeed as leaders 

With these goals in mind, companies identify high-potential employees and then enroll them in typical leadership training programs in an effort to trigger organizational change. Giving employees access to only this typical type of leadership “training,” however, is where most companies fall short. 

Leadership training is not the same as effective coaching

A new way of thinking is needed in learning and development, and the most innovative companies are looking beyond mere leadership training to a leadership development and coaching model. 

Typical training programs are academic in nature and last 1-2 days. Participants are taught important skills and traits successful leaders demonstrate. Once the classroom sessions end, however, trainees then return to the shop floor with little or no follow up from the trainers.  

A typical “graduate” of this program is excited about what they learned in training and anxious to put new practices in action. Too often instead, managers get mired in their day to day and regress to their pre-training behaviors. In addition, the training they received didn’t focus on the real-life application of the new skills and there was no accountability.  

Coaching teaches sustainable skills

Under a coaching model, classroom training is supplemented with personalized coaching so new ideas and concepts taught in the classroom can be applied to real-world, work-related situations. Our coaches not only help individual leaders set and meet specific goals, but they teach them how to maintain the improvements. This happens through repeated interactions between coach and trainee that teach the trainee to apply the skills, resources and proven methods they learned in the classroom.  

While a training curriculum is administered utilizing a top-down approach, coaching is customized to each learner’s unique needs and circumstances. Effective coaches motivate and challenge participants to sharpen their leadership skills by facilitating dialogue, asking questions and referring participants to additional resources. This approach teaches individuals to trust themselves, think critically and independently, and tap into their own wisdom to make decisions. Coaching helps put the instruction, guidance and learning obtained through classroom training into action, and this experiential development is where real learning takes place. 

Transform your workforce by investing in their development.

Frontline Leadership Certification and the 90-Day Challenge

At Clark Schaefer Hackett, our operations experts have developed excellent frontline leaders at hundreds of top-performing manufacturers for over 20 years. Based on this work, we have designed a fully integrated training program for frontline leaders that drives measurable results and ignites a positive culture of continuous improvement.  

The program combines two days of classroom training, which is structured around nine fundamental leadership competencies that are essential to the success of your leaders. This classroom training is followed by our 90-Day Challenge, where our coaches work with your frontline leaders weekly for three months to ensure the leadership competencies are clearly demonstrated and documented.          

Do you have frontline leaders who: 

  • Haven’t achieved the same success as a leader as they had as a frontline worker? 
  • Aren’t sure how to build trust within their teams? 
  • Struggle with giving and receiving feedback? 
  • Lack communication skills? 
  • Struggle to lead effectively under pressure? 
  • Aren’t comfortable working in cross-functional teams? 
  • Struggle with employee retention within their teams? 
  • Are constantly fighting fires and pushing aside process improvement efforts? 

Contact us today for more information about our Frontline Leader Certification program. We’ll develop a plan to help your frontline leaders gain the skills they need to transform your organization.

All content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Matters discussed in this article are subject to change. For up-to-date information on this subject please contact a Clark Schaefer Hackett professional. Clark Schaefer Hackett will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this site.


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