Ask and You Shall Receive
Based on the cover line of this issue ("More For Less"), I’m sure you have figured out that the headline of my Editor’s Note does not refer to asking for and receiving a raise. Indeed, with average training salaries taking a nearly $8,000 nosedive and overall training expenditures dipping 6.5 percent in 2012, according to Training magazine’s annual Salary Survey and Industry Report, the outlook appears gloomy.
But there are a few bright spots: Overall, training payroll increased by $5 billion, and on average, companies spent $1,059 per learner this year compared with $749 per learner in 2011. And even though training expenditures might have declined, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is less training. In some cases, it means organizations have learned how to train more efficiently and cost-effectively.
That’s where the headline to my column comes in. I recently received an e-mail from training professional Michael Marr, who wanted to share a tip with Training readers. He wrote:
“I am sure throughout your training career you have been in a meeting or stopped in the hallway and asked if you can create learning content to help improve a particular department opportunity or ‘hot topic of the day.’ You may have enthusiastically answered, ‘Yes, we’d love to help!’ After all, we’re the training experts at creating training content, right?
Wait! Don’t say, ‘Yes,’ so fast. Besides asking for a meeting to discuss return on expectations, one of your first questions should be, ‘Who are the end-users and will I have access to them when designing the content?’
There is an easy way to demonstrate the value of soliciting end-user feedback going on right now at your local coffee shop. Baristas are busy conjuring up multiple caffeine-infused drinks with a ferocious steam engine while smiling at you and helping others in the process. But what’s the most important part of their job? Asking the customer what they want. Can you imagine if you walked into your favorite coffee shop to order your usual skinny hazelnut latte, but instead, the barista just plunked down a regular decaf? It is the same with our end-users. Therein lies the lesson of the barista: End-users will tell you what they need, but the first step is soliciting their feedback.”
Michael’s advice likewise is at the crux of the other two feature articles in this issue, “Training Without Borders” and “Learning To Be Lean.”
Speaking of getting feedback, I am happy to welcome to Training magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board Ann Schulte, director/global practice leader, Learning & Development, Procter & Gamble, and Ross Tartell, manager, Learning & Development – North America, GE Capital Real Estate. I thank them and all our advisory board members for their editorial feedback, article and source suggestions, and assistance in judging our award programs throughout the year.
Last but not least, I thank you, Training readers, for all the feedback and suggestions you provided to me in 2012. I look forward to the dialogue continuing in 2013. Best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season! I hope to see you February 18-20 at our Training 2013 Conference & Expo in Orlando (http://www.trainingconference.com).