Who wants to be a trainer? (Is L&D the HR Sweet Spot)
October 24, 2012 4 Comments
I was chatting to some friends over the weekend and some interesting comments came up that seemed to circulate around another conversation I had been involved in about the transience of trainers and how it seemed hard to keep them. So I thought I would look at the questions that came up, offer my perspective and then see if we can’t see why in the long run transience might be an issue.
The first question was ‘How did you get into L&D’ – My answer was simple, I want to make a real difference in people’s lives, I want to help them to grow, become more skillful , build their capacity and capabilities. I was good at presenting and training people how to do and understand things and what some times seems a very long time ago I fell into sales training when a friend needed some help with his sales staff. So in reality I didn’t initially choose to be in L&D, I was in the right place at the right time and I was good at over, but it fitted, it fitted with my idea of wanting to make a difference.
The next question caught me a bit off guard, it was ‘So where do you go from where you are?’ This one was a bit harder I guess for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I like my current role and I work for a very large organisation, in a very senior role, where I am given an enormous amount of autonomy and responsiblity, in fact probably more than most HR director’s in a lot of organisations. (I am incredibly lucky and very thankful for the opportunity by the way). But it points to a conversation I had with an L&D friend around this time last year where he said that he had to move from the organisation he was in because his only career progression within it was to take on a senior generalist HR position and he hated the idea of doing that. Another friend and colleague of mine who moved from a senior L&D role to a senior HR Director role, clearly articulated that L&D was his preference, but if he want to advance his career he had to make the move back into HR. So is that what we are destined for if we truly want to advance our careers past where we are?
The rise, particularly in the US of the Chief Learning Officer, I think provides some light at the end of the tunnel around this as well, but probably only bigger organisations will ever really embrace the idea. It is a role that I think is incredibly important and one that is long over due in terms of giving Learning its own place at the Big Table.
So is L&D the HR sweet spot, but is it a HR sweet spot that we almost by necessity have to leave in order to advance our careers.