Look at the internet sites of training institutes around the world. You will not find a single one, not disclaiming to be a professional in terms of training and development. But what about the human resource development (HRD) activities of these institutions themselves? Are “Human Resource Development Experts” a good role model for well executed HRD? Do they practice what they preach?
Research shows, that trainings institutes develop their own staff in different ways and on divergent strategic foundations. Six types of institutions have been found (in declining emphasis):
- HRD is a corporate philosophy and based on a company wide learning culture and the self-understanding of the institution
- HRD is both market-oriented and strategically, and is based on current and anticipated demands of the organization
- the employees’ personal responsibility in terms of HRD is supported by consciously granted room for own decisions and actions
- HRD instruments range from forms of goal-planning sessions or performance appraisals to work-integrated projects
- clear accountability: HRD is a strategic management task
- HRD is linked to (T)QM
- The corporate culture is characterized by a high standard of personal responsibility in relation to the competence development of employees and supported by organizational structures and (partially) standardized HRD instruments
- HRD is not recognized as a management task
- There is no active organizational development, practice, and control of HRD
- There are no – or at least little – organizational support structures
- HRD is left to the employees’ responsibility exclusively
- HRD still takes place in different forms: from specific professional qualification to HRD through staff selection
- HRD is recognized as a management task, but lacks the foundation of a HRD strategy
- HRD activities vary from manager to manager based on their own ideas and demands
- learning on the job is dominant
- staff is asked for personal responsibility in terms of HRD, but is not supported by adequate free time and organizational structures
- no HRD instruments, like competence profiles, regular feedback, and performance appraisals
- There is no explicitly formulated HRD strategy
- HRD is characterized by a corporate “open door”-culture of the management
- HRD activities are based on personal conversations between employees and their executive (or a different manager) who – in addition to their primary responsibilities – account the personell development
- HRD activities are focused on the individual and are based on requirements of the market
- The staff of the institution is engaged in order acquisition exclusively, the ordered training services are realized by freelancers only
- HRD activities for the employees are focused on sales training, IT training, or the development of social skills
- Customers are asked for feedback belonging to the quality of the training services and the freelancers, but no competence development measures fort he freelancers are derived from it
- Solely the top-management is responsible for HRD, personal responsibility in terms of HRD is not intended
When choosing your training partner you may meet truly HRD experts – but also dangerous dazzlers. So ask yourself (and your training institute): If my HRD-partner does not walk his talk, how may this hypocrite be a helpful companion on my way to effective and strategic HRD? (Of course, except being a bad example in my HR-benchmark!)
 cp. OUEM-Bulletin, April 2007, p. 6 ff.
Next time you work with a consultant, ask him about his consulting philosophy. He should be able to tell you his conception of consultancy. If not, fire him! Otherwise you will invest in a money pit.
What should a consultant be able to explain – in clear words and no “bullshit bingo”? Just let me point out three basic aspects.
- He should be able to explain his understanding of managing the dynamics of a company – especially in a change situation – and his consulting approach. Consulting means managing change. If he does not think so: look for a better consultant!
- He should be able to explain his and your role in the consulting process. First of all he should have an openly communicated and comprehensible process model. How does he interact with the socio-technical system of an organization? How does his project and change management organization look like?
You should extremely look out for wisenheimers, for know-it-alls, who will place you and your employees under disability to solve problems by your own further on. Such backseat driving “Super Experts” are highly addictive, but will cause durable damage to your company!
- He should be able to explain his “exit strategy” already at the start of the consulting process. If he is not able to do that, the end of your relationship will be riddled with conflicts and disappointment.
So, when you are looking for advisory support, talk a lot about management and consulting philosophy and the consultative approach. You will save both time and money!
picture source: Network Janitor