By Adam Hilliard, SIOP Blogger
A few weeks ago I had a kickoff at a client site with a project team that included the regional HR staffing director and corporate training manager. In a side conversation, we had an opportunity to talk shop about other projects and they brought up their recent budget planning and how it had always seemed they were jockeying for each other’s slice of the pie.
“How would you distribute our budget percent between our departments, Adam? Are great employees born or made?” This clearly was not a question I thought would bode well for me. When possible, in the world of consulting, you try to deliver win-wins, as every contact is a potential ally down the road. After cracking a few jokes about knowing the limits of my scope and moving on, I gave it some thought on the flight home.
Competition often adds value, but not in this situation. Training and selection programs should be designed to complement each other. The hallmark of a good selection system is that the longer it’s running, the less it should cost to keep your head count stable. By budgeting more (initially) for selection to design or refine any current selection systems (e.g. validated assessments and structured interview training), turnover drops and people hired are better fits with better performance. As staffing needs decrease, I’d take what is needed for selection, and give everything else to training. With lower turnover, training managers have even more flexibility in how they roll out programs and new initiatives. More individuals get training. More new opportunities become available. Revisit in 5 years, looking for ways to make the system even more valid with less adverse impact. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
I liken training and selection as two essential pieces of a house. The larger and more stable the foundation of who you select, the more impressive the “structure” you can build upon it with training. I am of the mindset that anyone can be trained, but with a smaller foundation, you need to invest more time and more money in order to make the training effective. By hiring individuals with strong core competencies and who stack up well in your 9-box, you equip your organization with a number of great “foundations,” and those who your training managers can help turn into the best your company has ever seen.
Sounds like a win-win to me.