Corporate Training Doesn't Work

By Derek Browning, Regional Vice President at LeanCor

I know, I know, I just offended 80 percent of our reading audience, but stick with me. I train and sell corporate training programs, and much of my livelihood is made off of corporate training, so I would never advocate to not invest in it. I will say, that we (internally) and our customers have both had several negative experiences with corporate training programs.

For those of you who have been through any of our problem-solving courses, you should know that we don’t jump to the conclusion to eliminate training altogether, but to better understand the current state and real problem we have.

Why doesn't corporate training work? Let me make a few suggestions.

Corporate training doesn't work for three primary reasons: 1) We don’t plan it properly, 2) It is not executed effectively, and 3) Zero follow up occurs.

Corporate Training

Plan it Properly

Many companies plan corporate training by plugging a random number into a budget and then sending employees to conferences and training events as capacity and budget allows. If pressed, they would have trouble answering these questions: What problem does this solve? How does this get us closer to our goals? To properly plan training, one must understand the current state of the operations and their trainees' skill sets, then identify the target condition that the operations and skill sets need to achieve. Corporate training should then be applied to close the gap between current and target. Any training that does not close a gap may be helpful information and cause unintended benefits, but could also be called overproduction. This is especially concerning when the training applied does not help us close the gap between our current and target.

Execute it Effectively

We all have different learning styles. As more of an auditory learner, I can sit all day in a lecture hall and soak up the majority of content with minimal conversation. Some of my hands-on learning colleagues would pull out their phones and computers in the first 10 minutes, churning through something actively engaging because they learn better by doing. To execute a successful learning environment, LeanCor workshops are designed with a mix of multiple styles and teaching, training, and hands-on activities. This mix encourages students to learn and apply concepts in ways that suit their particular learning style. Courses often require follow-up homework to drive and reinforce application to achieve sustainable business results and close the gaps between target and current condition.

Follow Up

Corporate training is the only place I frequently see people make a purchase and never check to see if they received what they paid for. The reason is that many live in the paradigm that they are paying for the training rather than paying for the effects the training will have on their employees and business as a whole. Upon conclusion of an event the manager will ask an employee, “How did you enjoy your training?” If the employee says “I loved it,” the transaction will be over. To assure that we are closing gaps and employees are growing in their knowledge and capability, managers and supervisors MUST follow up to make sure application and homework is driving real, measurable, business results.

As well as I know the folks that read our articles, I assume the folks that were offended by the title are now nodding their head in affirmation. I only hope that as you’re nodding your head, you’re applying what you've learned in this article to make sure your corporate training is planned, effective, and monitored until results are realized.

Now, the Homework

LeanCor has spent time problem-solving on why lean is not progressing to drive results in many organizations, and we've found there’s often a gap in the performance of our supervisors and leaders. To help close that gap, we've developed interactive online curriculum to be deployed throughout your organization, and would love to help you coach it through to completion. Your homework is to call us today to receive an enterprise price developed for your organization.



"Lean Leadership: Building the Lean Culture" is an interactive professional development course that enables all leaders to:

  • Be a more effective leader, manage people, and drive operational excellence.
  • Improve value stream processes that impact the organization.
  • Learn how to create action-driven measurement systems and build successful teams.

Learn More and Get Started Today


Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group

blog author

We Teach. We Consult. We Do. LeanCor is a strategic supply chain partner that provides third party logistics, supply chain consulting, and corporate training programs. These three, integrated solutions – LeanCor Logistics, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Training and Education – specialize in lean principles to help businesses better serve their customers by eliminating waste, decreasing costs, and building cultures of continuous improvement.

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