The realities of training in recruitment

Recruiters are always demanding more training and when it’s delivered there is always the flurry of noise from managers claiming the consultants have ‘too much time away from the desk’!

Companies cite training as a positive differentiator in attraction and retention of staff but rarely make reference to the quality & outputs of the training.

In my experience the recruitment sector is divided into two distinct schools, albeit they don’t recognise it themselves.

1. Training is a ‘tick box’ exercise

In these organisations the leadership seem to view training as an obligation or a necessary way to keep up with the competition. It’s always the first budget to be slashed when the ‘cost’ agenda raises its head and rarely has any senior management engagement or participation.

I guess if you expect little and get what you expect you can’t be disappointed?

The reality in these organisations is high staff churn and little merit based internal promotion or career progression. I appreciate that genuinely ‘outstanding’ individuals will always make it to the top but a lot of recruiters find their career path with the opposition and that is a material cost in lost fees, relationships and morale.

It’s also frustrating that organisations have little leadership reinforcement of key learning points when someone is ‘back at the desk’ which ultimately renders any training useless. In fact it translates training into some type of in house respite from the day job and rarely is seen or used as an opportunity to improve performance, staff engagement etc.

Training is not for the amusement of the team and whilst it’s important to be fun, there must be a sense of mutual investment from the company and the trainees.

2. Learning = business and inividual performance

It gets interesting when training becomes learning and the outcomes are measurable.

Staff retention improves, internal promotions increase, communication becomes more open, and most importantly, results start moving forward

The content of training in these organisations is applied and reinforced by leaders. It is a constant discussion point at every review and becomes a standard across the organisation, even the language used by graduates of the training changes which gives a sense of common purpose and commitment

Training is not a ‘punishment’ but is a sought after opportunity to interact with colleagues and contemporaries which acts a stimulus for conversation converting to action and for all ambitious recruiters it becomes a benchmarking exercise that fuels healthy internal competition

It is the bedrock of staff retention and future fee sustainability and is an investment not a cost.

Highly tuned athletes take training as seriously (maybe more seriously) than the event itself as they recognise poor preparation turns into poor results. Recruiters are renowned for using sporting analogies as metaphors for the recruitment environment but rarely ‘walk the walk’.

It’s ironic in an industry that makes its living from people, particularly those on an upward career trajectory, that it under-invests in training from both a financial and intellectual perspective which causes short and long term damage.

Next time you speak to your accountant who is pressing you to reduce costs in training my advice is ‘have less accountants!’