Please find attached my article "Training: Beware the Restaurant Syndrome"
You may also read it at my blog Talk it Out!.

From India, Madras

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Dear Ashutosh,
Good analogy. You have compared the training calendar with the menu card in the restaurant.
You have written not to make the training calendar. However, even if it is made, how many programmes happen exactly as planned? What about thin attendance for the programmes planned?
To certain extent this is cultural issue as well. In some companies, for non-attendance by the participants, managers or HODs are held responsible.
Training card or otherwise, any training should finally reflect in the balance sheet of the company. How many training professionals are able to link these two things?
Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Dear Dinesh
Your points are valid.
In fact your concern about no. of programs that happen and thin attendance in the programs are indeed some of the common symptoms of the restaurant syndrome. When an organization converts its training plan into a list of events, attending or not-attending the events is the decision that employees end up taking.
Training effectiveness depends on culture, though, artifacts, like Training Calendar, play an important role in building and sustaining cultures.
Changing culture requires doing away with false gods and symbols upholding it.
Thanks for your comments!
Best Regards

From India, Madras
Dear Mr Sastry

Thanks for your comments!

I agree that planning is required for execution and have absolutely nothing against it. In fact I would suggest meticulous planning.

In most of the companies, Training Calendar is arrived at based on training needs captured during either the performance appraisals or using some other methodology. However, the challenges are:

1. Training calendar is a list of events. Events of 1 or 2 days can't bring lasting changes in behaviors of people.

2. Training calendar often stands in isolation from other learning methodologies and creates a delusion that attending a training program can address a training need.

3. Most organizations publish the calendar and hope that employees will attend relevant programs based on their TNIs. This doesn't turn out to be true. Employees often end up attending programs that were not identified for them. Few organizations go ahead and take nominations of only the relevant employees. But even then, point no. 1 and 2 are true.

4. The implementation of the events listed out in the calendar becomes the goal of T&D department. They run around to get nominations irrespective of the requirements. It distracts the T&D function from its real task of developing people.

5. In sort of a vicious cycle, managers refer the training calendar of the previous year to select TNIs for next year, continuing the inefficiencies to next year.

What I propose in the article is:

1. Have a learning schedule for individuals. This schedule should have not only classroom training programs, but also things like - deciding the individual learning objectives, e-learning, assignments, writing journals, reading books and review of learning. This is what i refer to as the schedule of the training process in the article.

2. Don't publish the training calendar. Inform individuals about their learning schedules (with timelines for self-paced learning and dates for classroom learning).

3. Tailors don't have menus; they customize for each customer. A little difficult, but more effective approach.

I hope, I have been able to make my point.

Best Regards


From India, Madras
Dear Ashutosh,
I endorse your views and agree that today, there is a tremendous needs for trainings that are tailor made and customized rather than something like off the shelf.. or generic.
Having said that, off the shelf of generic training programs are at least better learning for the updating knowledge & skills. It is better than ignorance..!
Shabbar Suterwala

From India, Mumbai

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