Learning & Development

Is ‘Training’ an Antiquated (or Even Obsolete) Term?

Don’t get us wrong—training your employees will NEVER go out of style! But with evolving methods and shifting generational trends, we’re looking at a lot of the aspects of training differently. Should we be rethinking the entire way we brand it as well?

We started thinking about this after Managing Editor Steve Bruce returned from the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Talent Management Conference and Exhibition, held recently in San Diego. He noted that the exhibitors and attendees were referring to various topics differently than in the past—“recruiting” was out, and “talent acquisition” was in; “training” was out, and “talent management” or “development” was in.

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Now, conferences always have the potential to be hot spots for the latest buzz word/phrase in the business world, but we were intrigued that such a stalwart word within nearly every company might be considered, well, antiquated. Why might this be?

Opportunity Is Rarely Thought of as ‘Mandatory’

One thing we came up with is that “training” unfortunately carries some negative connotations among those it’s intended to serve, especially when it’s “mandatory.” Of course, the employer knows it’s mandatory for a reason—it’s important! But in the eyes of employees, training may feel like a chore that’s happening TO them … rather than an opportunity or skill that’s supposed to work FOR them. See how a word like “development” might now have the advantage?
Engagement can make or break training’s effectiveness, and the stakes can be high when employers are trying to educate employees on compliance or workplace safety. Advanced methods are being developed every day for training—gamification, microlearning, social learning, online course options, the list goes on—but might the word “training” itself now be more associated with the days of thick binders and long hours in the classroom?

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What’s Your Take?

We realize the irony of The TRAINING Daily Advisor even suggesting there may be such a dramatic shift in the language we use regarding how employees are developed, but it’s important to take a step back every once in a while and really look at how training is perceived—because in the end, the perception drives (or drains) its success.
What’s your take on “training”? Does it really matter how we technically refer to it, or is this just business-speak running amok? Is your organization always looking for new ways to brand its training efforts in the most positive, engaging way possible? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!