Who Should be Responsible for Training & Development?

If you examine the very successful companies operating within the hospitality industry worldwide (and indeed excellent companies in general), recognition of one specific management principle seems to lead to the best and most consistent performance:

‘In order to make a person responsible and accountable for the performance results of subordinate staff, that person must be able to choose who comes into their team and who leaves the team, and they must also be responsible for the training within the team.’

In the absence of recruitment and training responsibilities on top of the normal supervisory duties, a manager or supervisor when questioned about staff performance, will always have the dual excuses of:

“I didn’t choose them. It’s not my fault…”
“They haven’t been trained properly. It’s not my fault…”

This problem is removed if the company adopts a policy of insisting that all management and supervisory staff are capable of both recruiting (2nd interview) and skills training before they are promoted beyond the supervisory level. Thus, the trilogy of basic management skills are established — supervision; recruitment and selection; and training.

It is useful if the position of department trainer is created within each department, between the position of line staff and supervisor. Because the skills required to train are similar to the skills required to supervise, this gives you a chance to establish the likelihood of successful supervisory performance without having to gamble on a promotion. Departmental trainers are normally responsible for the development of training manuals, and the performance of both ongoing and ad hoc skills training.

Each manager or supervisor should be accountable for ensuring proper skills training of immediate subordinate staff. They should also oversee the training of staff farther down the pyramid. Not only does this serve to greatly increase the effectiveness of any training provided, but the involvement with subordinate development forces a constant review of the manager’s own skills, and creates an environment where training is regarded as an on-going process shared by all. It is interesting to note that in some companies, if you can’t grasp training skills at the supervisory level you go no further up the corporate ladder.

The career development of supervisory and management staff, as distinct from skills training, is beyond the resources of individual managers and should be considered an important, ongoing responsibility of senior management. Career development would normally involve outside training, cross exposure to other departments and properties, and attendance at conferences and the like. This type of development is quite expensive and should be conceived, planned and conducted with professional care.

The responsibility for training and development can be summarised simply:

‘Senior management should be responsible for the development of subordinate management and supervisors, and the department managers and their supervisors should be responsible for the skills training of their own staff.’