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Have you seen the Mission Impossible movies? Tom Cruise’s mission, should he choose to accept it, is usually quite dangerous. Just like those movies, corporations have missions, too. While many focus on making money for owners, stockholders, and employees, many companies also have mission statements that go beyond revenue gain. For example, mission statements might include being environmentally friendly, being a community partner, or assisting employees in securing a better retirement income.
Training departments should also have mission statements. In our Successful Training Manager workshop, we teach training managers how to incorporate a department mission statement into their strategic planning. A top-notch mission statement should align directly with the corporate mission statement. Our goal in training should be to train employees to work towards achieving the corporation’s goals.
So, how do we write a mission statement? There are three components of a well-written mission statement. First, it must tell everyone what we do. Second, it should explain why we do it, and third, who we do it for. Often, we assume everyone outside of our training group knows what we do, but that’s not always the case.
Here are three key reasons your training department should have a mission statement:
Your mission statement gives people outside of your department an idea of what you do and it also gives your training staff a purpose and a goal behind what they do every day.
Focus is important because people outside of training expect us to be doing more than we can do. For example, just about every trainer I know tells me their business leaders ask them to train people who are not performing up to company expectations. Training is designed to teach people new tasks they need to know how to do in their current position. Managers are the ones who need to motivate and coach employees to increase their performance level.
When you have a clear mission statement, it allows you to write training department policies that are in alignment and helps eliminate unnecessary distractions.
Policies for the training department are important for the people who interact with us and for our own staff to interact correctly with others. People outside of the training function often ask our staff to provide services that really do not come under the training function. For example, we are often asked to provide documentation and communication type services. Our staff are not here to write memos or standard operating procedures. If we have policies in place for what we do and don’t do, then we can provide services that are truly aligned with training and nothing more.
An aligned mission statement allows you to connect your department’s training goals and objectives to the company goals and mission statement, resulting in the instructional design and delivery of relevant courses. Offering relevant courses will help validate your training department’s existence.
Alignment is the key word here. Sometimes training managers might think that more is best when it comes to their training curriculum. Let’s offer the most training courses possible so we can justify our existence and prove our value. This may be true, but this way of thinking can also be to your detriment. For example, if you have courses that do not align with business goals then you might be viewed as offering “fluff” courses versus ones that help the bottom-line goals of the organization. Quality courses are ones that align with business goals because no executive will argue with their own goals!
Now that you’ve created a mission statement for your department, post it on your LMS and in your training rooms. Include it in your email signature and put it in your training materials. Let everyone know how good you are!
How has your training department benefited by having a mission statement? Or, what struggles have you experienced because your department doesn’t have a mission statement? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This article was first published October 10, 2016.