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How to Manage an Understaffed Training Department

Posted by Langevin Team on 7/22/13 4:00 AM
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I am sure we are all tired of hearing about the recent global financial crisis, depression, or whatever you want to call it. I’m also sure that many of us have been personally impacted in some way. Many people lost their training jobs or had their wages frozen. Training managers saw budgets slashed and were not able to fill new or replacement positions.


All of these issues have caused us to face one of the biggest challenges in our training departments which bring to life the famous phrase, “Doing more with less.” How do we accomplish all the critical objectives that have been identified for us, with a reduced staff? The next three paragraphs will provide a few useful tips on doing more with less.

One of the biggest reasons people do not perform adequately in their jobs is due to a lack of clear and concise standards. I see this problem occurring all the time. As training managers we need to write out all of our employees’ job standards, and most importantly, communicate these standards to our staff. People need clear direction from their leaders as to what is expected from them, and the consequences of not meeting these standards. Consequences are one of the most efficient means of impacting behavior.


Appropriate motivational techniques can also provide the stimulus for people to “rally” together and get a job done. Ask your staff to share what motivates them and then work very diligently to meet their individualized needs. Employees are much more engaged when they work with a boss who is looking out for their best interests.


From an external perspective, I always suggest tapping into community colleges for free labor. Community colleges are called “community” for a reason. Developing a strong relationship with your local colleges or universities can be a super win-win opportunity. I am sure there are more outreach-type organizations that you could rely on for free, or almost free, labor without any hiring obligations that permanent employees require. Internships are an excellent way to accomplish this.

Do you have any other resources or suggestions to add?

I know times are challenging, and this current work situation could very well be the new norm. All you can do is try your best, and stay positive and motivated as a leader!

Topics: managing training, training manager, tips-for-trainers

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