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The Huge Disconnect

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the huge disconnectWhat is the job of a manager? This is not an easy question, and there are a number of possible answers. The talent management approach suggests that the job of the manager is to hire, develop, engage, and retain talented people. This makes a lot of sense—if you hire, develop, engage, and retain talented people, aren't you pretty much guaranteed to get good business results? Quality and Compliance?

When I teach managing trainers and assessors, I ask people to decide the extent to which they think managers should be held accountable for hiring, developing, engaging, and retaining talented people. Most people suggest pretty large numbers: 70 percent, 80 percent, and sometimes even 100 percent. Almost everyone agrees that the threshold should be more than 50 percent—in other words, such accountability should be the most important part of a manager's job.

Here's the problem: In most organisations, including RTOs, we do tell our managers that hiring, developing, engaging, and retaining people is important. But the same people who say that managers should be held accountable for these four talent practices between 50 and 100 percent report that managers are actually held accountable for them anywhere from 0 to 10 percent.

That's a pretty big disconnect. Most people believe managers should be held accountable to a great extent for hiring, developing, engaging, and retaining, but in practice we barely hold them accountable for these functions. Why is this?

Measurement is the biggest problem. Measuring a manager's ability to hire, develop, and engage talented people is hard (measuring retention is easy). However, measuring traditional business measures—sales, revenue, profit, productivity, and quality—is much easier. While the traditional business measures are important, they are lagging indicators. They tell us what has already happened. If we could accurately measure our managers' ability to hire, develop, and engage talented trainers and assessors, we would have leading indicators to help predict future results and course correct if we are not on target.

Measuring a manager's ability to hire, develop, and engage talented people is difficult—but it's not impossible. If we could do a better job of measurement, we could do a better job of accountability. And if we start holding managers accountable, we are much more likely to get the talent results we want.

This concept is so important that we have created some principles to manage the professional development of trainers and assessors to support RTOs' managers.

What are the domains where trainers and assessors should continuously develop their skills, knowledge and experience? Is there a framework that can be used to manage all trainers and assessors? How can we use trainers' development, and what is more important, the relevance of trainers' development for the training they are delivering, and the benefits for the RTO and the RTO's students?
I will provide insights to the above in our next edition of VET Insider.

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