Why Selectively Training Your Employees is Bad, Really Bad

A while ago, I had to participate in training for my job. A very good training, and mandatory for all people in similar function.

Before the course, we all received a test in that domain. Not bragging or anything like that, but I had the top score, with about 60% of my answers right. OK, I clearly had more to learn.

I was able to do best in the test because of my many years of experience and various exposure to many technical areas, from which I learned a lot, indirectly, about that domain, although that domain was never my primary target in my career. I call that residual learning.

The course was amazing, I also was able to systematically go though many topics I was never exposed to through my career.

After the training, we received another test, and this time I got top score, again, with 90-95% of the correct answers, while the minimum score of anyone in that group, for the final test was above my initial top-score of 60%.

Clearly, we all learned a lot, and I am very grateful for having everyone go through this training.

At that time, I learned to understand the value of continuously training for your job, and what a difference it makes to keep yourself knowledgeable through training.

Think about this, my years of experience mean almost nothing, when compared with the short, focused training of a great teacher. Everyone trained in my group was able to surpass what I indirectly learned in my two decades of exposure to IT.

But that residual knowledge, does not stop at that particular domain. There are many other areas in which one will be able to perform better, and more importantly, make better decisions, based on their experience.

And a company lives and dies based on the good decisions of their employees, so when we selectively train employees, regardless of how we select those employees for training, we end up making a great disservice to the ability of the company to make great decisions, because all that residual learning of some of the employees is shadowed by the selective education of other employees.

Those untrained employees will see loss of respect, because their respect depends on their ability to intelligently debate in decisions, for which they will be at great disadvantage, and untrained employees will not be able to contribute to the company in the right direction, and will be forced to passively watch more failures than otherwise of the company, and will become silent, and disgruntled, and in time will just work for the great paycheck or leave.

The company that selectively trains their workforce losses many times. They actively silence some employees, reduce diversity of thought, decreases productivity and employee engagement, and pushes many away, in complacent or outside of the company.