The benefits of staff training are increasingly being praised. Workshops, seminars, online courses, you name it – to each problem its solution and that solution usually involves investing time and money into your employee’s education.

However, much too often, the initial optimism which these trainings give rise to is swept away by an ex-post difficulty in applying what has been learned. The new skills are not practiced, the dynamic fades and we find ourselves sucked back into the status quo which had induced these training efforts in the first place. Time passes, we detect a new problem and once again, we turn to the magical powers of training for a solution.

Training is efficient in so far as it provides employees with a set of new skills, giving them the necessary keys to change their behaviour (or adopt a desired behaviour). And that’s precisely why it may fail; if the organisational environment rather than a lack of skill is at the root of the problem, even the best of workshops will yield minimal results. Overly centralised authority, failure to define individual responsibilities, inefficient communication or idle technologies: there may be a discrepancy between what the company expects from its employees and the environment which it has created for them to operate in.

So, next time you consider training as the remedy to a problem you’ve identified, take some time to introspect and challenge the environment in which your staff operates. Fixing this might be much more effective than staff training.

For more on this, read Mr. Ron Carucci’s article.

 We are the sports practice of global advisory firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe. We provide strategy and communication advice for sport clients around the world. For more information: