Ever feel as if there are no boundaries to your company’s expectations of the training department? That everyone and anyone is knocking at your door to get training? Then it may be time for you to document a mission statement and objectives. Most important, a mission statement expresses the reason for the training department’s existence. It describes what your training department will and will not do and provides a focus for your team’s direction. Let’s get started by looking at how to create your mission statement and objectives.

What is your department’s role?
If the department doesn’t have much structure at this point, you may need to have the training team meet with management first to outline the overall role of the training department. Questions to consider include:

  1. What do we expect training to accomplish?
  2. Who are we responsible for training?
  3. What is expected of the training department?
  4. What responsibility do employees and their supervisors have for their own training?
  5. How will the effectiveness of training be measured?

Creating the mission statement
Once you have determined the role of training, you are ready to create your department’s mission statement. The mission statement must answer three questions:

  • What is the basic service you are providing?
  • What is the market being served?
  • Which functions are to be performed?

Take a look at the following example:

The mission of the Professional Services Training Department is to support ABC Corporation’s goals and improve our clients’ satisfaction by providing high-quality product training programs for our internal consultants and trainers.

The components of this mission statement would be:

  • Basic service: Product training programs
  • Market being served: Internal consultants and trainers
  • Functions performed: Improve client satisfaction and support the organization’s goals

It’s that easy! Keep in mind that your department’s mission statement should parallel the company’s overall mission statement as much as possible. Now try your hand at constructing your own statement.

Setting objectives
Now that you have WHAT you want to achieve documented, let’s look at HOW you are going to achieve it. Objectives tell others in the organization how you see your future. When you list your objectives, keep in mind that they must be:

  • Quantifiable
  • Rational
  • Observable

Also, each objective must contain a specific target and the time frame in which this goal is to be achieved. Take a look at this sample objective:

Design and deliver employee customer service training to all cashiers in the organization within the next year.

  • The target would be customer service training to all cashiers
  • The time frame would be within the next year

Like the mission statement, objectives must also parallel the organization’s objectives. How would you find out exactly what the company’s objectives are? You may be able to find the long-term goals in your company’s employee handbook—you know, the mega-size binder many companies keep on the high shelf with an inch of dust on it. To gain insight on short-term goals, you may need to speak one-on-one to someone who handles the strategic direction of the company. If your company is public, the most recent annual report may be a good source as well.

To effectively parallel your company’s objectives, take a look at them one by one. As an example, let’s say one of the short-term objectives of ABC Corporation is:

To acquire DEF Corporation within the next 6 months

The short-term training objective could be something like:

Design an employee orientation program for transferred employees within the next 6 months.

Not only do documented mission statements and objectives help focus the training department, they are helpful to have when a company goes through a re-organization. New management will have the documentation it needs to evaluate the training department’s strategy. Management must know exactly what the training department does and where you see it going in order to help your team reach its goals—especially when it comes to approving budgets and expenses.

What’s next?
The final step in this process is to arrange your objectives into a reference guide—a Training Department Policy manual. Next week, we’ll look at how to prioritize and list this information into an effective document that will help your team reach its goals and let others in the company know just what those goals are.
If you have any suggestions for creating a mission statement or objectives, please let us know by posting your comments at the bottom of this page. We’d like to hear from you!

Susanne E. Krivanek is a training coordinator/analyst for Systems & Computer Technology Corp. , Education Solutions Division, who specializes in the development of software product training and certification programs. She has a training background in brokerage software, office applications, and business entrepreneurship, and she speaks on maximizing training effectiveness.