Why aren’t trainers better paid?

Demir at the SAP blog at techtarget.com (here) wonders whether trainer pay should be higher (here).  I think he has the importance of training and development, but I’m not sure that higher comp is coming any time soon.   Comments on his post (some edits for space) below:

SAP trainers don’t make as much money as implementation consultants…is this a logical state of affairs?  [S]tudies … isolated training as either the most important or one of the two most important (along with preparation) factors in the success of an ERP implementation. If so, it stands to reason that at least some ERP failures are due to companies’ failures to dedicate the necessary resources to training.

Agree with this as far as it goes, skimping on training is a common failure mode for projects…

It also stands to reason that more people — whether employees inside SAP-adopting companies or professional services providers — could stand to hone their training skills in order to mitigate the risk of ERP failure.

Is it that firms aren’t upskilling trainers or subsituting lower-skilled, cheaper trainers to save money?  That doesn’t conform to our experience.  Most often we see that troubled training approaches have:

  • Focused only on transactional training, not on the business context (e.g., “school solution” exercises, not company or industry-specific scenarios). 
  • Skimped on training because of the opportunity costs of pulling trainees “from the business.”
  • Sent second-line staff to training (because the opportunity costs of the previous bullet).
  • Not held attendees accountable for learning outcomes — training became a “mini-vacation.”
  • Reinforced the message that “training isn’t important” by not having management attend or attending but clearly be disinterested.

If training is as pivotal to a successful ERP implementation as the academic studies say it is, it may only be a matter of time before SAP trainers get more respect…and more money.

Per our experience above, I’m not sure this is happening anytime soon.  The drivers of training success aren’t often in the trainer’s hands.  Besides, implementation and functional people are around at the moments of truth: go-live and support.  They’ll have to live with the consequences of bad design, config, or coding.  The trainers are long gone.


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