Wole Osunmakinde

Polymath Training and Development Facilitator/Consultant, Philomath Writer, Leadership Expert, Performance Coach



All forms of Staff/Workforce Development programmes ought to trail the path purpose and planning, especially Training and Learning Development. Over the years, I have observed how the HR Managers and Learning & Development Managers often leave the matters of Workforce Training in the hands of training vendors, subordinates and circumstances.

In many cases, members of staff are given the freedom to indiscriminately choose the training of their choices. To make it worse, many organizations have neither interests nor concrete plans for staff training.

The missing link in most cases is lack of a Purpose Driven Staff Development strategy. Organizations do not drive themselves, people do. I am always amused, and sometimes amazed, when I see how the leadership of some organizations assume that theirs have achieved a standing success and the organizations can run almost on autopilot and therefore do not place premium on staff Training and Development.

I think this value system is one big reason organizations significantly do not last more than a generation or two in this side of the world. What they fail to understand is that Purpose Driven Staff Training is both about now and then. Besides, they have no idea what potential growth and span they are forfeiting by compromising on Workforce Training. According to ASTD reports, Workforce Training can increase productivity by 120%!

The question I always ask the leaders of organizations in my seminars is: If you could pay an employee N3,000,000 p/a to assume a role in your organization, how is it that you find it difficult to pay  N100,000 for a premium training that will enhance his performance on the same role remarkably? The answer is simple: We do not really understand the ‘super power’ of a well implemented Purpose Driven Training plan.

In this presentation, we are looking at 10 Principles/Ideals of Purpose Driven Training. I believe this will be something worthwhile for HRs, HRMs, HRBPs, Talent Managers and of course, L&D Managers/Officers. It will help you to restructure and reorganize your Trainings for all round uplift, upturn and upscale of your organizational essence now and then. You will discover and begin deploy the unlimited powers and potentials in a well integrated and well executed Purpose Driven Training Development.   

  • On-boarding Training
  • I did not know much about On-boarding Training until I worked for two giant pharmaceutical companies namely Glaxosmithkline (WWCVL) and May & Baker. These two organizations would welcome you in with elaborate On-boarding sessions. The big picture is to set the tone and the tune for the new comer.
  • The incoming staff will learn the vision, the values and the vast of the new place. This will showcase the history, the present and the future plans of the organization. He or she meets all the key members of the staff, the direct colleagues and others that may be of interest to the new post. A sense of belonging is activated. The culture is cascaded.
  • The general policies, processes and procedures running in the organization are presented to the incoming staff in the first, while the divisional and departmental one follow. Sessions are also presented to coach on the functions of the position being newly manned. Other modules such as Teamwork, Workplace Efficiency, Business Communication, HSE, etc may be included. All questions are answered. All doubts are cleared.
  • It is highly unprofessional to hire someone today and send him/her into the office, field or factory the next day. Many things will definitely go wrong. An elaborate On-bearding is very much important and necessary.

  • Skill Set Trainings
  • It takes skills to function at every level in an organization – from the gatehouse to the boardroom. The Skill Set Trainings basically cover two areas: One is to make up or build up for skill deficiencies in an identified position or staff. The other is gear up the already acquired skills for more efficiency. The performance or result outlook vis-à-vis the functional expectations of each job holder must be professional evaluated without sentiments. Here, a well composed multi-layer appraisal may be used as inference. As far as individual skills are concerned in the workforce, mountains must be leveled and valleys must be filled. And to achieve these, the most appropriate Skill Set Training must be scheduled for the workforce accordingly and not just anything the vendors bring in or put in put in their training calendars.   

  • Training for Contingencies
  • In modern Strategic Management, nothing is left to chance. Being proactive rather than reactive is the key to winning in this business era. So less can be more and the small can eat the big because the battle is won many times before it begins. This is where Contingency Training of some carefully selected staff comes in.
  • We have this propensity for initiating things only when the emergencies set in. One, the best is not always available then and two, it may be costly. We can always use the less of energy, resources and time to initiate things under contingencies and not allow them to become emergencies. Training for Contingencies is rather smarter.
  • For example, many companies and countries are already training and repositioning for the use of clean energy while many are still stocked in the use of the dirty energy especially the crude oil. The contingency of eventual obsolesce of the crude is staring at us from afar.
  •  At the organization or industry level, all we need to be on top of contingencies is to study the trends and the possible ends, then position or reposition for it ahead with Trainings for Contingencies.

  • Training for Emergencies
  • Sometimes the unaddressed contingencies turn out to emergencies but at other times, emergencies arrive unforeseen and unprecedented. So we quickly handle it as it comes. A classic example is the COVID 19 pandemic that is now plaguing humanity. All kinds of Emergency Trainings are going on almost everywhere in the world - medical, paramedical, technical, etc. Business emergencies could be an internal issue such an exit of an iconic staff, or an external issue such as threats from competitors. We just have to learn to man up our concerned workforce to face the emergencies through required trainings. It always baffles me when I see some HRMs or Talent Managers detailing their staff to handle organizational or business emergencies without supporting them with appropriate Emergency Training. It is very much like sending a soldier to battle without training him for combat at least. It is simply suicide mission.

  • Strategic Trainings
  • A viable organisational strategic planning ideally should have at least 4 elements–Source/Resource, Success Factors, Sustenance keys, Succession.  
  • These four elements, no matter how brilliantly crafted will remain on paper unless they are interpreted, integrated and interplayed by people – workforce whose talents and potentials are well groomed for it all. This may be hard work for the HR, talent Manager or the L&D Manager but it must be meticulously developed. We just have to be highly strategic. For example, the issues of succession in the five sphere of influence – Government, Religion, Economy, Philosophy and Humanity – have been of much challenges and upsets in Africa. You know why? It is lack of Strategic Trainings.

  • Trainings to Update
  • I got so much exposed to Trainings to Update when I was in May & Baker. Each time a new product was about to be launched, we would be summoned. We would be trained to handle almost everything about the new product. No stone was left unturned as far as the new product is concerned – Product knowledge, Marketing, Competition, Product logistics, Branding, Presentations, Feedback, FAQs, etc. I clearly remember how we used to return to our business territories after those training like ‘lions’ and get results.
  • Yours may not be for products update; it could be for change in organizational policies or industry climate. I know many organizations that actually set up a Business Intelligence Unit to monitor updates in their specific industries and the general business environment to report and make recommendations to the management. And that is usually followed by update trainings or special briefs. It is the way to get ahead and stay ahead.

  • Training to Train Others
  • This Purpose Driven Training option is for both results and cost management especially in highly technical trainings. A lot of times, it is not necessary to put all the staff members on a particular very expensive training. Rather than sending all the concerned staff to all the technical trainings, you can send one or two to the technical trainings you dim necessary and thereafter schedule them to detail other concerned staff.
  • I sold this idea to a firm I consulted for and that saved the firm a lot of recourses while the results were remarkable. Drawing from their training exposures and on the job experiences, each of those staff members now conducts in-house trainings for the new comers in the firm. All you need to do is to create a workable plan and flexible a schedule of who to go for what.  

  • Statutory Trainings
  • These are trainings relating to official regulations, laws, rules and policies. They are mostly classified and compulsory. So, they should be a matter of priority as you plan for the general staff training. Some of them are conducted by the regulatory authorities or the oversight MDAs while others are done by licensed bodies.
  • All we need here as L&D professionals/HRMs/Talent Managers is to ensure compliance with respect to the concerned members of staff. This is only achieved if you are in constant touch with the concerned authorities and institutions. Otherwise, they’ll come looking for you and that is never a good position to be.
  • You can also subscribe to Statutory Trainings at the organisational level to elevate your organizational outlook and profile. A good example is the ISO certifications.

  • Customized Trainings
  • I want to state it again: You don’t have to always consider the training modules and schedules presented or offered by the training vendors. A lot of times, we need to deliberately request for L&D modules that meet both the intellectual and professional needs of your staff members.
  • Your primary objective should be maximizing Potentials, Productivity and Performance of your workforce at both the group and individual levels. And to achieve this, you need to continuously monitor and appraise your workforce in order to draw tangible inferences that will inform your choice of trainings for each member of your staff from the gatehouse to the boardroom. A professionally conducted training needs analysis should also come in here.
  • In other words, trainings are now not subscribed to just because they look good but rather because they are specially designed to bridge the gaps, fill the valleys and level the mountains within the organisation. Hence, trainings become customized – not ‘ready-made’ but specially ‘cut and sown’ for your esteemed workforce.

  • Off-Boarding Trainings
  • This is unpopular and considered unnecessary in many quarters. I think it is good and necessary specifically for your staff member going into retirement to have it. I have been startled over and over about our attitudes towards this especially in this side of the globe. One, we forget that we will all retire someday and two, we feel we owe no other obligations to our ex-staff especially when we have settled all the retirement benefits. Wrong!  
  • I once proposed a pre-retirement seminar for the retiring staff members of one firm I consulted for. They told me they could not accommodate the token fee for the training because much will be spent on the retirement party. And that was it. What a value system!?
  • However, the amount of energy, joy and appreciation radiating from the participants gives me so much ecstasy each time we conduct either pre or post retirement seminars, apart from remarkable fits some of the retirees achieve thereafter through the use of information they received.
  • Besides, these ex-staff members had served your organizations well and they remain your ambassadors whether you admit or not. They can still do a lot to influence your organizational outlook positively or otherwise.
  • In my humble opinion, I suggest you include an Off-Boarding Training in the retirement benefit plans and policies of your noble organization.

We have much to do when it comes to having a Purpose Driven Training regime for our organizations. I hereby suggest these few steps:

  • Start the process anyway. Do not wait for the convenient time. Convenience kills commitment.  
  • Adopt the philosophy of continuous improvement. Continue to tune and fine-tune it.
  • Harmonize all the 10 Purpose Driven Training principles. Contextualize them.
  • Seek for professional help. Consult with the gurus. Hire competent hands.
  • View, Review and Overview. Leave nothing to chance.


All aspects of business leadership require meticulous concentration and consecration. Training and Development is no exception. We can make it less burdensome, more interesting and highly effective at the optimum cost. You can upturn, upscale and upgrade everyone on your staff list – from the gatehouse to the boardroom – by a well structured Purpose Driven Training Development blueprint.