Monday, May 12, 2008

Thought for the Week - 5/12/08

Of all the things that can have an effect on your future, I believe personal growth is the greatest. We can talk about sales growth, profit growth, asset growth, but all of this probably will not happen without personal growth. - Jim Rohn

One of our associates, Lynn Lehman, wrote a white paper in which she stated that in every organization, people have to learn how to do their jobs. People are rarely hired who already have 100% of the knowledge and skills necessary to complete the work for which they will be held accountable. If nothing else, they must learn the company culture, where resources are located, and who the people are with whom they need to collaborate to be successful.

What is not universal is how companies approach employee training. These methods range from a complete lack of training (considered as a method because this is an intentional choice) all the way to spending upwards of 6.61% of profit on organizational learning.

To identify which methods your organization has adopted to train its employees, consider the following approaches:

Survival First: This is the belief that training takes too much time away from the day-to-day operations of the company, and if anyone stopped doing their job to be trained, the very survival of the company would be in jeopardy.

Sink or Swim: Usually found hand-in-hand with the Survival First approach, this is the process by which new employees, or those transferred to different positions, must discover the structures and systems to accomplish their work completely on their own.

Same Boat: This is the scenario in which the organization assigns a mentor or buddy among the employee’s peers to show the new employee the ropes.

Supervisor Shuffle: When it is left up to the supervisor to do all the training of an employee. If you have a good supervisor, then you may get the coaching and learning opportunities needed. If you have a poor supervisor, then you don’t. It’s a gamble.

Shields Up: When a company provides the training required by law (OSHA, CPR, and other safety, ertification and licensure instruction), but no more.

Senior Special: The company executives get to go to conferences, often out of state, and sometimes for several days at a time, but the organization spends absolutely no money on any other employee training. Often these company leaders see training as an opportunity for R&R (rest & relaxation), not as actual learning opportunities.

Stimulus & Response: In this situation, company leaders react to something that has happened in the rganization – usually something that is negative – and insists on putting employees through specific training classes to “fix” the problem.

Soup of the Day: This is another reactionary process, but in this one, the leadership orders employee training based on trends in the industry or business world.

Spaghetti Test: In these organizations, a variety of training sessions are designed and/or brought in. Those sessions that the employees enjoy are the ones that “stick to the refrigerator,” and are offered again.

Shotgun: These organizations often provide training on a variety of topics and for a variety of reasons (see the other approaches above). These sessions are usually selected by one individual, such as a training director or human resources manager, and are chosen based on his/her individual perspective on what is needed in the organization. The training offered may improve performance, or it may not. Either way, the results aren’t measured so it is impossible to tell.

Status Quo: There is a training program of some kind in place, and it is the same program that has been offered for a long, long time. This comes from the mindset of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” It is important to point out that many of these approaches are not necessarily bad approaches. For example, having a peer help train an employee and ensuring that the safety training required by law takes place are terrific options for an employee training program. However, it is when they are the only approaches within an organization that any positive impact is severely restricted.

Do any of these approaches to employee training sound uncomfortably familiar?

Can you see one or more of these methods in action today in your company?

If so, please share your experiences with us ...

Keep an eye out later this week for more on professional development.

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