Monday, March 23, 2009

Employee training in the news: The good, the bad and the ugly

There have been some interesting stories in the news covering employee training issues in the past weeks. Some are good, some are bad, while others are downright ugly. Here’s a rundown of a few of the top stories:

The good

Just to be nice, we’ll give you the good news first, in the form of some good advice from Keith McFarland at BusinessWeek. In his opinion, too many companies are complaining that their teams don’t have the skills to deal with the problems created by the economic downturn. “But instead of complaining, what management really needs to do right now is put less emphasis on getting the “right people” and more on getting the “people right,”” he says.

Getting the “people right” involves having managers sit down with their employees to talk about what the company could do to help each person develop their skills. Managers should put together a development plan for each employee including training and measurable objectives for each employee to achieve.

The bad

In this case, we’re talking about “bad” employee training as in the cool kind of bad. Like how Assurant Employee Benefits, a Kansas City-based benefits carrier, has improved training engagement by using a series of training video games.

Marcelo Vegara, Assurant’s video training game developer, says the games deliver information “in a way that's going to stick with people. It's active learning, not a sit-back-and-snooze kind of environment."

Since adding the games into their training mix, Assurant has found increased employee engagement, outstanding participation results and improved training retention. That goes down as some “bad” training in our books.

The ugly

Let's make that really ugly. A man in the Chicago area recently answered a newspaper ad for a job in the auto industry that claimed to pay a “generous salary” during training, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. After being hired on the spot, the man was told he had to pay $629 for training materials, a fee he would get back after a 90-day probationary period.

The man was fired after two weeks, received a meager compensation for his work, and wanted his training money back. The problem is that the money he spent on training supplies went to an outside training industry that refused to refund his money, but would provide him with “lifetime placement assistance” for another auto job if he wanted. He doesn’t want their help and is still fighting for that refund.

There they are, the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of employee training. Let’s hope this week holds a lot more good and the good kind of “bad” employee training that we love to see going on.

No comments:

Brought to you by