Why Isn’t Training Enough?

People-development converts payroll costs to asset-investment

2015-10-20 12.22.59 (2)Post 1 of 3 Gwen plopped down in her chair, placed both her fists on her desk, and took a deep breath. Justin knew that was her frustrated posture, but he wasn’t sure about interrupting. As a new supervisor with her first leadership responsibility, Gwen displayed self-reliance, but Justin suspected she might not have as much as confidence as she portrayed; at least not enough to accept input from others comfortably. She now led a team of her former peers; knowing that to be a challenge, he tried to assume good will about her behavior.

He decided not to directly address her mood. He waited about ten minutes and stopped on his way by her desk to ‘casually’ ask how her day was going. The strategy worked, and she started to open up.

“I just can’t seem to get why Sandy continues to have challenges with her customers. She has been through the training on the new level I assigned her three times. But every time she hits the slightest snag, she can’t seem to think on her own.”

“Gwen, that new level is not part of my group’s responsibility, can you tell me a little about the training they are receiving for that?”

“Sure, it is a self-paced, voice-over training with good screenshots on the processes. It even has a good content overview with links to go back later and review if you need a quick detail. Honestly, Justin, it is exactly the kind of virtual training we, as tenured front-line agents, have asked for repeatedly: it has all the facts and none of the fluff. That’s why I don’t get what she is missing.”

“I don’t think I know Sandy. Has she been here long?”

“Long enough to have make excellent scores on the first customer level. I thought she was ready for this.”  Gwen was genuinely questioning her own instinct about Sandy’s skills.

“Do you mind sending me the training? It would give me a quick overview of the new level, and I might see something that could help with your mystery.”

Gwen sent the training, and Justin’s quick overview confirmed his suspicion. Sandy’s earlier great results were with the most basic of accounts; they had minimal options and didn’t vary from standard procedure. To make judgement calls on the new, more complex level, she had to understand more of the back-office realities – not just standard practices.  She needed to develop an understanding of process history, of regulatory basics, and of the benefits the company expected from these customer relationships.

Reality: Using the term ‘training’ as a catch-all phrase for learning can be a misleading habit. Cultures that create distinction between training [as learning how to do a task correctly] and development [as learning how to do the task when the prescribed ways are weak] can offer powerful learning advantages to employees. This cultural distinction often drives faster, stronger results for the business.

FOLLOW US & don’t miss the next PEPPERBOX blog:  See if Justin can help Gwen understand Sandy’s need for more than just training.

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