Having been in the learning profession for 25 years now, I’ve always thought most people learn best in a classroom setting because they want to improve themselves in order to improve the results of their organizations. Yet I have also run across a fair amount of management that is so blind to a problem they don’t get it until the gavel comes down in a courtroom decision.
Wage & Hour laws in this country are pretty cut and dry, and with the increase of part-time and hourly workers in the past 6 years I believe these laws are even more important as protections. Yet even with this many rules being dictated toward organizations, it doesn’t prevent countless violations and fraud to avoid them. And the biggest problem child is not the violating manager it is the internal enforcer – Human Resources.
Yes, the department that is out to protect employees, is often the one that sits in the office waiting until someone tells them there is a problem. Then they fly around “investigating” what has happened, and then terminate employees or wag their fingers not to do this again. Once the fire is out, they run back to their office and wait until the alarm is set off again. When offered help to change their procedures, they will give lip service that they are currently doing just that. I say lip service because they don’t do anything differently.
But the Human Resource departments that are proactive, training policy and monitoring activities are the stars of their organizations. Often unrecognized for their efforts, they prevent forest fires instead of fighting fires. They keep problems from escalating and losing good employees and keep their company out of the courtroom. These are the unsung heroes that we need to applaud.
Talking with an employment law attorney recently, I was surprised at how often companies need a swift kick in the checkbook to understand the severity of the problem. They try to settle for small amounts to make problems go away and forget that only this incident actually is over, that the problem still exists. Yet I would encourage you to search “class action, wage & hour” and look at all the activity that is going on in the courtrooms around the country. I especially was surprised by the big name companies that have found themselves in front of a judge and/or jury.
I’m starting to wonder whether most companies can learn in the classroom anymore, or if they only learn in the courtroom. Where do you think they learn best?