Are You Training Too Late?

Pointless Training Cover In most companies training to prevent workplace harassment occurs as a preventative measure to reduce incidents, and to reduce liability to lawsuits when harassment does happen. In my state of California, we legislated to require companies to train all employees, and even went as far as requiring managers to take a 2-hour minimum training every two years in this topic.

It is sad that we had to make it a law, but too many organizations where not taking the problem seriously enough to train employees to prevent a problem. The state had to make it a law with penalties for not training to motivate employers. But just because it is a law doesn’t mean that management still doesn’t skip training.

What really gets under my skin is the company that will wait to see if a harassment complaint comes forward before they train. Is that too late to train? My answer would be yes to prevent this current issue, but no if you want to prevent future ones from popping up.

But what do you say when the management team is wrestling with several charges of harassment for different reasons with the same employee complaining to everyone and it appears the management team is clueless about what all the fuss is about. Then when the EEOC and the State employment departments get involved the management team starts to take notice. The HR Director signs everyone up for workplace harassment training and updates the policy to create awareness. Too Little, Too Late?

There are three reasons to conduct any kind of training:

  1. To build missing skills needed to perform the job function
  2. To refresh skills once learned and yet forgotten with a lack of use
  3. And to reinforce awareness of required behaviors

If you ask most managers if it okay to harass employees they are going to say no. These same managers probably have a good idea of what to do if an employee makes a complaint. Yet putting everyone through the same training at the same time creates discussions and longer retention. This is why harassment training is taught every 1-2 years.

When it comes to preventing workplace harassment all three reasons are used. A new manager must learn their new responsibilities. Training every 1-2 years keeps awareness fresh. And when someone messes up, part of their corrective action should be another round of training.

My preference is that you train on a schedule. Training some topics after a problem occurs is a reason to review the learning process because something slipped through the crack on the first round in the actual learning process.

But only training when the bottom falls out is a symptom of incompetency. Who is in charge of your training function, HR or a Training Director? If they wait too late to train, then they are incompetent. If they are incompetent you need to cover your flank because the enemy will win the war.  #trainingphysical, #pointlesstraining