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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Training to the Rescue

The Emergency Room is about to get some communication training.

The docs met with the “communication expert” the other day who is a social working, behavioral health RN (who I am sure has not practiced in years).

Can I just say one more time that we need business experience if we're going to be taken seriously? Yes, HR isn't specifically mentioned, but yhis is undoubtedly something HR has a hand in. I think it illustrates why so many people think HR is worthless. We run in and announce we're going to fix a communication problem without understanding what "problems" really exist. It's not like people don't know how to talk to each other.

And maybe the ER is really having a true communication breakdown. It may truly be causing the problems. The staff, however, doesn't think so. (Or at least our writer doesn't think so.) He states:
We don’t need communication classes, we need “What makes sense to run an ER safely and efficiently” classes!

And I can hear a communal HR clucking of tongues saying, "well, if you could communicate with each other more clearly, you would be more safe and efficient." Maybe so, but they aren't going to listen to anything the trainer says. Why? Because the trainer has no credibility, the trainees don't think there is a problem, and the course hasn't been designed based on the perceived needs of the department.

I realize that is a lot harder than pulling a "communication" class out of our HR bag of tricks, but it would also make it worth everyone's time.


HR Godess said...

I changed jobs almost 2 years ago. I left a company that I still liked for the challenge of what I thought this company would bring. We have a communication issue and it's a big one. Most of the managers don't get along and the whole staff knows it. They won't speak to each other and go out of their way to make the other look bad (or try to).

I've tried training, counseling, coaching, everything and no one will budge. The bigger problem is that this sets the example for the rest of the staff.

I cannot stress enough that, if you are a manager, you must lead by example. Yes, I know it's not easy to take hits and no one wants to look bad. I have walked away from many conversations without saying a word when being attacked. Was it easy? Not at all. Was it worth it? I think so because I practice what I preach. And if I slip up, I apologize, in front of others if that's how the slip up occurred.

It really is as simple as I stated. Treat others as you wish to be treated and things really do get better. It's not just about communicating, it's about how you're communicating. People tend to forget that.

Unknown said...

I don't think all HR departments are worthless. However, I have had experiences where someone wants to employ people. I apply for a job. Nothing happens.

Then I have a 3rd party let me meet my new boss. He hires me. Then he contacts HR to do the paperwork.

Why didn't HR call me when I was clearly the perfect person for the job? Why did we have to circumvent HR? I don't know.

They were good about the paperwork, but they did NOT hire me which is what I thought they were supposed to do.

In other places, HR _did_ call me and they made me feel very welcome. It depends upon the HR person, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Hello, first time commenting here but have been reading your blog for quite sometime now.

I was a HR executive too for 4ys for a big company based out of India and have to sadly agree to what you said here - we need business experience if we are to be taken seriously!

And I have seen many people rolling their eyes too when importance of HR is stressed in today's challenging world; like it is something totally worthless and not worth investing on.

G Neil said...

Thanks for this post today. Training will only succeed when there is true problem to be fixed. Employees must believe that problem exists or the training will fail miserably. It will look like a bunch of high school kids, in a class they all hate, complaining about why they have to be there.

Anonymous said...

I've debated with myself as to whether or not to make this observation after reading the latest "Carnival". This post gives the perfect opportunity to do so. In my humble opinion the things highlighted in this Carnival are precisely the kind of things that make people and Management roll their eyes at HR. Business experience is less needed than an in depth understanding of business in general and your business in particular. Actual business experience is certainly a plus, but you can educate yourself in business basics and practice by study and talking to people. In my experience the vast majority of HR people can't read the company financials, have little real knowledge of the products or processes, know nothing of sales or marketing, etc. Leave social engineering to the sociologists and learn these things. HR people are supposed to help the company make a profit....that's what the company is in existence to do. If you can't help with this, you're never going to be taken seriously. Get out of the office and talk to people. As far as training goes, training programs need to be generated/developed in close association with the dept. that's going to be receiving the training, otherwise it will be listened to, but will accomplish nothing.

Now you all can tell me what a dinosaur I am.

Mike Doughty

Anonymous said...

In education, there is the concept of the "teachable moment." An extension of "when the student is ready, the teacher appears." But yeah. The company is the consumer of HR services. It is wisest to give the customer what they want, rather than what the supplier thinks they ought to have.

Infamous HR Guy said...

Nice blog, it's a problem with all companies. It irks me when I meet someone in HR and when asked about their business they shrug their shoulders.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Evil. Let me add something else that will happen. After the communication session, success will be measured by responses to questions on a form distributed at the training. It will ask questions about irrelevant things, such as the temperature in the room or the quality of lunch. It will ask whether the trainer was prepared and whether he or she was "knowledgeable."

There will be no post-training support to help trainees apply lessons on the job. There will be no evaluation of the effectiveness based on changes in behavior or performance.

Evil HR Lady said...


You are so right. And because the temperature was good and the trainer was "knowledgeable" they'll get high scores and everyone in the training group will be happy. Bah!