Dear Workforce Why Won’t My Team Members Help With Training?

By Staff Report

May. 28, 2010

Dear Enabler:

I suspect that your staff members have become disengaged and that you have allowed this uncooperative culture to develop over some considerable time. Take a big-picture view and ask yourself what it is you do on a daily/weekly basis to engage your employees—how you cultivate a team-based approach to work. For example:

• Do you set challenging department goals that are mutually agreed upon with your staff?

• Do you devise goals that require collaboration for success, or only individual goals?

• Do you track and report progress on your department’s/team’s goals?

• Do you meet weekly in a team meeting with all of your staff to share ideas and update progress?

• Do you meet with each of your staff members weekly for a one-on-one “What Is Going On” meeting to discuss individual concerns and progress?

• Do you show a personal interest in each and every staff member? Do you practice “management by walking around”?

• Do you provide both positive and negative feedback on a regular basis?

• Do you reward positive behavior and team achievements?

• Do you confront poor behavior in a non-emotive and direct way? (Or do you blow up?)

• Are you open to criticism without becoming defensive? Do you actively seek feedback from others?

• Do you compliment existing employees by asking them to buddy with or mentor new recruits?

Apply these ideas to improve your situation
Start by clearly articulating the benefits derived in training other employees. Benefits to your department may include shorter lag time to productive output for new recruits. Benefits to team members may be increased respect from peers and new recruits. Once you have articulated the benefits, call a special meeting to discuss your new direction. You now have a base from which to work.

Second, find out why staff members do not want to train others. Find the real reasons, not just the presenting reasons. You can do that at your regular weekly one-on-one meetings with each of your direct reports. Find out the roadblocks and remove them. It may be that they are under-resourced or feel unappreciated. Whatever the reasons, fix them.

Third, reward those who act on their responsibilities and discipline those who do not. Their behaviors will not change if there are no or inconsequential outcomes. Perhaps set up a “trainer of the month” award or give the best trainers some time off. The rewards do not need to be financial to be effective. For those who continue to refuse even after the roadblocks have been removed, start them on your company’s disciplinary process. Ignoring obstructers will only serve to demoralize those who are putting in the effort.

I have touched on some of the questions raised in the above list. Now go through the remainder and fill out further how you can more actively engage your staff in carrying out their responsibilities.

SOURCE: Leslie Allan, managing director, Business Performance Pty Ltd., Melbourne, Australia, April 30, 2010

LEARN MORE: Wanting managers to mentor isn’t enough. They must have a desire to help others through coaching.

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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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