by Diane M. Hoffmann, ph.d./th.
When a new employee starting on a job gets oriented by a staff member, that’s employee training! However, be careful to making sure to delegate the training to competent and same level staff, because what will be said and done to that new individual will be either negative or positive to the company's present and future efficiency.
The worst thing I have seen is when a company hires a manager and then turns him or her over to a support staff member two or three levels below to ‘train’ and teach them about the workings of the company or department they are to manage. I’ve seen that happen with my own eyes many times. And, it seems to be happening more often to a woman manager – thrown into the ‘kittens’ den by male executives.
I remember the story of a new manager who started a marketing department in an organization. Since there had never been a marketing department before, the marketing tasks and functions were being performed by people who “filled-in” these tasks separately from their own various departments.
The company had several dealers across Canada who obtained all their product literature and brochures from this head office. The dealer orders for brochures had been split up into a multitude of responsibilities that were handled by various people. One kept tract of the inventory, another purchases and another production, etc. The task of actually filling in an order and keeping an inventory of the stock had been given to the receptionist.
A problem quickly became obvious as the new marketing manager took control of the efficiency of service to the dealers when they needed brochures sent to them. The dealers had been disillusioned about the delivery time of their orders. The backlog measured days, weeks and even months.
In discussing this situation with the receptionist, it became clear to the new manager that she was not going to cooperate. As suggestions for better ways to get the orders processed were given by the new manager, the receptionist’s comments were strong and negative that she would not cooperate in any way. At the time, she was being transferred to a new position in accounts payable and even spoke for her replacement to come that she "wasn’t going to want to do that either".
First of all, it was not up to the receptionist to tell management what her successor was going to have to do or not do. Second, it was certainly not up to her to interfere with the implementation of new procedures bestowed upon the new marketing person.
The even deeper problem was that this employee had not been told the level of responsibility the new marketing manager's job entailed. The receptionist’s attitude was in a time-warp of bridgeless and disconnected organization, communication and training existing throughout the organization.
Management had never trained its staff on the different levels and responsibilities of the corporate structure’s players. The only respect given was to upper management who bore the titles of president, sales manager and controller. Everybody else was on the "same level" according to their perceptions.
As for the job function itself of filling in the orders and keeping track of the inventory of the dealer brochures, the task had not been delegated to the right person or department in the first place. The receptionist could not leave the switchboard and go to the plant to fill in orders and ship them out and count inventory. Logic alone said that. Hence the perpetual backlogs. Yet it had gone on for years, even as the dealers complained repeatedly about the delay or total non-delivery of their promotional materials.
It’s hard to believe, but there it was. No one at the management level had even taken the time or initiative to identify source of the problem and the job function requirements from both the reception and the order filling point of view. If they had, they would have found the descriptions totally at odds. The job had been given, unwritten, helter-skelter and completely out of the context of the function itself.
Yet, top management turned a new manager over to the ill-equipped support level person during the critical initial period of management orientation and training. Not only was this oversight (?) on the part of the executive demeaning but it created unnecessary delays in the organization of the new department as well as some pretty difficult situations to be overcome during the process.
Where do these executive discrepancies come from? Well, often it is from people who rose to the top without getting proper training themselves. When it comes to new employees, making sure to delegate training to competent and equal or higher level staff members is, not only the right thing to do, but critical to human decency and courtesy and business proficiency and efficiency./dmh
Article Copyright(c)Diane M. Hoffmann. You may print this article making sure to include the following bio without any changes.
Diane M. Hoffmann is the founder of Hoffmann-Rondeau Communications and author of the 296-page printed book "Contextual Communication, Organization and Training". Diane also provides a 2-part e-book version of her printed book, "Improve Communication, Verbal and Nonverbal" and "Improve Communication, Organization and Training" as well as many free articles which can be seen at her blog at http://contextual-communication-hrd.blogspot.com/.
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