Linked: A Return to the Office Doesn’t Have to Mean a Return to Boring Presentations
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Linked: A Return to the Office Doesn’t Have to Mean a Return to Boring Presentations

The number of people who can read one thing and listen to another is very small. It might be zero. Our brains can’t process two different things that require our understanding simultaneously.

Of course, that also doesn’t mean that you just read your slides. That’s just boring. No one likes boring either.

Visuals. It’s all about the visuals.

When First Impressions Go Wrong – Not Recognizing Talent Development
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When First Impressions Go Wrong – Not Recognizing Talent Development

We all started somewhere. We all started in some entry-level jobs. We all learned and grew. Good workplaces develop their entry-level people, turning them into experts. It would be a shame to spend all that time developing people and then losing them because you never gave them the same respect they would immediately get by going somewhere else. Somewhere that never knew them when they were in an entry-level position.

The people who worked to learn and build their knowledge and skills deserve better.

Linked: Skills Gap Is Top-of-Mind for Employers
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Linked: Skills Gap Is Top-of-Mind for Employers

Training to meet the skills gap in your workforce is a never-ending challenge. This is not a one-time set it and forget it type of task. It is an ongoing task that will always need updating and tweaking. Have you planned for keeping everyone on your team up to date and continuing to develop the new skills you’ll need year after year?

A gap doesn’t get created overnight, and it won’t get fixed overnight. Even if it did, a few days later you’ll have another gap. The world changes every day. Don’t assume your people can change with it without any assistance from you.

Why Training Matters for Retention

Why Training Matters for Retention

This brings me to that final point. Having a learning culture requires a plan for each employee and for different types of jobs. It requires coordination between the official training department, managers, HR, and the subject matter experts throughout the organization. It may look a bit messy. It may include some mix of internal training, external resources, job shadowing, self-study, and group learning. I’d argue that a true culture that promotes and encourages learning would leave open all of those possibilities. I’d also argue that your training staff isn’t just there to teach classes but to provide and coordinate all of those options. They are there to “provide opportunities to learn and grow”, whatever those look like for all of your employees who wish to do so. They are key to retention but they cannot do it alone. The culture must reward and encourage learning and growth in meaningful ways or all the training staff in the world won’t make a difference. 

Why Training Matters for Diversity

Why Training Matters for Diversity

Wouldn’t it be a better choice to locate candidates with some of the skills you’re going to need in a position and know that you have an environment that will help them grow and learn to become exactly what you need to be? Wouldn’t that practice become a way to attract really smart people who want to grow and learn by coming to work for you? Doesn’t that sound like a better option than simply leaving your open jobs unfilled and lamenting the fact that no one wants to work anymore? Unfortunately, there are too many organizations that simply won’t consider this. They aren’t interested in growing the people who work for them, they only want to hire people who can come in with no effort on the organization’s part and do the work starting on day one.

I think they are short-sighted.

Linked: Should employers provide mental health training for management?
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Linked: Should employers provide mental health training for management?

The one that gives me pause is the last bullet, but not because leaders shouldn’t have that knowledge, but more because human nature tells me that is the one most likely to be misused and create really uncomfortable situations. There’s a very fine line between being aware of signs of someone struggling and diagnosis. I absolutely do not want anyone in the workplace diagnosing people. Watch out for signs of stress and ways you can support the folks who work for you proactively? Sure. Decide for yourself that they have depression, or should be referred to an Employee Assistance Program? Not so much.

But, here’s the thing I will fully admit when saying this. Avoiding this type of behavior is absolutely something that solid mental health training should be a part of. I’ve heard far too many instances lately where organizations are reading a lot about mental health, and burnout, in the workplace and then dispatch their managers to have conversations with their teams about it, and zero training.

Those conversations are dangerous. You have to enable your leaders to go into those conversations with some education and expertise on the subject Just telling them to go and have the conversations without getting them up to speed on how to do so, creates a situation that is likely to end up with some very alienated employees.