Let’s look at two employees and compare their career paths. Both are the same age, both college graduates, both recent hires with an aircraft company. Lionel works in the company’s sales support department, while Mary works in production planning.
Lionel’s boss comes from the old school that doesn’t believe in the value of training, consequently, Lionel receives the bare minimum dictated by company policy. Mary’s boss is just the opposite. She has created a development plan for Mary that includes scheduled training in those areas that both Mary and her supervisor believe will expand her capabilities.
Five years later, Lionel is languishing in a low level sales support position while Mary has been promoted twice and is now in middle management.
Developing and training is another key to keeping people engaged and motivated. By encouraging and promoting ongoing training and development, you create a pipeline of talented people who are full of ideas, thoughts, and inspiration. This sends a strong, motivating message to each employee: we care and we’re willing to invest in you. You’ll then be rewarded with tremendous engagement and enthusiasm, positioning your organization as an employer of choice.
When mentoring goes wrong
Here’s an even worse scenario, one that plays out time and time again in business. Jack was hired as a purchasing agent for a large electronic game manufacturer. His boss, Robert, the purchasing manager, took Jack under his wing and trained him the best way he knew. Robert’s intentions were good …at least as far as bringing Jack along.
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Unfortunately, Robert cut corners and didn’t consider the whole picture. In an effort to impress his boss, the vice president of manufacturing, Robert drove vendors to reduce their prices to the point that vendors’ profits declined, often precipitously. Vendors scrambled to meet the pricing structure demanded by Robert. When that happens quality is always the first casualty, and it was no different here.
Jack followed his boss’s example with the predictable result. When Robert was fired, Jack’s future was compromised. He left the company shortly.
The moral of this story is that the wrong kind of training can be disastrous for both a company and employees who had the misfortune to be subjected to it. It’s always helpful to have training programs reviewed and bought off by not just an employee’s immediate supervisor, but also an independent third party, usually a knowledgeable person on human resources or a supervisor of the party conducting the training. That type of oversight prevents problems.