Monday, July 21, 2008

"Sticky" Supervisory Training: It Has To Last To Make It Work






Attorney Mindy Chapman, who writes for HR Specialist, uses the term "click and stick" to describe what supervisory training in HR must be like. I love that term! Supervisors must understand why it is important to be trained in human resources. They have to sit down at the training table and understand that they are the first line for potential problems. Companies suffer as a result of the actions of supervisors and managers. If they understand this then you have the "click" part of training.

However, most times supervisors only get periodic training. If they are lucky they get it annually. Most get it ONCE in their supervisory career. This violates the principles of reinforcement theory which says that if you want to get behavior you have to consistently reinforce that behavior. This means that if you want training to "stick" HR has consistently reinforce supevisors doing the right HR stuff. Lack of harassment complaints, discrimination complaints, lack of turnover, etc. should be a integral part of a supevisor's performance evaluation. Without this constant reminder the training given on one day will not "stick" very long. Parents with children in potty training age understand this principle. One sit down session does not do it. There has to be consistent and constant reinforcement of the desired behavior of clean pants. So set the goal of "no messy diapers" for all your supervisors.

1 comment:

Wally Bock said...

Nice post, Michael. Let me push back a bit with X observations.

Even though there is a great deal of arcane regulation in the HR world, most front line supervisors find that doing a good job of supervision is the best prevention against an HR crisis.

Supervision is an apprentice trade. Eighty percent of it is learned on the job. So providing supervisors with good peer support, including support from HR should be part of the plan for making supervisors effective.