Humans Make Mistakes

While most people know me as the training guy, at my center is a performance consultant.  This means that before I even think of how training fits into a solution set, I have spent a lot of time looking at the performance expectations and where the existing performance is today.  What I am beginning to see in the workforce is troubling to me.

With real unemployment still very high in this country, and too many Human Resource groups spending less time on performance improvement we are left with a quick fix mentality.  Hire someone, give them minimal training, and then write-up their performance every time they make a mistake.  Just like in baseball, many companies use the three strikes you’re out performance management tool.

From the bleachers of this game I am watching two things going on.  Companies are spending little to develop new employees, and get rid of any that don’t immediately perform at expectations.  While this keeps the recruiters busy (so indispensable) it also costs the company a lot of money in turnover.  And second, it is also very unfair to the employee!

Humans make mistakes.  Plan on it!  Train to it! And above all else set realistic learning curves for every single employee.

Banking is famous for turnover on the teller line.  How many of you have the same teller from year to year?  How many of you see those tellers go on to other jobs in the bank?  A very small amount of hires to these positions ever last long.  Since I have worked for a lot of banks, I’ll say “we” hire these entry-level positions and maybe if lucky give them a week’s training and then throw them to the wolves.  Limited support, and many different kinds of transactions and activities are expected of these people.  Years ago we added sales and referral goals, a lot of compliance activities and professional customer service standards.

In the old days, tellers were full-time and had 90-days of probation to work through learning their jobs.  Now we hire part-time employees working them half as many hours, double the activities they need to perform and expect perfection in the same amount of time.  But wait, do we even give them that much time?  People learn at different paces, and while some may pick up the technical side quickly and the soft skills are slower coming, we expect all human we hire to be mistake free in about the same time frame.

So what is going to stop a company from slapping a little training on a new hire, and then giving them a verbal warning the first time they make a mistake, a written warning on the second mistake, and termination on the third mistake?  Answer:  A good employment law attorney!

Yep, nothing makes a company take notice of poor practices better than a well designed lawsuit.  Make it a class action and you have the check books coming out early in the process.  It is sad though, that all this is needed to get attention, and even sadder that things will not change unless the dollars are over the top.

While I will continue to preach the gospel of a good performance process, I would also encourage you to have a good attorney only a phone call away.  I have three dear friends I can call, just in case the other two are busy.



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