Working for a Company Without Good Training

It is not often that I offer career advice, but I am today.  Within some industries, competition to hire the best talent often comes down to the working environment and the benefits package.  However the benefit in the package I’m talking about is not usually talked about much beyond a statement like, “we offer our employees training.”

Yet as most training professionals will tell you, there is good training and there is poor training.  Companies that are not able to provide solid learning environments that create skills, and enable careers are really only providing window dressing.  If they can’t provide really good training, I suggest you look at your options and work for companies that can provide you better.

In a previous blog I referred to Façade Training as a technique of making it look like we provide more than we do.  Many companies work harder at their window displays and on reinforcing their own belief system that they are the best than providing real learning.

The next time you interview for a job, and they ask you if there is anyone else you would like to meet to help you make a decision to join their company, surprise everyone by asking to talk with the training manager.  Learn how training is developed, and how it will not only support your learning goals, but how it will support your staff.  If your team cannot perform well, no one wins.  If training is not up to the task, you are most likely going to struggle more than necessary to make your goals too.

The next job offer should include, compensation and benefits plus a thorough understanding of the level of quality their training department provides.

Do Head Hunters Still Exist?

Back in the days, I would get a telephone call from a head hunter that had identified me as a potential applicant for a position they were sourcing.  Based on my background, they would initiate a conversation to determine if their research was correct, if the position was something I was interested in pursuing, and if nothing else they ended up knowing me better.  Does this type of executive recruiter / head hunter still exist?

I’m guessing they do, but they are lost among the vast amount of recruiters that post online openings, blast emails to everyone about every job, post social media messages and sit back and wait for the right applicant to apply.  I am looking for the real deal, and yet I have no idea how to find them.

Recently I spoke with a friend that is actively looking for work at the C level.  He said that the trend of recruiters using the spray and pray method of finding talent will be greatly reduced soon, and replaced with a superior version of yesterday’s head hunters.  Almost like a talent agent used in the entertainment industry, candidates like myself would hire and pay an agent to find them work.  Whether it is contract or full-time, I would have a professional representing me.  When it comes to negotiating a compensation package, in walks the agent to seal the deal.

I’m ready for this kind of person today.  If they exist, call me and let’s talk about your process.  In the mean time, how do we find out who is a real executive recruiter (head hunter) from the typical recruiter?

Let’s take the mystery out of this for everyone!

When HR Drops the Ball on Purpose

What recourse does an employee take if their advocate, Human Resources (HR) is no longer fighting for the employee, but uses their power to block the employee from fair treatment?  When would HR drop the ball on purpose?

While I am usually the one getting beat up because I support HR and the value they bring to the organization, lately my team has been letting me down by not doing what is right and going out of their way to block and tackle the employee from fair treatment.  While HR must straddle the fence and be willing to support the employee at times, and the company at other times, I fully expect them to at least make decisions.


My first example is a company that has not had a training function, and for 2 years has been saying “we need to build a training function” and yet here we are, with no training function.  Sure, they might not want the outside help I am offering and wish to do it with their own internal resources. so what is preventing you?  Why are they allowed to drop the ball on this initiative and every single employee gets shafted because they don’t want to get involved?

In this case the reason is that the line managers and senior leaders have not prioritized this initiative high enough to make things happen.  While that might sound like a good excuse, it does not forgive HR from making it happen because it is the right thing for the company and employees.  they dropped the ball because no one is making them pick it up.


My second example is a company that allowed a termination of an employee to occur while HR ignored some unethical circumstances on the part of management, yet still approved the termination.  However, when this employee documented these concerns to HR and the next level of management, HR is going out of its way to drop the ball in hopes it goes away without having to address it.

In this case, I know the terminated employee.  I also know that HR is dodging the issue hoping it will just die off.  Normally the best recourse is to involve senior management, which this employee did when they notified them along with HR.  When senior management gets involved things usually move toward a resolution, but in this case it didn’t work.  So, the recourse the employee is left with is hiring an attorney.   Since the company is ignoring the employee, when it gets escalated through a lawsuit, the employee can show that the company did nothing for 10 weeks.  While the company could have settled out of court, they stand a better chance of paying a larger award because they dropped the ball on purpose.


While I support the HR function, I dare say I have met both the all-stars and the losers in this field.  Like with most professions, the losers manage to tear down the reputation of the profession which is why HR struggles so often to prove value.  I wish more companies paid attention to this function, and realize they can build a company up or tear them down.  When HR drops the ball, it is because they want to shield themselves from harm.  No one should allow this to happen.

Being Accountable for Your Screw Ups

We all screw up things at one point in time.  We are all human, and thus we make errors.  It is how we deal with a screw up that demonstrates a lot about who we are on the inside.  When I screw up, I try to be the first one to admit it.  Out loud if possible, but my goal is to be accountable for my own actions.

People respect people who are accountable and won’t blame others when things go wrong.  Even our President Obama is having to learn that you can’t continue to blame others when things go wrong and not take any of the blame yourself.  And if you are the kind of person that always takes credit for things going well, but rarely if ever when things are going south, you are just not an honest person.

I use the word honest because unlike any other choice of word that comes to mind, honesty to yourself and others is what we are talking about when it comes to being accountable.  The whole notion that President Obama is now being held responsible by the media that has protected him for over 6 years may be true, but real accountability is incumbent on each of us to practice.  If others are necessary to hold us accountable, then we are failing ourselves.

In leadership development we train people to hold staff and team members accountable for performance.  While it is a competency all managers should possess, true accountability lies with the individual responsible party.

Yet I have always tried to live in reality, while at the same time helping people grow into something better than they already are today.  This means that I realize that most people deflect blame on others whenever possible.  I just happen to be one of those annoying people who don’t let them get away with it.  You cannot fix problems if you are not focused on the problem and who is causing it.