why are employers so bad at training people?

A reader writes:

I’ve been out of school and in the workforce full time for about four years now. In this time, I don’t feel that I’ve had even one job that adequately trained new employees. The first full-time job I had was in a new hotel, and everyone was trained pretty well on how to use the computer system. However, no one was provided much information about the hotel or the hotel’s rules/procedures, which often resulted in not knowing where things were located, how to answer questions from prospective or current guests, or how to handle certain situations. Employees who were hired after the big training session prior to the hotel’s opening were not trained well on the computer system or the hotel. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the vast majority of employees at this hotel would get fired. I was the only one who lasted over a year, and one of the only ones who left voluntarily.

However, I did get fired at another hotel around two months after starting. Training consisted of my showing up and immediately being thrown behind the front desk with another employee who was expected to do his job while I observed him and did what he did. This was a very busy hotel downtown in a major city that people love to visit. I tried to mitigate this type of training by asking him anything I could think of that would be important, just based on my previous hotel experience. But I still ended up getting fired when money was missing on my shift and I hadn’t followed some protocol in dropping the money. This was a protocol that I’d pretty much never followed because no one had pointed out that I hadn’t been following it in the two months I’d worked there. With an unclear training program, I don’t see how I would know otherwise that there was XYZ I wasn’t doing correctly.

Skipping to my new job, I am currently in yet another version of being thrown to the wolves. We provide tech support over the phone to businesses, and I ended up on the phone my 2nd day because I was told the best way to learn the job is just to do it. They are kind of forcing me to answer nearly every call–it’s not as if I started off doing a few. We’re not getting a ton of calls, either, and the person I am working with on my “training” agreed with me that this is not really a good thing. More than half of the phone calls we get are actually calls for other employees, which means it is taking me a while to encounter all the tech issues others who work there are experienced with handling. It has been three weeks now, and I still can’t handle the majority of calls by myself. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about this since they still consider me to be in training, but I do because I did get fired once before for, what I feel was at least in part due to, inadequate training.

Am I off-base, or are many employers doing a half-bad, if not completely bad, job of training new employees (and then ultimately placing the blame on those employees)? Is there hope for finding a job where you will be trained well? How do you think new employees typically should be trained? I know this is a long message, but I would really appreciate your thoughts.

Yes, lots of employers suck at training!

It just so happens that we have a frequent commenter, Charles Trimmer, who is a professional trainer, so I asked him if he’d like to respond to your question. Here is Charles’ response:

This is more of a management issue than a training issue, but I’ll answer from a trainer’s point of view.

Good management understands that employees do not show up on the first day and hit the ground running at 60 mph. Employees will need to learn something about how things are done in their organization. But sadly, many employers have the attitude that training is a throw-away item. Yes, we would love to train everyone,” they say,“but we don’t have the money or we cannot afford to give them the time away from work.” Poor management sees time away from work, even for training, as lost productivity. 

Clearly, sticking a new person on a busy desk on the first day is not training – it doesn’t matter that there was a more experienced person there. How on earth was he suppose to explain things to you while also trying to service the customers? Unfortunately, it is not at all an untypical situation. Obviously, it would have been far better for the manager to require you to show up to work for the first time when things are typically slower so that the experienced employee would have the time to explain things thoroughly. However, managers have to deal with the logistics of who is available and when, so logistics often trump common sense.

Common sense tells us that a properly trained employee is far more productive than an untrained and uninformed employee. Good managers know this to be true and do everything they can to see that their employees are given the tools they need to do their job. Those tools include not just new hire training, but also include follow up and continuing training as needed.

Good managers make sure that employees are starting work with all the tools they need. Often times this requires the employee to make a commitment to the training as well. Case in point:  several years ago I trained at a company that had three shifts. Those new hires who were going to be working the night shift (5:00 PM to midnight) still had to be trained. Since there were never more than 1 or 2 new night staffers starting at the same time, it was understood that if they wanted this night-shift position they had to attend training during the day and stay on the day shift until the supervisor okayed them to move to night shift. I’m sure that there were a few folks who couldn’t do the day shift at all and so lost out on this position. However, those employees who could and were willing to make the extra sacrifice to work the day shift for a while were more likely to be hired for this night-shift position.

Is there any hope of finding a job where you will be trained well? 

Well, aside from exceptions where there are government-imposed training requirements (like health care), the answer depends upon having good management in place. But this doesn’t mean that you, as an employee or job seeker, are totally out of luck. You can ask about training during a job interview: “What sort of training does the organization give its new hires?  Is there follow-up or continuing training for existing employees?”

Lack of training can also be improved by current employees speaking up and telling management, “We need X to do our jobs better, and X is better training.”  Or, “Yes, the new computer system looks like it might help streamline billing in the long run, but can we have someone shows us the proper way to use it?”

Or, as an existing employee, you could speak up and suggest to the manager that you would like to help out with training the new hires. (You could start out with small steps such as offering to create quick reference cards or guides, something simple for new hires to use.) But be sure that you know what you are getting into –training is not for everyone and this suggestion doesn’t help you as a new hire.

Of course, it would be nice if you didn’t need to speak up to ask for what I consider to be the basics. But, unfortunately, employees do need to give such feedback to managers. After all, many managers are, themselves, often promoted without management training. And so the cycle goes . . .

One last word of caution (and it certainly isn’t because you are doing this; in fact, your letter suggests the opposite): be sure that you are serious that the lack of training is the real issue and that you are not using “lack of training” as an excuse for not following through on your job  – good managers will see right through that excuse. Finally, no matter how poor the training is, you, the adult learner, have to make the most of it. Until all managers see training as a “worthwhile investment” and not just as a “cost,” I’m afraid that I really don’t have better answers.

{ 72 comments… read them below }

  1. Angela S.*

    To OP: I’m wondering if in any of your jobs you were given a training manual, or an internal website where you can find all the information that you need to know. You said that you got fired once because you didn’t follow a protocol and you’d never been told about this particular protocol. But I imagine that it must have been written down somewhere.

    In my last few jobs there are always some sort of manual that are available to the employees. It’s true that my employers don’t always find the time to train me, and I have to be pretty quick in learning all the rules and protocol. But I find those manual very helpful in bringing me up to speed. Yes, it sucks that often time I have to read them while I’m not at work (at my current job, I read most of the training material at home!). It also sucks that my supervisor is often too busy to show me in person the proper way to do things. I just believe that I have to take some responsibility to train myself.

    1. OP*

      The only manual on the job where I was fired was the type that explained things like “this is at-will employment” and a lot of things that related to the parent company or terms of employment, but nothing helping us to do our job. On my first job, the manual was solely about using the computer system we had to use, but that was only half the battle. With my latest job, my biggest gripe in terms of training–other than just being thrown into providing support on my 2nd day there–is that there’s no truly efficient way for me to find info that would help me do my job without asking questions to my co-workers half the day. Since it’s tech support, there’s a ticketing system. This would be a great resource, except our ticketing system doesn’t allow you to type in key words and pull up similar issues in order to help you troubleshoot. You can only search by company name, domain name, circuit ID and such. The only help I’ve been able to get from our system is by remembering or writing down company names that call in with issues I feel I’ll need to refer back to in the future or listening to my co-workers handle issues I’m not familiar with and then reading their ticket-in-progress to learn more about resolving that kind of issue. On my new job, I feel that if they had a manual or a ticketing system that I could search using keywords, I’d feel more comfortable at work and would be able to do my job without leaning on my co-workers so much. It’s an entry-level job and they told me they didn’t expect me to know everything during the interview, and they told me I’d be trained for as long as I need to during the interview. But basically, I sat down with a co-worker on day one, went over an outline the company has (which was basically about how to use their phone and their ticketing system) and then he told me, “Well, we can probably have you start taking calls tomorrow.” The co-worker is supposed to help me with anything I need, but I just think a better way WOULD have been to give me more info so that I could do more on my own faster.

      1. Emily*

        Here’s a segue from the last post about bonuses: I received a cash bonus one year for writing a handbook/FAQ to a program my department uses for the purpose of training and for the use of temporary interns and freelancers. Eighteen months later, I received another (50% of the first amount) because the document had been passed around to other departments and was being used for “unofficial” training and reference for full-time employees. I still puzzle over the paradox: I couldn’t have written the handbook without knowing how to use the software myself, but it took two years of confusion and headaches and trial-and-error to teach myself to use it—I wouldn’t have written the handbook if there’d been any documentation in existence already. And: clearly, my employer recognizes (and rewards!) the value of training and documentation; why didn’t they already and why don’t they yet have an official program in place?

        1. EngineerGirl*

          I was going to suggest this. Creating “how to” documents is a great way to add value to the job. Bad employers don’t seem to understand that the cost of mistakes far outweighs the cost of training. But once everyone is on board with the “how to” document, they see a big change.

          So write things down as you learn them, and then organize them. Let newbies use the process to find out where the holes in the documentation are. If people question why you are doing things certain ways, you’ll have a document that shows that you were told that way. Then they can correct it.

          1. Andrea_C*

            I agree Emily and EngineerGirl! I have been able to create “how to” documents or training manuals for every position I’ve held since college. It has been a great way for me to add value since they have been used for new hires. Streamlining processes and organizing information is a strength of mine, so whenever I have found a training process to be lacking in some area it has been an opportunity for me to see if I can contribute to make it an easier process for others.

        2. Womble*

          “why don’t they yet have an official program in place?”

          Because there’s a bajillion other things that need doing, too, and unless you’re putting on a huge number of people each year, the cost/benefit analysis of various tasks just doesn’t bring training to the top of the pile. At least, that’s the reason why I still have “write training materials” on my todo list six months after putting it there.

      2. Charles*

        Sadly, OP, this is very common in tech support. Positions that have a high turnover rate (such as tech support) are often viewed by managment as not worthy of proper training. The attitude is as soon as they finish training, they are going to leave anyway. So, they make do with having the new guy shadow someone for one day; then follow up with on-the-job training by asking coworkers questions.

        There is also the issue of trying to train someone for every possible scenario that they will encounter on the phones – that just won’t happen nor would you remember everything from training. The possibilities are endless and depending on the type of support once a Solutions Guide is written it could be outdated by software upgrades.

        What you will need to do in this type of environment is ask questions – but at the same time not be a pain. Good luck with walking that tightrope! (Seriously, I am not trying to be snarky or anything – it is a tough spot to be in)

        One thing that you can do is make sure that you take notes, or do whatever you need, so that you are not repeating questions.

        1. Natalie*

          Training someone for every possible scenario is probably impossible, but I think there is value in a “common issues” type of handbook. Assuming the ticketing system includes resolutions, you could even start it by printing out the tickets and collecting them in one place.

          I am actually trying to create something like this at my job right now in the anticipation of training my replacement.

  2. JC*

    For the job I’m currently at, it was literally 3 days worth of shoddy training and then I was cast aside to figure things out on my own. The girl I was replacing didn’t want to do the job anymore, my boss was too busy/overwhelmed to provide proper guidance, and many of my co-workers had the “birth by fire” mentality. I felt like a nuisance the first 3 months there, and I was so stressed out that I planned on quitting before my probationary period was up. I had to piece together what I had to do, while trying to figure out the organization’s policies, culture, and operations. At the time, things were so busy the management just didn’t have time to care or make sure training was being conducted properly. Overall, at the time, that place was a graveyard to organizational and leadership skills.

    It’s been a couple years now, and we have more systems in place to train new employees. Management actually took the time to plan new hires, orientation procedures, and plenty of support to help new employees smooth into their jobs better. From what I’ve seen, it’s certainly helped productivity and morale. I’ve also noticed better organizaion in the department as a whole – although things are still sloppy and hectic at times, I feel like it’s more organized and manageable. So Charles is really on the mark when he talks about good management and the training process. I think that if the training process is shoddy, there’s a good chance management’s not going to be so great either. Building more tools on the job is certainly helpful for everyone. I wish more employers would do it!

  3. Anonymous*

    I had a job in which we were trained in a classroom-like setting. The trainer tried to train us in everything regarding the job in two nights of a couple of hours per night. Talk about getting everything thrown at you, especially at night when you’re tired having done everything else during the day. Then, they moved us into the shadowing part, which lasted one day. Throughout all of this, they kept reminding us that they were observing us during training and if we showed any signs of being incapable of doing the job, they would dismiss us from the job. And to use the expression of the OP, they threw us to the wolves. I still had questions and wasn’t 100% confident; therefore I asked questions to make sure I didn’t mess up client’s accounts. But I think that’s where I paid for it because I was asked to leave not too long after. I know I could have done the job. I am a pretty fast learner, but throwing everything at us at once only to set us free quickly afterwards was not helpful to me and it couldn’t have been helpful to them either.

  4. Sabrina*

    I would also say that training can vary between departments. I work at a company that I started out temping for. The first job I had was in a different department and had great training. It was six weeks and at the end I felt nervous but that I could do the job. They can’t go over everything but things they didn’t cover were weird one off things that no one can predict. They weren’t that great at updating us about new procedures, but the training itself was good. Unfortunately they had budget issues and after about six months, all the temps were let go. A few months later my temp agency has a job at the same company, but different department. I work there now and the training was terrible. It was only a week, for a similar type of job (but different procedures, systems, etc.) and was seriously lacking. Really, due to computer problems training was only about 2.5 days. Several months in I frequently find out very basic stuff that I should have been doing from day one that I just didn’t know about. We’re held to QA Standards on things they don’t train us on. I brought it up to my manager and my concerns were dismissed, she said that there will always be things that people don’t know. She used to work in QA and said that they once found out about a whole team that didn’t know something for 2 years. I had suggestions on how to help with these issues, she was uninterested. Not much more I can do as I see it.

  5. ChristineH*

    I’m the type of person who doesn’t always realize that the training isn’t up to par. At least that was the case with my previous job. I believe they hired me on the basis of my internship experience and my overall passion. The job entailed providing information via phone and email. I was given maybe a little over two weeks before taking calls so that I could read over all of the materials, prior call logs, etc. I was in my glory and thought I could easily settle in.

    Once I was truly on the phones, I realized that I bit off more than I could chew; I was asking a lot of questions and began to feel like a nuisance. I eventually caught on somewhat but never truly got my sea legs, letting my self-confidence get the better of me. I was laid off after less than a year.

    This was a fairly small nonprofit office, so I can understand not having the means for a full-fledged training program; as I said, they probably thought I was well-experienced in the subject matter that I was working with given my education and internship. Thus, I take some responsibility in not digging deeper for some way I could’ve supplemented my training outside of work. I do wish they’d let me listen to some calls, then have someone listen to some of my calls.

    Hindsight is 20/20.

  6. ChristineH*

    Ooops – I meant to reply to the OP as well.

    For the hotel jobs – Is it possible that they assumed you had some hotel/hospitality coursework?

    Also, pointing to my own experience (noted above), while I definitely think employers should put more effort into new-hire training, sometimes it’s not entirely possible, either because of budget or time constraints. Yes, good training is ideal. However, maybe look into workshops or books to get some subject-specific knowledge.

    I do agree with the overall advice to ask questions, both during the interview process and while on the job. Good management will be open to this. My only hangup is that I personally would be afraid to ask in an interview about training; I’d be afraid I’d come across as too green.

    1. OP*

      Hi, ChristineH. Thanks for your response.

      My first hotel job, they knew I had never worked in a hotel and didn’t have any background in that. Everyone they’d hired had never worked in a hotel, except one person, and they told all of us that when the hotel was first opening. The hotel job that fired me…well, they hired a couple of people after me, and they treated them the same way in terms of training because I remember trying to help them out. I don’t know what their previous hotel experience was, but I know I was hired precisely because I’d worked in a hotel before and a hotel that was under the same umbrella as their hotel is. I almost want to say this made them assume they wouldn’t have to train me, even though every hotel is different and working at a hotel in a smaller city is very different from working downtown in a major city with lots of tourists. But then, as I said, they treated hires after me the same way. My experience with hotels so far really is that they hardly train employees, regardless. They immediately end up behind the desk working at full force.

      With my new job, I think there’s no excuse for them not to have better, or at least more efficient, training. There’s so much downtime there. The woman who hired me frequently comes into our work area just to talk because she’s so bored. My co-workers mainly sit and talk and work on their own personal projects (blogs, websites, writing programs, etc). Somebody really could have written a very good training manual long before I got there, and with as much downtime as we have I definitely have thought about taking all the notes I gather (once I stop encountering totally new client problems) and write one for them to use. Re: workshops/books…really, a high percentage of the calls we get are nothing for me to handle, it’s just that clients assume the person answering the phone does handle it. When I ask co-workers, the answer often is, “Oh, you have to give that ticket to B. He handles that.” So, at the same time, I feel the tech skills I have are not being used and I worry they will erode. I told my mother this, and she said I probably should look for another job since I’m trying to learn and advance in IT.

      I ask about training in every job interview, and if I go by my experiences once I am on the job…seems almost like a lot of employers kind of gloss over the question. The answers seem kind of vague, and I guess I am starting to see that should be a warning sign. I’ve only had one or two employers give me an answer that was kind of detailed, and one included the job I had before this new one. That job’s training turned out to be kind of decent.

      1. Natalie*

        Is the woman who comes to chat because she’s bored a decent resource? If so, you could get some of your questions answered in the guise of chatting about work. “I had this call that kind of stumped me. [blah blah blah] How would you have handled that?”

  7. Henning Makholm*

    This doesn’t probably apply to the situations the OP describes, but in a workplace where procedures and customs have grown organically, it can be quite daunting for the employer to even figure out ahead of time what it is that a new hire will need to know. Even if you had everything nicely documented, attempting to brain-dump it all into a new employee at once will just cause him to curl up in a ball and whimper.

    When we hire new programmers, the general orientation pretty much consists of “here’s your desk, here’s your computer, and here’s the source repository, and you’re expected to need to ask frequent questions for at least the first 4 to 6 months”. We’ve been trying to compile a written compendium of Things That Would Be Nice For Every Developer To Know, but even in its current incomplete state it is becoming too long and sprawling to expect anyone to read through and remember as the first thing on the job, without stopping to use any of it along the way.

    Of course this approach only works for some types of jobs, where “urgent” means “needed tomorrow” rather than “needed in 3 minutes”, such that it is possible to postpone an unfamiliar task until one can reach a more experienced coworker for advice.

    1. OP*

      “When we hire new programmers, the general orientation pretty much consists of ‘here’s your desk, here’s your computer, and here’s the source repository, and you’re expected to need to ask frequent questions for at least the first 4 to 6 months’.”

      See, this would be better than what I got, particularly the “4 to 6 months” part. I have no idea how long it’s acceptable for me to be asking questions and needing help. I have tried to ask…I have asked other employees how long their training period was and such. I never get a clear deadline like that. I just know that the guy who had my job before I did was almost essentially able to hit the ground running, from what everyone tells me, but he seemed very overqualified for that job (which is why I am replacing him–he got promoted)…and I know that someone else worked there at some point and they got rid of her after 2 months because they didn’t feel she was “getting” it. I am being told I’m doing fine and to ask questions, but I still feel uneasy because I also struggle with the question of how long is this okay.

      I don’t think everything needs to be dumped on a new employee at once. When I think of training, I think of at least a couple of weeks. In that time, ideally, you could be given some documentation but also be allowed to ask questions, observe, practice the skills you need to use, etc, without expectations of “get ‘er done and do it just right” being put on you.

      Thanks for your POV…programming is actually what I’m interested in for a career, and I started taking some classes and reading books last year.

      1. Henning Makholm*

        I didn’t mean “4 to 6 months” as a “clear deadline” — I could also just have written “significantly more than a month, but probably less than a year”.

        And it’s not as if there’s any definite cut-off point after which asking question is not okay; it’s more that as time goes by you will need to ask less frequently, and after some time your question frequency will reach a steady state. Which is not zero — we’re trying to maintain a culture where it is always okay to ask questions if you need information that you have reason to think someone else may remember better than you. After all, as a software shop our business is to produce new knowledge — some of it formalized as source code, some not — and a lot of the necessary knowledge sharing has to be done on demand because it is unreasonable to expect everyone always to keep themselves fully up-to-date on everything everyone else is doing.

        The above probably doesn’t apply in quite that way to a hotel. But I doubt you will find anywhere where you will be able to get a formal “end of training” date after which you’re supposed to have asked all your questions and have internalized everything as well as you’re ever going to. What if there are special situations that only come up irregularly a few times a year? It may be pure chance whether such a case crops up on your watch during your first 4, 6 or 12 months of employment, but it would be madness to decide if you encounter it for the first time after 13 months, you’re not allowed anymore to ask your manager or coworkers how it’s usually handled.

      2. Charles*

        hmmm, reading what you wrote here OP, I’m wondering if you are focusing on the time frame too much.

        It is possible that there really isn’t a time frame that they will consider as the “correct” amount of time. It is quite possible that the other person who they let go truly did not “get it” because she was asking basic questions or repeating questions after two months. Maybe she really didn’t learn much at all.

        You will need to be like a sponge; make sure that you are learning from your questions and not using your questions as a way of getting others to give you an answer each time. In other words, some new hires don’t learn by asking questions they just use their coworkers as a crutch (Am I making sense here?)

        P.S. you absolutely right in that everything “dumped” on the new hire is useless as well.

        1. Suzanne*

          One job, I asked a question of a supervisor and was told to do a task a certain way. Not 15 minutes later, another supervisor came in, looked at what I was doing, told me I was doing the task incorrectly, and told me to do it a completely different way. I gave up asking after that.

  8. Kit M.*

    Training is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’m starting a career in a field where professionals almost always end up supervising inexperienced students and interns. However, I feel like most of the professionals never really prepared for that part of the job and don’t really want to do that part of the job. The underlying assumption seems to be that you hire assistants to save time, and if you’re training them thoroughly, you’re no longer saving time. As a result, I’ve seen a lot of entrenched errors in my coworkers’ work, some really basic and easily avoidable. And I’ve spoken to a friend in the same field who *was* trained, but it involved sitting in a group and being lectured all day to instead of a hands-on approach — probably also for “time-saving reasons”.

    I’ve started making notes about training techniques and ideas I think would be useful, mostly things that I would have liked if someone had done for me. I’m writing them down now because another thing I’ve noticed is that the longer you do this work, the more you forget just which concepts need to be explained, and just how unintuitive most of it is. I hope to eventually put together a little training guide for my own future use, but I’m also thinking about publishing something on this someday.

    That said, I did have good training in my first job, in a related field to the one I’m going into now. But probably the most important thing there was not the training itself, but the fact that there was always someone around who was able and willing to answer my questions.

  9. Janet*

    In the majority of my jobs, the basic HR training has been handled flawlessly. I start knowing everything about my vacation, health coverage, 401k, code of conduct, etc. However, departmental training? Is non-existent. In my last two jobs after the two days of “on-boarding” (HR training) I have literally been plunked at my desk and told “OK, get to it” – and have to take it upon myself to introduce myself to co-workers, figure out the hierarchy of the department, figure out where we keep the extra staplers, how we file expense reports and everything else. It’s terrible when you think of the unnecessary errors that are made because no one made sure that your computer was linked to the appropriate departmental drives or that you were not told that the fax numbers require a special employee long distance code or who you need to contact to receive your code.

    I think the greatest problem comes down to the individual department managers. HR usually understands the value of training but somehow direct managers do not seem to get the memo or they do and just have no idea how to properly train an employee on the basics.

    1. Charles*

      ” . . . have to take it upon myself to introduce myself to co-workers . . .”

      That, to me, is a bad sign right there. No new hire should be doing that. The manager should give you a tour and introduce you around. Of course, you won’t remember everyone – but the introductions are not for the new hire it is for existing employees.

      I once had this discussion with a guy who was a new manager – he felt that it was useless to take his new employee around to introduce her to everyone. He said that he remembered when that was done for him when he was new and that he didn’t remember anyone and he felt so out of place.

      “Well, duh” I said; “being new you will feel out of place – how much more comfortable did you make her feel by NOT introducing her to anyone!?” Some managers really don’t get it.

    2. Anonymous_J*

      I SO agree with this, and I have run into it in my own company.

      I ended up on a PIP, simply because my predecessor did not train me, and I had to figure out things on my own. The people to whom I went with questions–my supervisors–were irritated that I had to ask questions and did not understand (or care) that I’d not been properly trained.

      It’s awful.

  10. Angela*

    OP: Have you talked to your manager about this? One way you might approach this conversation is during a face to face ask questions like: I feel uncertain about how long it should be taking me to ramp up in this role. Here are all the things I have done to get up to speed (review tickets, talk to coworkers, read this relevant book, etc etc) but I am still feeling that I should be further along. What are your thoughts? What other approaches would you suggest I do to ramp up faster? Although the company is clearly doing a terrible job in training, you really need to seek out any training advice you can get so it shows that you are really trying to do the best job you can do. Maybe your manager will have some great advice, maybe he/she will tell you not to worry, but either way they will know you are trying and want to do a great job.

  11. aDdiepray*

    This sure hits close to home. I was fired Monday due to this issue. I worked for a small company that never got around to making any kind of policies and procedures. And any that we’re made, we’re learned through word of month.

    About a month ago I got my three month eval from September. A couple of weeks ago they called me in with a list of issues that were never brought to my attention, not policies and what I was trained to do, and opinions of my engagement in the job. I sure wish now that I had asked for a 6 month or just any evaluation. I felt thrown under the bus and unfairly treated because it was just as if someone who isn’t my superior told them things and I was not asked for any type of explanation. I made it almost a year without any issues and positive feedback and I was blind sighted.

    Quite a learning experience for my next job.

  12. Angela*

    Oh and personally I would be careful about talking too much with your coworkers about the lack of training. They have shown already that they are not going to be much help and you don’t want to come off as a complainer. Ask them job related questions – they have already indicated you should. Regarding further training and when you should be fully “trained”, talking to your manager is your best bet.

  13. Jeff*

    At my company, the front-line managers “get it” regarding the value of semiformal or formal training – it’s the senior executives that just don’t give a damn. In the current miserable job market, they’d rather churn and burn their staff knowing there are always more eager jobseekers outside their doors. Their favorite thing to do now is approximately-annual reorgs in which we get new roles (and doubled or tripled workloads) dumped in our laps with the only training coming from fellow harried co-workers who already have some experience in the tasks we don’t know about.

    There was a Dilbert strip a while back in which the Pointy Haired Boss confesses that “whenever I see an employee suffer, it excites me in ways I don’t understand.” Now, while I can’t say for certain that my company’s CEO gets some Freudian jollies from seeing his staff scampering around like hamsters on crystal meth, there’s certainly a strongly implied belief that only a frantic, stressed employee is a productive employee.

  14. Anonymous*

    If you hire the wrong person, I think training is a waste of money. I think that’s the case with this new guy in my office. My coworker was in charge of training him starting on Monday. She is the same person who trained me a few months ago and I think she’s adequate. She trained him by showing him exactly what to do and then monitoring him while he did a few and then set him loose on his own, answering any questions he had. His job is data entry. It’s the same thing all day long, everyday. By Wednesday or Thursday he should have mastered it all. But on Friday my coworker was gone and I was stuck there helping the new guy. He was asking about very fundamental elements of what he’s doing…about every hour. He literally asked me 3 times how to do something before he decided to write it down, and I thought, “Why didn’t you write this down on day one or two? And how have you been doing it thus far, anyway?” I checked his work in the system and found many, many errors and mistakes. I just don’t get it.

    1. Womble*

      This is the other side of good training programs — being able to identify bad hires before they build their nest and become entrenched. If your training program includes (objective) assessment and review, you can objectively decide that they’re not right for the role and get ’em out of the way quickly.

    2. Charles*

      ” . . . I thought, “Why didn’t you write this down on day one or two?”

      Kudos to you for only thinking it; I would not have held back and TOLD him to write it down as he should have learned it on day one.

  15. Anonymous*

    In my first job, I was given a week of training by someone who had been working for 6 months – like me, they were a recent graduate. I really struggled for the first 3 or 4 months and I’m pretty sure that was a big contributing factor.

  16. Womble*

    I’ll probably get kicked out of the secret society of managers for revealing the dirty little secret, but here goes: managers, by default, have as little idea of what the hell they’re doing as their employees. They probably get even *less* training than their subordinates in how to do their new roles. Is it any wonder that there’s some holes in the end result?

    So, we’ve comprehensively demonstrated that companies don’t know how to train people. That’s great. What do managers do about it? Although I’d love to have God-like powers of knowledge and ability, I’m afraid I missed out on that particular item in my new manager survival pack, and have to make do with domain-specific knowledge and a lot of reading.

    Hence, my question: what *specific* things can companies and managers do to provide useful training programs for their staff? Vague suggestions like “write a procedures manual” are no more useful to me than “help the customer” is to a new hire on the hotel front desk. Is there any actionable, comprehensive guidance anywhere on how to design, develop, and deliver a training program for new (and existing) staff? I’m happy to throw money at the problem, too — but then I still need guidance on finding a decent consultant (or company) that’s capable of producing custom training materials, and not just training staff on how to use a standard platform (pretty much everything we use and do is custom to some greater or lesser degree).

    Anyone want to take the challenge?

    1. EngineerGirl*

      “Write a procedures manual” might be a bit much. But finding areas where there are constant mistakes are made is a good way to find areas for documentation. Work on those areas first and fill in as needed. Eventually you’ll have a procedure of procedures- a process document.
      For example in my current job our supplier was having an 85% rejection rate on the first cut of their documentation. I collected data on why things were rejected, created a Pareto, and the modified checklists to catch the mistake prone areas. The first time rejection rate went down to 5%. From there I found other mistake prone areas and created other procedures. Then a training area on the web and training packages. The consistency of the product shot up, along with my salary

      1. Womble*

        Ah, but a bunch of written procedures is not *training*. I know how to write procedures to help people do things, and I do it pretty much the way you describe — find what’s being done wrong and document the right way. However, the sheer volume of these things is quite overwhelming — we’ve got literally hundreds of procedures already written for handling different situations, and it’s to the point where you often can’t stumble across the right procedure to do what you want to do, unless you already know where the procedure you want to follow is.

        Hence the need for training, up front, in all the different areas of the business. It’s actually fairly easy to identify many of the training “modules” that would need to be developed — each internal system, from the different PoVs of the roles that interact with them, and the various technologies we use and deploy for customers. But actually developing formalised training courses that are going to be useful and effective? No idea. And not a lot of time available to learn, either.

        1. fposte*

          I hope Charles comes back to weigh in on this, because he’s the man on this. But here’s my take: depending on what people are doing, formalized training courses may not be necessary; as people have described, long formal courses sometimes overwhelm more than they inform . And seriously, don’t underestimate a good, well-organized procedures manual with a quick bullet-point checklist for each significant task. (And while I get the “no time to learn” feeling, it’s worth considering if training time would inoculate against loss of productivity through mistakes or inexperience later.)

          But most important of all, what does your staff say? What kind of training would they have found useful? What didn’t they know that it would have helped them to know? (Some of the stuff we talk about here, like priorities, etc., tends not to make it into training anyway, even though it would be enormously helpful if it did.)

          1. Charles*

            Yep, formalized training is not always the best. There is not necessarily anything wrong with formalized training; except that you’re right in that it often covers everything; but the retention rate is lousy.

            It is best to break training out as needed. Modules are often the way to go on this, keep them short, make them easy to follow, and make them relevant to work.

            I would still do some sort of formalized training – just a simple introduction and then have the modules for specific topics that employees can refer to as needed. Sort of like a just-in-time training. Also, management needs to recognize that when an employee spends time on these modules it is NOT wasted time. The employee is updating her skills.

            Your last paragraph is also key here. Management often overlooks their best resource on discovering what training is needed – the employees!

      2. Anon.*

        Hi EngineerGirl,
        What is a Pareto?
        Thanks so much!

        btw, really enjoy ready your comments on the various posts :)

    2. Charles*

      ” . . . [managers] probably get even *less* training than their subordinates in how to do their new roles.”

      Exactly! While employee training is often lacking; management training is virtually non-existent.

      Think about this for a minute. Someone is often promoted to manager because she has been the best widget maker or seller in her department. So, the thinking often goes, if she can make or sell the best or most widgets then she can manage others to make or sell the best/most widgets.

      Pfft! on that way of thinking. Managing and doing are too different skill sets (and I’m sure that I am preaching to the choir on this)

      The same is true for training. Often management will say we need to train our employees; so, what do they think? Let’s get the one who does XYZ the best to train everyone else on XYZ; then everyone can do XYZ like XYZ expert.

      Pfft! on that way of thinking too. It is the same analogy as I stated above for hiring a manager. Doing and training are different skill sets.

      1. Jamie*

        This! It would make so much sense to have additional training when people move into management. Not just the procedural stuff which I’m sure is done (you do performance reviews in December, here are the write up forms) but to help people negotiate the more managerial side of things.

        Especially when people are now managing people who used to be their co-workers. That’s tough to navigate for many people and often help doesn’t come until there are major issues.

    3. Charles*

      “Anyone want to take the challenge?”

      Yep, here’s part of an answer for you. (lord, I could or maybe I should write a book!)

      Hire a trainer. Seriously, I’m not trying to plug myself here. But, you will need to hire someone (or more than one person) specifically for training. They won’t necessarily need to know about your organization or even your industry before being hired. Although neither of those would hurt; what you really need is someone who knows about adult education, someone who understands how learning is an ongoing process not an event.

      Some of the things that you could look for:

      Does this person have experience in training adults (not K-12; teaching children is different from teaching adults)?

      What involvement does this person have in ADDIE? I hate acronyms; but this one can be useful. It stand for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. (do a google or wiki search for more detail)

      And, just because someone does not have experience in all five steps does not mean that she will be a bad developer or trainer. You might find it better to hire a training team with members who have different skill sets and experience to complement each other.

      Look for someone who has training experience that will fit with your organization. By this I mean if your organization has learners in several locations will you need a trainer who is experienced with distance learning? Will you need someone who is experienced in one-on-one training to executives? Will you need someone who can train large groups vs small groups or both? Will you need someone who has a training background in mainly technical stuff or will you need someone who is more experienced in soft skills training? Will you need someone who has experience in writing manuals and other training materials?

      I could go on and on; but, first you need to do an analysis of exactly what you need training on. That would be your first step – and that could be some thing that you could hire someone to help with (its the A in ADDIE)

      Good luck!

      1. Henning Makholm*

        With respect to your profession, that’s not really actionable advice. If you’re managing a department of, say, 8 people that hires someone new once or twice a year, keeping a dedicated trainer on payroll simply isn’t gonna fly (much less a training team!). Much cheaper overall just to leave the new hires to fend for themselves and accept that their productivity will suffer until they manage to bring themselves up to speed. But it would be nice to be able to do something to ease their learning that can be done by the people you already have — that is, not specialists.

        Or are you suggesting that one should contract in a free-lance trainer each time there’s a new employee to be brought up to speed? I can’t see how that would be an improvement. It would take just as much time for the manager to tell the freelance trainer what it is he should pass on to the new employee as it would to tell it directly to the employee, and the accuracy of the communication would suffer for going through a middleman. If the manager has trouble finding out what to tell the new hire in which order, why would he suddenly find this easier just because the listener is now a trainer rather than an employee?

        1. khilde*

          It would take just as much time for the manager to tell the freelance trainer what it is he should pass on to the new employee as it would to tell it directly to the employee, and the accuracy of the communication would suffer for going through a middleman. If the manager has trouble finding out what to tell the new hire in which order, why would he suddenly find this easier just because the listener is now a trainer rather than an employee?

          I can understand your point of view, Henning. I hadn’t actually thought of it that way. What came to mind as I read this paragraph, though, is that training professionals have tools and techniques at their disposal that could be more effective in conveying the information to employees than a manager would. This is perhaps oversimplifying (and I’m sure you’re going to shred me with your logic :)), but it sort of reminds me of being a parent. I have a 2 1/2 year old and I a can tell her 15 times to do or not do something. And she doesn’t listen. But someone else steps in and tells her once and she “gets” it. I truly do believe that people have different ways of explaining things and sometimes a person needs to hear it from someone else in order to understand it.

          As far as the part about “if the manager has trouble finding out what to tell the new hire,” I think that’s also the advantage of a training professional. Because they are experts on listening and analyzing and picking out things that a manager simply cannot see at times. I often get people asking for training in X. When I start talking to them and asking questions and listening to the content of their concerns, I start to think that they really need training in Y, based on what they’re telling me. So again, I think that’s the advantage that an outside consultant might bring: the very fact that he or she is from the outside and can see problems/issues that those on the inside may not due simply to being too close to the issue.

          1. Jamie*

            “What came to mind as I read this paragraph, though, is that training professionals have tools and techniques at their disposal that could be more effective in conveying the information to employees than a manager would.”

            This. When we embarked on the implementation of a new QC system I was somewhat skeptical about hiring an outside trainer. After all we wrote the procedures in house, it’s all spelled out in the docs and ISO standards – the trainer wouldn’t be bringing in any new information to the table, really. I was leaning toward saving the money and training in house – but boy am I glad we didn’t listen to me.

            We had someone come in weekly for four months – each training session would cover different topics to different personnel. He was a freaking genius. He took the concepts I had been trying to impart for the previous three months and communicated them in a way that resonated with everyone from the owners of the company to the entry level operators.

            He had a honed presentation which was clear and interesting, and since this is what he does – goes in as a hired gun to different companies – he was able to draw out of people the questions and concerns in a way I was not. I figured if people didn’t understand something they needed to tell me, and if they didn’t – well why not? He understood that some people are reticent to question, so he drew them out in a way that made it safe to give feedback.

            Without him, I don’t know what we’d have done – but we wouldn’t be on track to hit completion date, that’s for sure.

            The logical part of me just didn’t understand why we needed someone to come in and explain things, when they are already spelled out in the standards and the procedures. But the value is pushing the message out to everyone in a way that could be easily digested can’t be overstated.

            He had a rare gift where he would cover information which could be somewhat complex to a room full of 20 people of vastly different educational backgrounds and familiarity with the material and made it accessible to those who were learning of this for the first time while holding the interest and expanding the knowledge to others who had extensive professional experience with the topic. Now that’s a gift.

            I did email his boss with a less rambling version of the above – because when a trainer does it well the value they add is incalculable.

            1. khilde*

              Hooray!!! It’ s great to hear success stories like this. And I so appreciated the way you said that they add value. I hadn’t thought of it in those terms before, but that’s very accurate.

              I so aspire to be this type of trainer. I have been doing this for almost 6 years and I know that’s still very novice in the scheme of things, so I have some time to become awesome. I hear these stories and think, “gosh, could I ever do that?” It’s fun to hear the perspective and impact it had on the organization becuase that’s the stuff of life for trainers! Thanks for sharing it.

              1. Jamie*

                I wish I could say I improved my own skills in this area by watching him – but alas, no.

                I’d just observe like you do when watching the figure skaters at the Olympics…watching in awe people born with talent I could never possess – pointless to try.

                I think my problem is that while I have a better knowledge base than most of the differences in learning styles amongst people (info picked up parenting) when it comes to work I want everyone to learn in my preferred method: Read the documentation > ask clarifying questions if needed > voila – trained.

            2. Charles*

              Thank you Jamie & Khilde; That is exactly what trainers (the good ones anyway) do – we “translate” if you will.

              Not to say that you are like this; but, there are several folks are excellent at what they do; but, they are lousy at explaining it. That is where a good trainer comes into play.

              1. Henning Makholm*

                If the people who already know the information are lousy at explaining it to employees, why wouldn’t they be just as lousy at explaining it to a (good or bad) trainer?

          2. Henning Makholm*

            “What came to mind as I read this paragraph, though, is that training professionals have tools and techniques at their disposal that could be more effective in conveying the information to employees than a manager would.”

            Okay. But before the trainer can convey the information to employees, that information has to be conveyed to the trainer first, by someone who already knows it. How won’t that be just as hard as conveying it directly to the new employee?

            In any case, I think I would be rather miffled if I, as a new employee, were introduced to “Joe, whom we have hired to train you. Two weeks ago he didn’t know more about your job than you do now. But feel free to ask him anything; if he cannot answer immediately, he will go find out who in the company knows, and he will then prepare a presentation about it for you”.

            That would tell me that my manager and coworkers wanted to avoid interacting with me so much that they paid somebody explicitly to insulate me from them. Also it would put me in the position of never learning to locate information in the organization myself. After the trainer’s contract ended, the first time I needed a left-handed long-stapler I would be utterly lost unless I had been allowed to talk directly to sources and figure out who was good for asking which kind of questions.

            1. Henning Makholm*

              Thinking about it some more, I wouldn’t just be miffled — I would be positively offended that they thought me too stupid to gather the information myself from the same sources Joe would be using.

            2. Charles*

              “Joe, whom we have hired to train you. Two weeks ago he didn’t know more about your job than you do now.”

              Ha! What a way to introduce someone. That’s the kind of mentality that leads management into not hiring a trainer or even setting up a training program in the first place.

              1. Henning Makholm*

                If you think I’m wrong, why don’t you try to explain where I’m wrong (and what would be right) instead of just dismissing my argument as “the kind of mentality”?

                Even if somebody didn’t introduce a personal trainer with those precise words, it would still be the reality of what was happening. If it happened to me I would be deeply puzzled at why this employer chose to hire me in the first place.

        2. Charles*

          Sorry Henning; But I was making the suggestion to hire a trainer based upon someone’s else’s query.

          As for your scenario; No, it wouldn’t make any financial sense to have a full-time trainer on staff to train once in a blue moon.

          However, it would still make sense to bring in a trainer (or consultant) who would be able to get you set up with a decent training program as well as train-the-trainer.

  17. EngineerGirl*

    Why have procedures if you’re not going to train people? You can have. 30 minute tag ups with the team and then check back with them on a weekly basis.

    Create a slide show giving overviews of what needs to be accomplished. Have mini classes (no more than 1 hour) so people can break away without guilt.

    Make it all edible chunks. Modular. Independent.

    Create a web site where people can go for info. Create a “front door” page with more specific pages behind it. Organize it by task. I used a wiki site so team members could update info as needed.

    Think about creating a training CD for newbies.

    This sounds like a lot of work but the right person can whip it up quickly. The basics can be implemented in a few months.

    1. Charles*

      “Make it all edible chunks. Modular. Independent.”

      Yes! This is what often works. But, it does take quite a commitment to do this successfully. It cannot be just a matter of throwing things up online which is what many organizations expect.

      Womble (from above), what you need to do is hire someone specifically who has a background in creating custom training programs. You will, of course, have to expect some “wasted” time as they learn your systems, procdures, etc.

      I call it “wasted” as that is how so many organizations see it; but, it really isn’t wasted at all. An instructional designer will need that time to learn what is unique about your organization, your systems, your procedures, etc. It has to be this way if you want something customized to your organization.

      And, yes, EngineerGirl is right in that it can take a few months to do it. (too many companies that I have done work for expect it “overnight”)

  18. Suzanne*

    I could write a freaking book about this. The last 4 jobs I’ve had involved virtually no training. One involved several days training on the numerous computer systems we had to use. This “training” included the first few days of us in the training group not even being able to access the training computers because we had not been given logons. The job involved processing orders, which had any number of variables, through these systems. We did 2 (count ’em two) orders before we were thrown into the fray. Seasoned workers often asked us why we were doing things as we were; and then were told that what we had learned in training was wrong. There was a document online to help us with questions, which was incomplete. Once I asked about a situation which was not in the document and was tersely told, “We can’t put everything in there! It would be too long!” Mostly, we were told to just do whatever and we spent much of our time re-doing orders that were done wrong.

    The supervisor at one jobs stock answer to any question was “Look in the shared drive”. I discovered after working there almost a year that I was supposed to have been keeping all sorts of statistics that no one ever bothered to tell me about. There was no job description. I had to beg for an employee’s manual.

    I had a seasonal job at a store for which the training involved watching a safety video. That was it. Nothing on how to run the cash register, how to take care of a return…nothing. Just stand there and figure it out.

    My current job involved about 1.5 hours of training. Nothing on how to use the computer system, how to order what I needed to order, etc. After almost two years, I still can’t get a list of what vendors we use for supplies. I didn’t find out there even was an employee manual online until I’d been there a year.

    I’d give my eye teeth to find a job at a company that actually cares if you know what you’re doing and takes the time to make sure you do. I am beginning to believe they no longer exist. My background is not business, but even I can see that not training people might be cheaper on the front end but ends up costing more due to mistakes and turnover. As an employee, I would also tell every employer it leads to poor morale. If you don’t care enough to let me know what my job is, what you want done, and give me the tools to do it, why should I care? I won’t. I guarantee it.

  19. Anonymous*

    Just throwing this out there to add to OP’s original question (for everyone):

    Which is better in your experience: paid or unpaid training?

    1. Anonymous*

      Clarification: Better doesn’t mean it’s good because you’re getting paid for those hours. Better means the quality of training.

    2. Charles*

      Being paid to attend training? Or do you mean the trainer is being paid or not paid?

      For the first, the learner being paid doesn’t really impact training except in her attitude towards learning- “pay me or I don’t learn!?”

      As for the second, yea, maybe a “free” trainer will do a good job for a non-profit. But, not paying someone or not paying them enough for the training they provide is that same as any other profession – you get what you pay for.

      Does that answer your question?

  20. Jamie*

    “Well, aside from exceptions where there are government-imposed training requirements (like health care), the answer depends upon having good management in place.”

    ISO certified companies are required to have training requirements in place for each position, and records that the training was done and effectiveness verified.

    How well they follow it goes back to what Charles said about good management, but at least in those companies the structure is there.

  21. Charles*

    A final word –

    Alison, thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to put in my two cents.

    Hopefully, what little I have contributed here was found to be helpful to the OP and others.

    I also learned something here as well; boy, do I have a new found appreciation for what AAM does. It is a lot of work to turn out relevant and interesting blog posts everyday!

    Thank you!

  22. Jen M.*

    Yay! So glad to see a post from Charles!

    This is great advice. Unfortunately, speaking up as an employee doesn’t always do any good. It’s always worth a try, though.

  23. Marissa*

    I started my new job about 3 months ago. One day training on a very complex position. I have tons of expereince bu no background with this type of job before. The trainer is not helpful and doesn’t really want to give up her job although she moved up! I think she wants me to fail. I feel like I’ve been setup for failure. Everything has been trial and error. Last week I was counseled for my errors. I am very nervous and don’t really like this job. Not sure what to do because I need this job.

  24. D. Lemons*

    I can also relate. My last two positions the companies put people through a training program (by trainers who themselves were not suffiently trained) like we were products on a conveyor belt.The companies have an incentive to get people up to speed as quickly as possible. This is often due to the fact that today, so many companies have a “suddenly fire” and “suddenly hire” philosphy. They don’t make the necessary investments in trying to hire the right people like they use to.

    This is a growing issue.

  25. KG*

    About a week ago I was hired at a local Super 8 for the front desk position. It was morning shift and i had no previous experience in hotel reception. They only gave me 6 hours of training which was spaced apart (every other day). They gave me one hour of training on the first day, two hours the next day, and 3 hours on my last day of training. They told i would get 4 days of training but on the third day they decided i would start at 7 the next morning. I tried very very hard to ask as many questions i could think of so i wouldn’t be totally fucked. I was very nervous and knew i would make a lot of mistakes, but i also thought they would be understanding of it since i had very little training. So i found myself on the verge of tears on that first day because i was so overwhelmed and realized that there were a lot of things that they just didn’t show me how to do. i got yelled at over the phone by a woman trying to make reservations. The device used to program the room keys was not working. I forgot to ask how to transfer calls to rooms so i got yelled at by a lot of people who were trying to contact the guests. I was told by all the girls that trained me that if i needed help at all i could call them and they would tell me what to do. none of them were answering their phones. SO when my manager showed up i was very relieved because I had a lot of questions. I told him how i was having trouble with all these things. He goes in the back room for a bit and comes out with a check and says the job is too hard for me and he has to let me go. I tell him that with more training it could have been a lot easier. I understand that they just didn’t have the time to train me and that he was doing what he thought was best as an employer. But i could have been spending all this time looking for another job and completing my unemployment app. I feel like he completely wasted my time. And the way he let me go was pretty insulting. “i think it’s just too hard for you.” I could have done it with adequate training. I worked as a housekeeper at two hotels previous to this and they gave me two weeks of training. they made sure i had everything down. If this employer were smarter, he would have sought out someone with more experience who would have required less training instead of wasting my time. I have expenses to pay. This was just not right. Am i wrong? please tell me if i am….

    1. Spiffy*

      No. You didn’t do anything wrong. Your manager was not helpful or judicial in his approach to how he handled the situation.

      I am now starting my own business because of how awful I have been treated here in Dallas at the job I last worked at. I worked for a company called Pinnacle Technical Resources who had a major contract with AT&T. The company undercut us every day. Refused to give us breaks. Forced overtime with no Holiday or OT pay. Gave us one restroom break in a 14 hour shift which only could be 4 minutes long even though the restroom was a 8 minute walk away from us as we were all in a very huge building.

      Management would intentionally send out incorrect information when they wanted to fire someone and then fire people for following the directions they sent out. When it was brought to HR’s attention they did nothing.

      When work became slow the company hired a law firm out of New York State to fight all the unemployment claims and instructed management to find reasons to fire people. Long term associates. Who had no warning. If they missed one call or made one minor mistake they were suddenly gone. It didn’t matter how good of an employee they had been or how excellent their reviews were.

      The company terminated over 60% of its staff suddenly and then went back and tried to fight everyone’s unemployment claim. The unemployment office paid the claims anyway. I guess they knew it was layoff.

      That was just one firm. I had another job that committed wage theft against employees by forcing us to work off the clock and if you complained you were fired.

      Companies now mistreat people. They are not ethical anymore. If they ever were. I have a friend who worked for a temp agency here in Dallas that refused to pay her and lied like they kept sending the check until she threatened to file a wage claim and then the company paid her. But they lied to the unemployment office like she quit when the company HR told her the company refused to negotiate with thier fees and they decided to go through another agency.

      Business People are often unethical. Its the drive for profit. That runs so deep it can be considered greed. That’s why they are sending all the jobs to sweatshop countries.

  26. Jill Fellows*

    I have been in my new job just 3 weeks: I was told during my interview that I would have to learn a new skills: ordering and processing invoices (not the normal tasks a pharmacy assistant has to undertake). The upshot is I have been asked to leave as I have not learnt a very complicated system quickly enough. My sales and customer service are perfect I am told; but I have been deemed a slow learner and that has cost me the job. I am now desperately trying to find a new job, purely because the training I was given was too rushed. I am now looking outside pharmacy because quite honestly the knowledge one has to have now, is sadly underpaid at $18.00 an hour. When one door shuts, another opens!

  27. Steph*

    Let me just say that I’ve had it with these seriously psycho people who think training is a loss of productivity or whatever. I wish I could watch every single one of them thrown to the dogs the way some of us have been. I can tell you without one shred of doubt they would be screaming, crying and bitching the loudest for training. These people are called narcissists and sociopaths and are incapable of caring about anyone but themselves. Good luck.

  28. Sweet and Petite*

    Properly and fully training employees from the get-go would prevent a lot of problems. I had the conveyor belt type training at my former job, where I had to ask questions or management would assume I knew what I was doing. That’s bad. There were things that I didn’t find out about until later, which I should’ve been trained to do from the very beginning. Now that that chapter has ended, I can start the next one and build my skills from there.

  29. S.R.*

    My sister just got her first job a couple of days ago and already they haver her working a full 9-5 hour shift. She comes home every day stressed out because she still doesn’t understand how to work the register and every time she asks a manager for clarification they never answer her and do it themselves. Even during downtime they never explain how to do things and get mad when she messes up.

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