Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel?
While working on a prior project, I was part of a large team of corporate trainers and instructional designers. The education, experience and skills levels were as varied as the colors in the crayon box. However, after the project expanded, thus requiring additional headcount, a secondary team of “experts” were hired.
This second team of trainers quickly demonstrated some alarming traits within their ranks. Ungrateful, frustrating, incompetent, unwilling, lazy, untrained, unfocused team members. I could go on. After struggling for months on the project to create a sense of team spirit, and identifying team goals at every boring weekly conference call held with the site project manager, the particular team displayed no sense of team synergy, competency or client focus.
In fact, the back stabbing and snide commentary only escalated. The project manager was seemingly oblivious, alternately instigating and encouraging the negative, ladder-climbing, competitive atmosphere.
- Our customers, the actual class attendees, were arriving to the training center to find the front lobby door locked. Apparently, there were no resources available to assist them at 7:30am, despite the fact that classes were scheduled to begin promptly at 8am.
- There were reports of instructors who arrived after the attendees. If the instructor was not available, the attendees were required to wait for the guard to make his normal rounds to unlock the main lobby door, and allow them to enter the training center.
- Once inside, the attendees then navigated the training center issues locating the correct classroom (no receptionist, missing instructor). Once in the classroom, many users encountered little instruction regarding computer login requirements. Reportedly, classes routinely started 15 to 45 minutes later than the scheduled start time. Several evaluations, it was reported that many participants were spending quality time on their smartphones, while awaiting the start of the training sessions.
Preparation Checklist activities were routinely ignored. This new group of trainers routinely left the classroom at the end of the day unkempt and ill prepared for the next day’s training sessions. The professional, experienced trainers routinely checked every classroom in the training center to ensure that each room was setup for the upcoming sessions. This included printing up agendas and rosters for every trainer scheduled to deliver training, including several who historically arrived moments before the class started.
Learning & Development Policy for Class Prep
The L&D policy required trainers to arrive at least one hour prior to class start time to ensure adequate preparation time. The goal was not only to assist fellow trainers on the team, but the primary focus was to enhance the learning experience for our clients. Additionally, the policy targeted consistent quality of experience from the moment attendees walked into the front door through completing class evaluations.
The project manager flew onsite to visit the center every couple of weeks. The implementation project had a communication plan that required weekly conference calls with the team members.
The client had complained internally to their management. Client executive management had complained to our consulting team management.
There was a brief comment acknowledging the issues on the conference call, but no call to action. No inspection and verification that change was occurring. No identification of best practices as visual examples for the less experienced team members. Many of the newer team members had never had formal training in the profession, let alone courses in time management, preparation, training delivery, questioning techniques or presentation skills.
Apparently, the criteria for hiring was a youthful appearance and a reduced billable rate. Many had received only “Just-in-time” training, which lacked the basic concepts and foundation necessary for delivering high quality, measurable learning results.
I was done. I was tired of covering up for lackluster performances, accompanied by lackluster preparation and follow-up.
The Band-Aid Approach
As a response to the lackluster training received, I was routinely called by the client project manager to perform “triage” re-training to individual client professionals. The purpose was to expand and solidify the training the client should have received. The client responded with glowing written and verbal feedback to the project manager and to myself.
Finally, after several months, exhausted and frustrated – I turned in my badge.
Have you ever had enough?