Two Thousand Seventeen! It’s a fresh new year and Reuben, a young budding senior manager with a reputed IT Company, is raring to go. The holidays are over and he is fresh as ever, there is a spring in his step and he is ready to shine as bright as possible to get noticed by eyes that matter. His targets are simple — no matter what he is assigned, big or small, he is going to nail it and do it better than anyone else.
The day begins with the 1st quarterly meeting to discuss roles, responsibilities, targets and projections. Reuben, along with a significant number of colleagues, enter the conference room. After 3 grueling hours we see all our high spirited managers glumly meandering out of the conference room. The straight postures, spring in the steps and jovial cacophony reduced to incoherent mumblings and a posture that looked like they were punched in the gut and then their spines removed. 3 hours! That’s how long it took to kill the new year’s high!
Reuben was particularly disheartened because in addition to the unbelievable work load and unrealistic timelines they were assigned, he got an extra shot of work, possibly due to his youthful exuberance. He was given the unenviable task of handling mandatory trainings. Mandatory training is the easiest way to become the most hated guy in office and the most mocked guy. Nobody wants to forcefully sit for training classes at an age when they have their own kids they send to school. As a manager the task was three pronged: create the training, complete the training and then the hardest part to get other employees to do it through any means possible that went from begging all the way to threatening.
Reuben knew what lay ahead and decided that this year there would be a difference in mandatory training — he wanted to make people get up and notice him for the right reasons. He decided to find out first what bugged employees the most about mandatory training. The learning’s were quite insightful as it shed light on some popular misconceptions he had.
For instance he learnt that a majority of the people don’t prefer a complete online only training session or a complete classroom only training session. Most felt that when they are forced to sit in a class all day or in front of a PC all day long, then the dull material becomes even more boring. One other strong message was that people hate absurd un-relatable scenarios which they cannot associate with. Apart from these the trainers also need to take into account the length of the course (most people get restless after 20 minutes of inactivity) and include quizzes and games to make the training session more interactive.
Taking his findings Reuben decided to change the game. He first drew up a plan where the course was bifurcated into 2 parts where concepts are explained in the classroom but then students try out samples online as well as do research to provide answers. These classes were short and crisp with each lesson not more then 10–15 minutes and likewise with the online work. A big part of what was important was that ensuring all the examples and formulas were relatable to real life practical scenarios within the office. Without this most employees wouldn’t value the knowledge they received. Lastly he set up a quiz that required these employees to actually think about the answer and work their minds.
What all this resulted in was a massive improvement in morale within the employees who took the course. Reuben didn’t get mocked, which itself was a huge relief and possibly the first time ever in the company or maybe even any company, employees said thank you the trainer. Reuben may not have changed the company’s fortunes with his findings but he did make learning a lot more bearable and interesting. A little knowledge and information always goes a long way.