Daria’s  Perspective

Training and the Learning Curve

By Daria Campbell

When I was a teenager in New York all I wanted to do was get a job. At the time the coveted job was working for McDonald’s. After a few attempts, I finally got a job at my local McDonalds at the tender age of 14.

When I think of McDonald’s in those days I will always remember how thoroughly they trained me. The first week was all about watching training videos with matching manuals and being quizzed on what we had learned each step of the way before we were even allowed to touch a register or a grill. They wanted to be 100% sure we were confident in the procedures, policies and rules before we represented them to the public. When you were finally handed your uniform and given your shifts it was like you had won the Nobel Peace Prize. Such an honour.

I look back over my career now and realise this was my benchmark for the way a company should treat their employees and as I have gotten older I notice it is slowly dissolving to the detriment of employers and employees.

As the Recruitment Consultant for the Temporary Desk in my office, I am challenged to find quality candidates to fill roles, very fast, based on the urgency of the need. Therefore I have to look for people who have done the same type of work so that they can “hit the ground running.”

I hate this phrase. First of all if you are ever “hitting” the ground, you would not run after you touched down, would you? No, you would stop and take stock that you haven’t broken anything and you are not in pain. Then you would get moving.

After an interview and a candidate is chosen for a role this is based on both parties believing the role can and will be done. However, no matter how much experience one has there is still a learning curve in a new work environment for both parties.

I am seeing a trend where the learning curve is being dismissed or ignored. I believe when the learning curve is cut down or vanishes you have a perfect opportunity for miscommunication between the two parties. The Temp is saying, “Why aren’t they training me right?” and the Client is saying “What is wrong with them? They should know this already.”

I understand that training people takes valuable time but I also understand that not training people correctly will cause a Client even more time and money as they look for the next person to fill the role and the cycle starts all over again.

Is this the new normal in the workplace? Is the one on one interaction of training staff been replaced with a quick online tutorial and then thrown into the deep?

If so I give this advice to anyone starting a new role. Don’t rely on great training, because you may not get it. Go into a role ready to learn all you can a quickly as you can. Don’t expect anyone to hold your hand but do ask questions, take notes, write down how to do things step by step so you can refer back. No one can fault you for asking a question that will help you do your job better. And most importantly communicate. Talk to your Manager and try to sort out any rough spots early so that you don’t feel neglected, and hurt later on.

I do believe with all that is going on in the world right now people are “pressed” for time, but all the best relationships in life personal and work-related, are built up over time and
therefore worth the investment.