Workplace training = suspended animation

We are currently experiencing a bit of a workload spike here at the office. No big deal, but some folk will have to crank a bit for the next month or two to stay ahead of it. So, what is the appropriate management response? Schedule sensitivity training!

Anyone ever undergo any on-the-job training that was worth a damn? I’m asking about sensitivity/motivational types of training (altho most of the “skills” training I’ve been exposed to has been pretty lacking as well.)

Yesterday we spent 4 hours on mandatory “Age Diversity Training.” I have a nifty binder to prove it! (I’m not aware of any recent “ageist” incidents that gave rise to a need for such training.) The training basically consisted of listening to a woman present what she clearly considered to be amusing “facts” about characteristics of different age groups – boomers, busters, cuspers, netsters…

As an example of her quality info, she said consider Abercrombie and Fitch. Tho they attempted to market to a hip young audience, that crowd bought their clothes at second hand shops. A&F should follow the successful lead of the Gap and market to aging boomers.

Um – a couple of problems there. If young folk avoid A&F as you say, why do your written handouts describe social values for “netsters" including “Get it at Abercrombie’s?” And before anyone imitates the Gap’s tremendously successful strategy, I suggest they check out that company’s less than tremendously successful financial record of late.

Multiply this by 4 hours and you will have some idea of what 50 of us sat through. And I finished the three crossword puzzles I brought with me during the first 90 minutes! At least they had snacks.

If I made either the gross generalizations this speaker made, or emulated her attempts at humor, I’d be written up on disciplinary charges. She provided little to no support for her alleged “facts,” which most frequently seemed to be nothing more than anecdotes she considered amusing and that fit her chosen message. She made no attempt to tailor her written or oral materials to our particular audience (other than the nifty title page on the handout.) And I’m sure she made big bucks for wasting our time.

So what is your experience?
Have you ever had motivational or sensitivity training in the workplace that was worth a damn?
Do the folk providing these services think they are actually providing something of value, or are they honest with themselves in acknowledging what a great scam they have going?
Are managers really stupid enough to think this accomplishes anything other than wasting otherwise productive time and allowing them to say they conducted such training?

Whenever I leave a session like that, I always feel that since my bosses just saw fit to waste a certain number of my hours, I bear the duty of wasting an equal amount of time myself. So I took a nice long run down the lakefront to clear my head. That was nice!

Pretty much any sort of corporate non-job related training is the touch of death. During my previous semester of college, I took a course in organizational communication theory. FOUR MONTHS of this crap. You’d come in to class, sit down, be lectured at/discuss reading with classmates/etc for two hours, at the end of which you’d find out that the sole amount of theoretical discourse on the topic amounts to about 3 papers, none of which are newer than 15 years…maddening…and this is the theoretical basis for the good (ie “informed”) stuff you learn in these seminars. The rest is all wild conjecture and fringe theory (adapted scientology, adapted pop psychology, modified EST, etc, etc, etc).

The only thing worse than bringing in “experts” is having the training developed and presented by in-house personnel. We had to sit thru 8 hours of said fiasco a few years back. It was supposed to be a celebration of diversity, or some such crap. At one point, they wanted us to stand together and recite: “I deserve to be treated with respect!” Instead, those around me were saying “I deserve to be treated like an ADULT!!!”

Then when the attorney got up and started with the preacher-style “Can I get an AMEN?” Whew, did that go over well… :rolleyes:

The entire day was insulting, and, of course, all those who were involved in planning and performing got awards. If they ever try that stunt again, I plan to be sick…

I had to attend a Time Management seminar.
The “expert” was 45 minutes late .