Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Mandatory Training

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Mandatory Training

Article excerpt

THE FIRST QUESTION IS PHILOSOPHIcal. "When do you make a training course mandatory?" And the answer is clear and simple to most senior trainers: "As seldom as possible."

If a training course is mandatory, participants will approach it with no enthusiasm whatsoever. They will resent the imposition on their time and they will resent being coerced. There will be a tendency to transfer this resentment to the trainer. At the very least, it will be almost impossible for the trainer to create a positive, spirited dynamic with the group.

Also, mandatory classes are more work for the already overworked training staff. The no-show rate is higher and the cancel/reschedule rate is much higher. This involves a lot of tracking down, cajoling and paperwork. And the enrollees don't help much, because they don't want to go.

And finally, if you are trying to get participants to buy in to certain ideas, it is counterproductive to make the training mandatory. For instance, if you make your diversity course mandatory, people will be turned off to diversity before the facilitator even opens his or her mouth, simply because they are irritated at being there.

The second question is interpretive: "Given that it's not desirable to make a training course mandatory, what courses need to be mandatory?"

The answers fall into three groups. The first group consists of any training that a person must complete in order to work for your company. Every employee must know what your system security policies are, how vacation and sick time are reported, how to enroll in your benefit programs and a handful of other basics. These are usually lumped into an orientation program, and it must be mandatory. (The common practice of excusing upper managers from attending orientation is very bad. You wind up with executives who know less about the company policies than anybody else. And you communicate that the rules are for everybody--except some people.)

Second, training that is designed to preclude legal action against the company must be mandatory. In our industry, compliance training is the obvious example. Many companies also make harassment training or workplace violence training mandatory, and this is a good idea. …

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