If I had a dime for each time I was asked to train employees on things that sent my eyebrow all the way to Brazil and back, it would pay for my upcoming trip to Kilimanjaro.
You know what I mean if you are involved in employee development in one way or another. We are asked to deliver training that either makes no sense or is silly. So here it goes with my comebacks :-):
"We need to train everyone on entrepreneurial spirit," said my GM. I looked at him, and I said, "The reason we are all employed by someone is because we fundamentally lack this, how do you want me to train them?" Entrepreneurs and creative people don't work in large organisations shackled by rules, policies, regulations, Finance, and HR. They are somewhere where freedom is given.
"Can you train these girls to smile?" my other GM asked when they hired Eastern European girls. Me: "They are Eastern Europeans, we don't smile for no reason." My GM: "You smile. You are Eastern European too. Teach them." I said nothing, and we went for a coffee. (No offence to the EE community out there)
"Can we organise telephone training for the switchboard staff?" asked the Director of Rooms. Me: Sure, what is it they would need? Him: To understand what those buttons are for on the phone. Me: Press them and see what happens.
"Can you do some empowerment training with the housekeeping team?" Me: sure, what's the issue? My GM: we got a complaint that the guest didn't like the sleepers, so he put them in the bin. The housekeeping colleague emptied the bin as usual and didn't ask the guest why he threw the sleepers without using them. Me: How is this an empowerment issue? She did as we trained her. GM: Yes, but it would have been nice to ask. I said ok, and I forgot about the whole thing. A day later, I casually chatted about it with the colleague. No empowerment training!
"We need to do a training about washing hands as I see colleagues leaving the toilet without it." Me: We just came out of covid, and every government's agenda on this planet was to teach people to wash their hands. If they still don't get it well, I am sorry. Put a poster up or wash it for them.
"Szilvia, can you design a harassment session for the senior corporate team?" My HR VP. Me: What's happened? HR: I received complaints that the sales & marketing VP inserts his leg between the ladies' legs when he greets them with a kiss on their cheeks, making them very uncomfortable. I just sat at my desk for five minutes, digesting the picture and said: I will also include that the Revenue VP told the three of us the other day how beautiful we looked four times in approximately 30 seconds. I designed this training, and my HR VP delivered it. The funny thing was that the sales and marketing guy still didn't get the memo and argued that it was customary in his country. At some point, I just looked at him and said, ok, but don't do it here.
Sometimes I wonder if managers and leaders know what L&D is for.
Here is how to structure your L&D so you don't end up with these requests.