We talk about being the fly on the wall or the mouse in the wall that can hear every thing going on everywhere. This is more than water cooler buzz. Employees want to know what their bosses really think of them and bosses want to know what employees think about them, about the company, etc. Training is often sought out as the reason when something doesn’t feel right in the company anymore. Sometimes it is a training problem. Often it’s not. The solution, however, can be found by the mouse in the wall.
I believe Anonymous(e) Training (its sophisticated name) is coming back. I just made up that term, but I think it’ll make sense to you in a minute. You’ve seen Undercover Bosses or some other reality show like it. There is another related reality show–where someone comes in from outside and discovers what’s really wrong your failing business. Now is the time for Anonymous(e). The mouse in the wall can determine what, if any training, needs the company has, and idenify the other general needs that training can’t fix.
Now, I’m not saying it’s because of Generation Y that we need to do this, but they are our youngest workers. We need to start there anyway.
With more free time and easy access to electronic devices, the new generation entertains themselves clandestinely rather than work. Talk about productivity taking a dive and the only person who seems to care is you. Any time they are bored, out come the electronic devices; they can do both: the minimum standard at work and play games, surf the Net, watch videos, or listen to outrageous. What does it matter? They’re getting the job done. You may say, “It’s not true.” It is. The minimum standard can kill productivity, but you knew that already.
I’ve heard it from my own students’ mouths–that is from those who work. They do it in class, too. They are truly multi-tasking. Don’t think they won’t do it in a meeting. They can turn off the sound and still use their smart phone or tablet a hundred different ways and still look like they are paying attention. They can’t really help it if their brains operate faster than the information they are handed. Attitudes worsen usually when they are given something in a form that is foreign to them–in paper. It’s not a giant leap backwards, but it does feel a bit awkward. When was the last time, you used an actual typewriter?
Consider this, the newest generation of college grads rarely take notebooks to class–at least not paper ones. Some of the students may have gone to a high school that had all their books online. In fact, it’s rare that my college students have to buy books. They are quick to say their minds are so used to flying faster than they used to the second they become bored they turn to electronic games or the social network. And they are addicted to their use as well.
Getting them to go “cold turkey” in the office is easy. Buy a couple of devices that make getting a signal impossible. Now you may find more people taking smoke breaks, but you can manage that as well. That’s the Y generation, I think…just one group of workers.
X and the rest of us come next.
Most of us have adapted, except poor, old Betty in the corner there. She’ll sit there until she dies; she even take a downgrade rather than learn something. But we have adjusted, and we find that some of us are just as addicted as the Y generation. That’s not the worst of it. We are looking at our job differently. We are sure we are doing the job as we used to only it doesn’t seem good enough. We used to get awards. Office politics, boss’s pet, etc. Anyone to blame but ourselves.
Here’s where Anonymous(e) Training comes in. The mouse has to be a real “people” person to ask random employees to give him or her a run-down of the office. If the office is big enough, the mouse will be practically invisible; however, in a smaller office, the manager may have to announce a new person in the office just hired (not high enough up, low enough to be non-threatening) and the mouse will be going around getting “acquainted.” How it functions. Who’s the boss’s pet? Who’s the biggest slacker or slackers. Believe me, the mouse will get different takes from each person, except on those things that really matter. That’s what we want to collect.
Some bosses object to having a stranger lurking about the office and having his or her employees “airing the bad laundry” “telling all the dirty little secrets” “telling where the bodies are buried”–whatever cliché you want, but that’s not what we are looking for as trainers.
I realize that corporate consultants can do the same thing and that they usually perform their analysis from higher up. They could do this if they were young enough to fit in, while trainers are looking to see if there is a training solution at area closest to where productivity actually happens. It’s not meant to be a situation where the trainer is going to inform on the employee for saying something negative about the boss personally either, but rather form generalities that management can fix on its own or discover what is truly a training issue.
Now, we just need the owner, CEO, board chairman, president of the company or whoever makes those decisions to let the mice in.
Well, that’s all for me. I hope this blog was a little different. I do try to be different and I hope that sometimes I make sense.
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