How to Determine When Lack of Training Isn’t an Excuse Anymore



This article was inspired by a recent post I came across on the internet. To sum a long story up, an employee was not trained for a basic function of her job and upset a customer. The customer was very irritated because the employee wasn’t able to help them out when they were in a hurry. At the end of the interaction the employee was verbally warned by her manager for a lack of performance.

The employee reached out wanting to know how she should respond to the verbal warning. Like most jobs, a verbal warning is the first of only a few corrective action processes before potential termination. To make matters worse, this employee is new to the company.

Before you accept training as the issue, check these off your list:

  • The employee has recently performed the tasks with success 
  • When discussing performance gaps, the employee says they understand how to complete a task they just don’t want to 
  • You have provided the same opportunities for others who have been successful, AND the employee can’t suggest additional resources or specific areas to develop themselves
  • You have asked other successful leaders and employees to assist with this employee’s development; they have also provided feedback that the employee isn’t showing signs of improving

If you have said yes to any of the above mentioned items, more than likely training is not the issue. You will hear employees tell you all the time that training is the reason they are not able to perform. If you are constantly bought in to this, you will never be able to truly develop and hold your team accountable.

As for the post from the employee with the verbal warning:

I don’t believe this associate had proper training. She was new to the organization and the leader didn’t have an initial conversation to identify training needs for her job. Unfortunately this associate is in a probationary period where her performance is essential to keeping her job. My suggestion to this employee would be to request a meeting with her leader and discuss her passion for improvement.

During this meeting she needs to layout her understanding of the role, as well as the training that she has identified as necessary to complete her daily assignments. If she is already moving down the corrective action process, I would recommend that she asks for a specific plan to follow, and have consistent check-ins for progress. This will not only protect the employee, but it truly will assure she is being developed.

Develop daily,

Michael Dooley
 What do you think about this associate? How should this leader proceed?

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