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Davis Brown Employment and Labor Law Blog

Mark Twain Was Right - Training is Everything - August 7, 2012

Mark Twain provided many of the great quotes of American literature, at least many of the sarcastic ones, and he said, "Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond and a cauliflower is but a cabbage with a college education." I agree with Mark Twain about training, laws and sausages and a wide variety of other things but I would want to add an addendum (I am a lawyer, I always want to add an addendum) that training, while everything, is only valuable if your employees remember it.

One of the things we do in "training" is a full day data dump with our employees. We bring a new employee in, we put them in a small room for three days and we tell them everything we ever wanted them to know about the company.  When they walk out of that room they might remember their name, how many vacation days they have, where to clock in and that is about it. Sometimes they do not even remember where to clock in. A common quote for these intensive training sessions from new employees when you take a deposition is, "yeah, we did something on that but you know, I don't remember it, it was in there somewhere." This does not have much value for improving your employees' behavior and it doesn't have much value to show that you did what the law requires, which is train your employees in the appropriate procedures and processes.

I do a lot of training for managers and general employees regarding employment law and health care operations. When I do this, I always think about what I want them to remember when they walk out the door. Every trainer, every lawyer, every manager has a different set of take-aways. There is something that we each think is important and we want you to remember. However, when I think about it, I think about what questions I get on a regular basis. What I do know I have told my employers and yet they still have concerns.These aren't necessarily questions that relate to the core of the statute or even the most complex issue, but basic issues that seem to be mistaken or forgotten on a regular and consistent basis.


This post is the first in a seven-part series. The subsequent posts will discuss topics ranging from ADAAA to substance abuse training. Check back each week for a new topic.