If you saw my post on my HR Predictions for 2013 you have some idea why supervisory training will be critical in 2013. The government is going to be very active in watching for potential discrimination, overtime violations and safety violations and where the “rubber meets the road” is in the actions of supervisors.
Supervisors are the focal point
Most employee-company interactions occur through a supervisor or manager. Supervisors are the first generally to learn of someone’s illness, disability, or family situation. They are closer to the employees than anyone in HR and thus would be the first to notice any unusual behavior, changes in productivity or alterations in relationships with fellow workers. They are also often the cause of problems with employees because of their own behavior. Regardless, often when a government entity begins an investigation they focus on the actions and behaviors of supervisors and managers.
Because the government is focusing on your supervisors and managers perhaps you should too. Far too many businesses take a very qualified worker and make them a supervisor. This is sometimes a good thing, sometimes it is not. Often we promote these people with little or no training, as if giving them the title imbues with them all the knowledge and skills necessary to be the supervisor. Unfortunately this is not correct. They need training and a lot of it.
What training is needed?
Where do I start with such a list? Here is a starting list:
- People skills– How to talk to people is always a good starting place. Supervisors and managers often have a difficult time in delivering good news, constructive feedback, discipline, performance evaluation, a compliment or just a general critique.
- Interview training– The EEOC this year is going to put an emphasis on the hiring and recruitment process. They will be looking for systemic issues, which translates to trouble absent a consistent and well documented interview process. Focus should be on job relatedness and consistency across applicants.
- Harassment training– Harassment, especially sexual harassment, provides extra problems for companies. Supervisors need to be trained on what it is, how to recognize it, what the company policy is, how to respond to it, how to report it and what their responsibility entails. They should also be told about the extra exposure they personally have in the process.
- Disability/FMLA/GINA– The ADA and FMLA have become much more difficult to deal with. The definition of disability has greatly expanded and supervisors need to know about that expansion. They need to know that how they react to news of a potential disability or leave request can set the stage for a lawsuit down the road. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act can catch a supervisor unawares if they have no idea what it is.
- Wage and Hour issues- Supervisors need to understand the issues surrounding having employees working overtime. They need to be aware of why you cannot ask an employee to work “off the clock”. They need to be aware of how overtime and other supplemental pay issues can create a “wage bill” that may accumulate to a large number if not attended to.
- Safety- Supervisors need to be aware of the OSHA requirements that apply to their industry. They need to be trained in “safety attitude” for both themselves and their employees.
- Unions- The NLRB is making inroads into union and nonunion companies alike. They are passing judgment on social media policies, at-will policies, confidentiality policies, and more. They are working to speed up time and ease the roadblocks to unions successfully organizing a company’s workforce. Supervisors need to be taught the signs and signals to watch for and how they are to respond.
Training supervisors and managers will save companies untold amounts of money, lost productivity, ill-will, turnover, lawsuits, etc. The cost to do this training will seem miniscule in comparison. There are many ways to provide training from in-house or well-designed OJT programs. Numerous resources exist to provide on-line or in-person training. Omega HR Solutions, Inc. provides some supervisory training both on-line and in-person.
Regardless of what resource is used, you need to recognize the importance in 2013 of providing protective supervisory training.