Comply, Interact, Achieve: How an Intentional Approach to Training Pays Off



By Lydia Riesch, AEM Project Director, Human Resources & Operations —

Times have changed, expectations are different, and training should evolve as well. But what does it take to actually move your entire organization forward?

With as many as five generations in the workforce today, expectations about what it means to be professional can vary quite a bit from person to person or organization to organization. With that being said, I’d like to suggest some basics…

If you think of training like a pyramid, several forms of it work together to create a compliant, welcoming, and high-functioning organization. At the bottom is what is necessary for compliance. At AEM, we offer Supervisor and the Law Training as our annual reminder to leaders of people on how to avoid stumbling into legal or compliance employment issues. The training spans a number of topics, including employment law, harassment, FMLA, and documentation, and it helps us ensure legal requirements are being met.

In the middle of the pyramid is what’s necessary for us to engage in productive and respectful interactions with one other. Simply stated, it’s how we build our culture. At AEM, we provide Unconscious Bias Training and Bystander Intervention Training to build skills in inclusiveness and allyship.

Unconscious Bias Training reminds us of the types of unconscious discrimination and stereotyping that can exist based on factors such as race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, and age. The training is full of exercises designed to help us identify ways in which we may overlook our own unconscious bias, and how we can be more intentional in our approach to ensure any bias will be reduced.

Bystander Intervention Training focuses on how can support people around us in situations of disrespect. We’ve all experienced awkward situations where we’ve witnessed unpleasant moments playing out around us. This training empowers people to safely intervene on behalf of the person being victimized and proven intervention strategies to drive desired outcomes.

Taken together, these trainings help us as team members interact in ways that build positive and lasting working relationships.

Finally, at the top of the pyramid is how we achieve. This is where leadership at all levels sets the tone for the entire organization. We offer our leaders of people a series of training and coaching sessions to encourage best practices in developing their teams. Experiential exercises in coaching, delegation, and critical conversations prepare leaders with skills to lead high-functioning teams capable of advancing our priorities and achieving our goals.

AEM encourages its members and industry peers to think strategically about compliance, interaction, and achievement, as well as map out training currently being offered into these three categories. Because, when organizations have leaders leading well, there’s so much to be gained: better engagement and relationships with one another, compliance with legal requirements, a stronger foundation, and – most importantly – sustained organizational success.

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