October 3rd, 2008

poland

Some thoughts on Onboarding Training


Day 2
Originally uploaded by nice_cup_of_tea
Today was a long old day and I don't know who was the tired in the end, me or my nine new hires!

It is always the challenge when designing a training program. From a content and learning point of view, I know how much time and space I need to plan. Business though, inevitably wants to cut down the induction period to make it as efficient as possible. And the more I talk about the need for staff to reflect on their learning, to work together, to have time to process and use and practice the information, the more business rolls their eyes and cuts another day!

Actually, that's not quite fair. The new head of this business area in Poland is keen for the Onboarding program to be longer, but then it looks like it was my idea to make is so short. And now that the project people see that their staff are overwhelmed, everyone's feedback of "we need to plan more time", conflicts pretty harshly with their arguments a few months ago to cut the program. Very frustrating, but that's life.

Anyway, today was long and tiring. I found myself automatically taking charge and leading from the front. I co-moderated a few sessions with my various trainers and supported them. Another challenge was that not everyone spoke English, or German. So we had trainers having to use both languages and the slides were all in English.

In the evening, there was an official meal in one of the good restaurants in Wroclaw for all the project staff involved in this October onboarding. I had time to catch up with top management that I supported last year and had some very funny conversations with my HR counterpart and the STAs (Short Term Assigneees) who will be there in Wroclaw. Afterwards we went to Manana, a student pub/club opposite the main business hotel. We were a bunch of 6 swiss "suits" in a heaving mass of trendy students. And we all felt at least 10 years too old to be in there legitimately!! At 11 oclock sharp the bar area seemed to turn into a impromptu dance floor - the poles love to dance and even a few swiss besuited bottoms were twitching. We finally escaped at about midnight, before I turned into a pumpkin. Again, another late night. Boy, it's a a hard life in the Business School...
wroclaw city hall

What do these symbols mean?

Final day today and again very busy. Technical highlight of the day was a video conference with Zurich. The group are really warming up and communicating with each other and with me. It is always heartening when staff begin to really tell you what they need or want. Downpoint of the day was that I completely worked through lunch and when I went to the pantry, the table of food had been completely cleared - there were literally just 2 grapes left!!

Had a long feedback meeting with the management team and we need to make some changes for November - they really want me to come back and lead it again - which is a compliment, I think :-)

I had a really interesting meeting and discussion with the head of the centre here about management, leadership and culture. I learnt a lot and it was valuable to hear the other parts of the story. The afternoon sped by and I finished the day by moderating a feedback discussion. The two managers who were also taking part were really complimentary afterwards. It is easy to forget how many training and moderating skills come to me automatically. And it always good to be asked for advice on my subject matter knowledge. And I managed to send the trainees home ahead of time.

This evening I met a polish colleague / friend for a meal. She teaches and studies intercultural communication, so we had a fascinating discussion about Poland, Germany, Switzerland and culture generally.

In answer to my question, these two symbols are the toilet icons here in Poland. We females are round, the chaps are triangles! I promised Gosia that in honour of our evening, so woulc feature on today's blog and so she did!! Now I just have to pack and go home.