Temple Times Online Edition
    NOVEMBER 11, 2004
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Training’s soaring popularity brings challenges, opportunity

For Temple employees Christine Smiley of the Center for Research in Human Development & Education, Dorothy Pieringer of the School of Medicine’s department of biochemistry, and Ethel Fiderer of the Law Library, a Human Resources Department development program has been more than just an opportunity to increase their professional skills. “Working with People,” an interpersonal relations certificate program, has changed their lives.

After meeting during the program and discovering their mutual desire to continue learning, this trio of inspired employees has taken follow-up to a whole new level.

Naming themselves after one of the social styles taught in the session, the “Peacocks” hold monthly meetings. At their favorite table in the Diamond Club, they start their meetings with soup, salad and a review of their past month’s activities.

The entrée provides time for the Peacocks to discuss current challenges, apply principles learned in the “Working with People” program and to create action plans. Over dessert and coffee, they offer each other final words of advice and encouragement, and then the Peacocks adjourn feeling prepared and energized.

The story of the Peacocks illustrates one of many ways in which participation in HR training programs has an impact on the work performance of Temple employees who are taking their professional development seriously.

This fact was clearly demonstrated when, within three hours of receiving the electronic notice informing employees that the Organizational Development & Training Department’s fall schedule was available online, more than 150 eager participants had registered for at least one of more than 71 sessions offered in 31 different topic areas.

The popularity of HR’s programs, coupled with the design of a user-friendly online registration system, have made the registration process virtually foolproof and have also led to new challenges.

The HR Department is making every effort to locate additional training rooms on Main Campus, the Health Sciences Center and Temple University Center City so that more programs and more sessions of its most popular programs can be offered. This effort is one strategy to remedy the problem that many programs are closed by the time some hopeful participants attempt to register.

There is, however, an additional way to provide more employees with access to training, one that will require the assistance of everyone who wants to attend an HR training program. Some employees have registered for a training program and then simply have not shown up. There have been several no-shows per session, and a number of employees have distinguished themselves as chronic no-shows.

Still others have notified the OD&T office just hours before a program was to begin, which has led to less-than-full-capacity training programs, because employees who wanted to attend could not be notified in time.

HR recognizes that participants must cancel their attendance for understandable and often unavoidable reasons. However, the assistance of every employee is needed if training rooms are to be full to capacity.

Based on guidance received from the OD&T Division’s Advisory Council, the HR Department has created cancellation guidelines. Employees will receive more information about these guidelines in the November e-mail announcement of the spring online course catalog.

HR suggests that employees and their supervisors together identify training programs that match the essential functions, goals and developmental needs as defined in their performance development plans. In addition, registrants and supervisors should work hard to make sure that an employee who has registered for a program is able to attend. Finally, everyone involved should find ways in which information gained and lessons learned in training programs are recognized and reinforced.

Christine Smiley, Dorothy Pieringer and Ethel Fiderin say their Peacock meetings are successful. They have taken their professional development to the next level while creating an informal coaching and support network to continue their professional development.

Temple is taking development seriously. And if there are doubts, one need only ask the Peacocks.

- By Marie Amey-Taylor

Register online
To learn more, to see the Organizational Development & Training Department’s current course offerings or to register for a course, visit the department online at www.temple.edu/hr/training.