What should I do when I am not getting the training I need?
by Jacquie Wise
I work for a company that has a contract with a major corporate client. Every couple of years our company has to re-compete in order to renew the contract. I was new to the position, which involves managing many different small projects between me and a counterpart. He managed the majority of projects.
My counterpart left our company and went to work for a company in competition with us. One of the first mistakes my company made was having a “former” employee train me on my new job. Clearly he knows the ins and outs of managing the projects, and being in competition, he limits the scope of what I need to learn for my position.
This tactic forces me to have to go to him for answers to things he should have taught me in the first place. He also gives me incorrect information. To the corporate client, he seems like he knows it all, which in turn places the company that he works for in a power position when the time comes to submit proposals for the contract renewal.
What should I do?
You certainly have been put in a seriously difficult situation. As you say, your company is at fault. The first thing we can learn from this is the danger of having all the knowledge in one person’s head. It highlights the importance of having written procedures for new employees to follow.
The power games your counterpart is playing are placing both you and your company at a serious disadvantage, especially when it comes to tendering for renewal of the contract.
What to do: It is important to let your immediate supervisor know exactly what is going on. It’s best not to make it a personal attack on your counterpart. Just relate the facts objectively. Provide specific examples of information gaps or situations that could cause problems in the future.
You may also like to prepare a list of questions that you need to have answered because you did not receive enough information from your counterpart. You need to be able to complete all of your duties effectively to ensure that your company does not lose the contract in the future.
They may be able to give you more support internally, or find an alternative way of training you for all you need to know to manage the projects.
Another thing to consider is to pretend your counterpart didn’t exist.
Who else may be able to answer your questions? Is there a mentor outside of your organisation who might be useful? You might also like to research training courses for some aspects of what you do, to which your company could send you.
You’d give a good impression to your management if you offered to write a procedure manual for them. It’s not as complex as it sounds. It’s a matter of noting every move you make for different tasks. Test it by asking someone else to follow each procedure. You’ll soon notice what’s missing or what’s not clear. The final document is worth gold to a company. It would be an achievement to note on your resume; that you originated a procedure manual for your role.
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