As I was walking across the parking lot I found myself in a conversation with a park maintenance employee. We had just finished a 3 hour Recess – the entire department of 200 people.
He told me it was a lot of fun and he was walking away with some useful ideas to be a better team member. (Phew, I did my job.) But that’s not the comment that most stuck with me. The comment that most stuck with me was………………
“I wish they would do this more often;
bring us together so we can see how we can help one another”
I remember having a conversation with the Chief Operations Manager beforehand; him telling me that there will be a group of people who won’t want to be there; a group that will give me a hard time, they hate training, they don’t think they need training, etc.
My first request was they not call it a training. In my case, I told them to tell the department they’re taking Recess (you come up with your own name; I own Recess).
The truth is I’ve heard this comment many times before. I’ve heard they’re coming for the food. They’re coming only to get out of the cold or the heat. They’re looking at this as a morning or afternoon off! They are not looking for “training.”
And honestly, when you’re dealing with football loving, beer drinking, macho maintenance types they absolutely do not want training. I get it. Totally get it. And if one of them looks like he is having a good time you better believe his friends are gonna………………………………….
USUALLY JOIN IN, I HAVE FOUND!!!!!
But this just doesn’t go for the group described above, huge numbers of people in an organization find training to be draining, productivity killing and keeping them from doing their work.
I also know that almost EVERY EMPLOYEE in an organization wants to know what’s going on. They want to see/meet the people whose names they see on memos. They want to hear how other people can make their jobs better (and hopefully in return do the same thing.)
And that’s what we did in this case. We got together to see how they could help one another and to celebrate the successes of the previous year. We had a RECESSitation! Not a training.
And no one gave me a hard time. Quite the opposite. Because we didn’t call it training.
So take the approach/stance/attitude that your people really do want to get together. And gather them. Regularly. Just call it something other than the T word.
Rich DiGirolamo, the RECESSitator, works with organizations to create happier work environments, design new programs and products, and create better relationships with customers and peers. He is the creator/founder of “Recess At Work Day” and the nonprofit organization DoubleDDiner.org, Inc., operators of “The World’s Only Virtual Diner Fighting Hunger.” Rich has authored 4 books; his most popular, “Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth.” He lives by the rule “If you’re not having fun, it’s your own fault