At Hirschfeld Kraemer, we think of supervisor and employee training as more than just teaching the law. We change company culture, even in the toughest environments. One of our multi-national clients acquired a business that had a long history of sexual harassment, racial discrimination and bullying. Our client was committed to dramatically changing this culture and asked us provide a solution.
Changing a Culture of Discrimination and Bullying
Steve Hirschfeld spent several months creating a customized program delivered to over 1,000 employees throughout the southeastern United States. The training was designed to educate the entire workforce on a new corporate culture. The challenge was to connect with the workforce in a way that related to their unique work environment and gain their trust and buy-in. To accomplish this, the management team first needed to understand the importance of modeling the right behavior, and their direct reports needed to appreciate why this change in culture was in their own best interests.
In the end, we hit a home run. Employees were genuinely touched by the message and committed to creating a new workplace dynamic. This message resulted in a significant reduction in conflicts and complaints.
Teaching What’s Right
Our training program was unique. Unlike most lawyers, we didn’t simply focus on conduct that is unlawful. Instead, the objective was to get employees to go beyond what the law regulates and to act in a way that is both appropriate and professional. How was this accomplished? By getting managers and hourly employees to ask themselves a simple question: how would they want their loved ones treated? Using that as their litmus test, they were able to effectively regulate their own behavior and better empathize with the reaction of others. Managers were taught how to effectively respond when a conflict arises. Employees were trained to accept personal responsibility for their actions: if you’ve done something wrong, apologize and change your behavior. The entire workforce was encouraged to speak openly and honestly. These tools helped to dramatically change the work environment and create a workplace that was more respectful and transparent.