Monday, January 26, 2009

Before the Class

I'm teaching a workshop today on Equal Employment Opportunity.

It's a "Europe in one day" sort of class in that it covers a bunch of subjects which by themselves could merit separate workshops. We move along quickly and uses lots of case examples so I can raise the level of paranoia as to how easy it can be to slip into an EEO violation while giving the class participants confidence that they can spot and prevent potential problems. As a minimum, I want them to know when they should get on the phone to HR or their law department and get guidance.

We start with a quiz that they discuss in groups and then, as the class moves along, they get the answers. We review the quiz answers one more time at the end to make sure all is clear.

The entire subject of EEO is a fascinating one and so I'm always pumped for the class but I still set aside time before the start to get into the zone. "How can I make this better?" is a constant for me and it is usually linked to "How can I make this clearer?" The audiences vary enormously and usually contain a mixture of departments. The material has to be clear to the new supervisor as well as the seasoned executive.

One comment that I've gotten over the years is "I'm glad you don't talk down to us." It makes me wonder what else is out there. I try to pitch the level of the class right down the middle so, if need be, I can elaborate on the basics while not boring those who have already received training on the subject. Even those who have gone to other classes may need a refresher.

Clarity is a challenge but the fast pace helps. It is like a party: If all goes well, they don't notice the preparation.

And preparation is at least 90 percent of the program.


Anonymous said...

Anyone yearn for the good old days, when management could screw up and get away with it?

With EEO, everyone loses, because in realitys its not Equality of abilities/talents, rather Equality of quotas.

And we all know that some are more equal than others.

Michael Wade said...


I disagree. Everyone can lose with quota-based affirmative action but EEO, if properly administered, fosters merit. From what I've seen, there still are many management teams who screw up on a regular basis and get away with it.