Recently we had an employee who resigned. As the manager, I am responsible to have the new hire train with the employee who is leaving prior to their departure, in a very short period of time. The position is one which requires a significant amount of knowledge in the insurance area and knowledge of medical terminology.
The following are the solutions I have mapped out to be beneficial in training the new employee: break down each task into a series of steps, have employee demonstrate what they already know, use technology in the use of pre-recorded videos or slides, on-line testing, create a self-paced e-learning library for job orientation, create and implement procedures and operations manual, and create a training format which can be completed within a specified amount of time.
The solution I selected to focus on initially for this predicament is to create and implement a procedures and operations manual. Having a handwritten manual is a tool employee can reference at any time, whether they are new or existing employees. It can also be updated as processes change. I would create and provide the new employee pre-recorded videos which would be an alternate resource they could access while at home, on lunch or on public transit. Each employee may learn differently and a multimedia approach has shown to be most effective in many professional settings.
Furthermore, an important development in recent years is the increasing acceptance of the fact that real creative production needs both divergent thinking and convergent thinking, and not just the former (Puccio, Mance, Switalski & Reali 2012). Yes, I would have arrived at the same solution simply because I typically think in a methodical and systematic pattern. I have learned over the course of time as a manager that implementing established core procedures in the business and adding creative thinking allows you to be both effective and innovative (Khanna, Song & Lee 2011). Using both of these thinking practices allows you to think outside the box and come up with superior solutions, creating innovation and looking at a problem holistically. Convergent thinking primarily uses tried and tested business ideologies (Jing & Yanjie 2010). This way of thinking can be timely and effective because you are using established business principles. Not needing to reinvent the wheel with new and potential ways of fashioning solutions is beneficial depending on the situation.
Any workplace culture must support a higher level of innovation in order to be conducive to the learning environment. The firms must also be prepared to invest in any necessary technology to support this endeavor. Depending on the team and corporate environment, one way of thinking may automatically be preferred due to tradition or convention. Using both ways of thinking allows you to examine methods that may not have been historically considered (Puccio, Mance, Switalski & Reali 2012). One method of employing this would include crowd-sourcing information in relation to the present employee experience. Giving current established employees an opportunity to provide an open, detailed description of what training methods worked for them will allow new employees and the business as a whole to benefit. It is this reason that hiring a diverse team is so important. For example, my experience while living on a small island and working within a demanding multicultural environment has provided an opportunity to observe many international cultural influences. This has allowed me to observe a varied influx of opinions and experience. In this scenario, I have witnessed specific examples of convergent thinking with divergent undertones.
Jing, Z., & Yanjie, S. (2010). A missing piece of the puzzle: The organizational context in cultural patterns of creativity. Management & Organization Review, 6(3), 391-413.
Khanna, T., Song, J., & Lee, K. (2011). The paradox of Samsung’s rise. Harvard Business Review, 89(7/8), 142-147. Retrieved from https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/pl/66107934/66108…
Puccio, G. J., Mance, M., Switalski, L. B., & Reali, P. D. (2012). Principles for divergent and convergent thinking. Becoming a better creative thinker. In Creativity Rising: Creative thinking and creative problem-solving in the 21st century (pp. 51-70). Buffalo, NY: ICSS Press.
One of the interesting aspects of this week’s discussion is the idea of how culture affects creativity. This could be an organizational culture, or it could be the culture of the surrounding society, or a combination of the two. For example, Khanna, Song, and Lee (2001) briefly mention the “Confucian tradition of reverence for elders” that is prevalent in most Asian countries. They claimed it is a big deal in Korea, and I have seen it here in Thailand as well. What this “cultural preference” means is that younger people are not willing to discuss differences or point out problems to their elders or supervisors. You can imagine that this can be a very serious obstacle to bringing in fresh new creative ideas into the workplace.
(Of course, I am not saying that we should not show respect to those “above” us, but the key take-away from the readings is that perhaps we should endeavor to find the “best of both worlds” as Samsung has done.)
Zhou and Su (2010) give a list of different studies that have been done to compare the levels of creativity between Chinese and Western cultures. It is difficult to compare the different studies, but by reading their article, you can see some ways that your own culture might affect your creativity. So this week I am looking forward to hearing more about the culture that surrounds each of you might affect your creativity, for better or worse.
Khanna , T., Song, J., & Lee, K. (2011). The paradox of Samsung’s rise. Harvard Business Review, 89(7/8), 142–147.
Zhou, J., & Su, Y. (2010). A missing piece of the puzzle: The organizational context in cultural patterns of creativity. Management & Organization Review, 6(3), 391–413.
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