My organization is the Department of Defense under the US Army; it is the CEW (Civilian Expeditionary Workforce), a volunteer program for federal civilians to deploy. Some of the problems that we have are when the Georgian soldiers try to sneak prohibited items, the coalition forces not doing their jobs, and/or taking bribes from the local nationals, stealing their food or items. Because these soldiers are trained with the Marines someplace in Europe and switch out every six months, they don’t seem to respect and follow the orders at CEW. Unfortunately, we don’t have a part in the training and most of them barely speak English or pretend they do not. I strongly believe that a well-planned training and development program for the staff and these soldiers on communications and expectations can help solve the issue.
According to Allen Communications Learning Services, “Training is a program that helps employees learns specific knowledge or skills to improve performance in their current roles. Development is more expansive and focuses on employee growth and future performance, rather than an immediate job role.” To apply to our case, the staff and the soldiers are lack of communications. The staff sees the soldiers as temporary guests; the soldiers see the experience as a stepping stone to their career or just an assignment to follow. There is no connection between the two groups at all. Therefore, I propose a well-developed training and development program for both parties to build their communication gap. To do so, “a careful planning and alignment process” has to follow: 1) “identify business impact” – note the goals and focus; 2) “analyze skill gaps – motivation, skills mastery, and critical thinking”; 3) “layer training methods – training the right people at the right time in the right way”; 4) “evaluate effectiveness and sustain gains” – training support has to be on-going to keep the effectiveness of the initial training. (Allen Communications Learning Services)
This training and development program should have a focus in mind that communication is the key and that expectation of following orders at CEW is expected, including any superior from CEW. First, we have to determine why these Gregorian soldiers are behaving like so. Why would they rather pretend not understanding English and give us a hard time? Does it have to do with the unwelcomed impression from CEW? If so, the training will focus on breaking this bridge or wall of both staff and the soldiers. Next, we have to consider why there seems to be a lack of motivation from these soldiers. We are sure they are well trained with their skills to do the job; however, teamwork is essential as well. Without communication, there is no teamwork. A shared session of opinion-free will be held. Anonymous surveys will be given to gather feedback as well. The bottom line is to dig out the core problem and come up with resolutions. It is a fact that these soldiers are prideful people, however, they also have to understand that soldiers are obligated to follow orders from their superior, regardless. Therefore, in this case, they should follow and respect the orders at CEW. When the shared session is over, we would hope there is a better understanding from both groups toward each other. Training the right people at the right time and right way is important here. Engaging physical activities can also be added to this training program, so that everyone can enjoy and work together as a team. Through these games and activities (passing the bean bag to the last person on the team race), the two groups can put down their pride for the moment and enjoy working together.
A reflective session can be held separately with the instructor and then merge the groups together for further discussion. After the training sessions, anybody who has any questions at any time can contact the instructor whenever he or she wants. Also, since this group of soldiers will be returning back to Europe one day, both groups can keep in touch by writing each other letters or emails. On-going support is a must to continue the care and support of these two groups. This can better train the staff for the new group of soldiers ahead as well.
I am suggesting an appraisal from the superior at CEW to the Chief in Europe for each of these soldiers as how the result of the training will be measured. On the other hand, the superior of the soldiers would submit an appraisal for each of the staff participated in the training session as well. The goal here is to have a peaceful and efficient cooperation within the period of the CEW staff working with the guest soldiers aboard.
In conclusion, “[t]he purpose of the training should be clearly defined in terms of the behavior required as a result of training. The focus of the training should be to develop transferable skills. The training should be evaluated on the basis of the extent to which it has achieved its purpose” (Armstrong, M. & Taylor, S., 310). Even though the Gregorian soldiers are only staying within a year, they must be aware that they have to follow the order at CEW as their duties and orders. They are obligated to meet the expectations when they are at CEW. Therefore, the training and development should give them an understanding of how to communicate with the staff at the site and what expectations should be met. In short, having an open-door communication is the key to success in this case.
- Allen Communication Learning Services. (2015). What is employee training & development. Retrieve from http://www.allencomm.com/resource/what-is-employee-training-development/
- Armstrong, M. & Taylor, S. (2014). Armstrong’s handbook of human resource management practice (13th ed.). London: Kogan: Pages 301-320 and 333-355.