Training no one wants is costing Slack $10.5 million
We all spend way too much time convincing everyone that learning and training is important and that people don't often dedicate time to learning at work.
Salesforce announced today that their 2021 acquisition, Slack, is so behind on training everyone will be taking an entire week off to catch up.
The craziest part? According to Yahoo and Fortune, "Some slack engineers are gaming the system with automated scripts... [and since there's] no mandate on what modules people take so people are posting lists of the easiest ones and are speed running them." Many also feel the modules are completely useless.
Slack’s internal target: 40 hours of training per employee. At a $160k-$200k base comp for a Slack engineer, that's costing the company about $3,500 / employee. With 3,000 employees, this is costing Slack $10.5 million — for training that could easily be done in the flow of work.
This is a great example of why training needs to be:
Delivered people where people are
Spaced out over time
So why is Salesforce doing this? According to Fortune and Yahoo:
"The goal is for Slack’s employees to reach Trailhead’s Ranger level, a feat that requires roughly 40 hours on the learning platform, whose modules include topics like 'Learn about the Fourth Industrial Revolution' and 'Healthy Eating.'
We're all for developing employees, but having the entire company take a week off to learn about healthy eating? Isn't the CEO furious?
Well, apparently not…
According to an inside Slack source, the move is seen by many as an "ego" move by Salesforce founder Mark Benioff, so he can brag that employees are using Trailhead.
Here's what nobody is telling Benioff:
One time training leads to bad results. This entire team is going to forget 90% of what they learned in just 24 hours. That's a really expensive lecture.
There's some great concepts in these, but little application. We all recall having tons of information thrown at us in grade school. Any learning that can't be immediately applied is often forgotten, and too much time spent learning and not applying is often wasted.
Gamifying learning for its own sake just doesn't work. Employees are being taught that if they rush through modules a gift card is the best they'll get. Of course they’re going to try to beat the system - the company is non-verbally communicating that they’re trading days of their time for something they could make in an hour or two.
Sometimes you really can't make this stuff up - Slack's CTO even said "We know that this will take time away from projects, and may delay some launches; we understand, and encourage everyone to get to Ranger this week so that it isn't something you have to worry about later in the year…"
Hopefully we can learn from Slack's many mistakes. Here's to making learning you don't need to force people to take (or take a week off for) :)
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