When developing the classes, the staff at the Times dealt with the big issues-such as diversity and career planning-head-on. The classes on these topics were successful. However, to the surprise of the Times' training staff, there were smaller issues that were just as important.
Bill Bradley, senior HR development consultant to the Times, says that one of the most valuable classes offered in 1992 was the first session on work ethics. Bradley says that when they planned it, the trainers had wanted the interns to leave the first class understanding basic work expectations and feeling comfortable about joining the Times for the summer. Once they held the session, the trainers realized that the basic work expectations that they needed to teach were more basic than they anticipated.
Because this was most of the interns' first time in the work force, they had no idea what their supervisors expected of them. The Times had to start from the beginning. Bradley says that in the first training session, the Times taught the interns three important work-related lessons.
- Come to work on time.
- Use appropriate language.
- Dress appropriately for a work environment.
Many of the interns needed to use public transportation to get to work. Some even needed to make transfers. This added a considerable amount of commute time, and many of the interns were arriving late on a regular basis. The trainers explained the importance of being punctual and helped the interns understand the public-transportation schedules.
Knowing what to expect from the interns has helped the Times prepare for the program's future participants. Bradley says that the trainers have fine-tuned some of the classes and now are paying more attention to smaller issues. "They are the most simple things in the world," he says, "yet we need to teach them."
Personnel Journal, September 1993, Vol. 72, No.9, p. 123.