Could the Whistle Be Blown on Your Organization, Too?

July 30, 2014

Sitting down to the Sunday, July 13, 2014 edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, my attention was immediately drawn to the glaring front-page headline, “VA Whistleblowers Make Bold Push for Change,” along with the names and pictures of the people boldly standing up for truth in opposition to “mismanagement and waste.”

While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is known for its commitment to providing benefits that each and every veteran deserves, the fact remains that some VA employees have made accusatory comments that have resulted in negative front-page press. Though the article focused on the VA, this should be a huge wake-up call for all of us.

The recent whistleblowing trend reinforces the fact that mismanagement and waste, whether deliberate or accidental, within or outside of the government, will eventually be discovered. The critical questions are, “Who is going to find it?” and “What will they do with what they find?”

Read on to learn how to avoid negative press and keep your organization off of the front page of the newspaper.

We work with many government agencies and often hear the same stakeholder expectation for training: “We want to stay off the front page of the Washington Post.” The impact of bad publicity is often devastating to the organization, its employees, and the people who are supposed to benefit from its products and services.From the perspective of evaluation, we have a choice to make. Either we can leave it to the press and well-meaning (or not-so-well-meaning) whistleblowers to uncover and expose mismanagement and waste, or we can do it ourselves using four-level evaluation through the Kirkpatrick Model. Here are some specific steps you can take to avoid a scandal and the associated negative outcomes:

  • Stop focusing so much on smile sheets and pre- and post-tests at Levels 1 and 2. High levels of learning and satisfaction with the training program itself will not help to streamline the efficiency of your  organization and cut down on poor performance and waste.
  • Implement effective Level 3 evaluation (on-the-job behavior change). Only by actually changing behavior can poor practices be rectified. Click here for a collection of our favorite Kirkpatrick resources for driving on-the-job performance.
  • Continue on to Level 4 evaluation (business results). Aligning training efforts with the highest level organizational goals will help to ensure the elimination of waste.

To learn how to proceed with these three steps, consider registering for one of our upcoming sessions of the Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program – Bronze Level. In this program, you will learn how to evaluate at all four Kirkpatrick levels and how to build your post-training support package. Having such a package will give you greater control over identifying and fixing mismanagement and waste in the workplace, which is the first step in correcting problems before whistleblowers and the press call them out.

Also remember that this is a team effort that must take into consideration the highest level goals of the organization. If mismanagement and waste, or any other threats that could jeopardize the goals, are identified, key stakeholders must be on board to help correct these problems before whistleblowers come forward.

Therefore, it is critical to involve these key stakeholders from the beginning by partnering with them and getting them to sign on to any training and evaluation initiative. To learn more about becoming part of the business team and partnering with key stakeholders, consider attending the upcoming session of the Kirkpatrick® Business Partnership Certificate Program on Sept. 23.

Many government agencies may have end-of-year funds available for you to attend these types of training programs or to take advantage of other Kirkpatrick services, such as a Kirkpatrick® Impact StudyKirkpatrick® Business Partnership Analysis, or Kirkpatrick® Consulting.  Join the Discussion

Have you used evaluation to uncover and correct waste in your organization? Share your story with us. Here are some ways to join the conversation:

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Additional Resources:

Kirkpatrick® Business Partnership Certificate Program

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