Workers Need More Wage and Hour Training

By Allen Smith, J.D. Aug 11, 2016
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​Wage and hour training is being provided surprisingly infrequently, given the final overtime rule.

​Despite the new overtime rule, which takes effect Dec. 1, wage and hour training came in dead last in a recent survey of planned employment law training topics. 

A July ethics and compliance training survey by Navex Global, an ethics and compliance software and services firm based in Lake Oswego, Ore., revealed that just 29 percent of the survey's 644 respondents plan to train on wage and hour laws in the next two to three years. The respondents were ethics and compliance professionals from a wide range of industries.

Of those providing wage and hour training, 23 percent said that this training will be given  one time only, 48 percent will train one or more times per year, 24 percent will educate every two years, and 5 percent will train every three or more years.

The leading employment law training topic was workplace harassment, with 76 percent of respondents providing anti-harassment training in the next two to three years. 

Other top employment law training topics were:

  • Discrimination: 63 percent.
  • Abusive conduct and bullying: 53 percent.
  • Workplace violence: 51 percent.
  • Diversity and inclusion: 50 percent.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act reasonable accommodations: 31 percent.
Insufficient attention is being paid to risks, such as wage and hour laws, that every comprehensive training program should address, the survey report noted.

Ethics Training

The survey also included a review of the most common kinds of ethics training. Code-of-conduct and general ethics training topped this list with 93 percent of respondents providing this education. 

Other top ethics compliance and conduct training topics were:
  • Conflicts of interest: 76 percent.
  • Speaking up, reporting violations and anti-retaliation: 68 percent.
  • Bribery and corruption: 60 percent.
  • Ethical leadership and decision-making: 51 percent.

Education Planning Combats Learner Fatigue

When training their workers, employers need to fight learner fatigue, said Ingrid Fredeen, J.D., vice president of online learning content for Navex Global and the survey report's author. 

Too much training is done on the fly, according to Fredeen. Most organizations don't plan far enough in advance for who will receive training, when it will be provided and which topics will be covered, which she said is surprising. Businesses should step back and make a decision about what kinds of training they will deploy, how frequently training will be provided and whether different variations of training could combat learner fatigue, she said.

"Learner fatigue is a universal problem," Fredeen told SHRM Online. "After certain periods of time, employees get tired of the same message."

Try creative training approaches to engage workers, particularly Millennials, Fredeen suggested. These approaches may include gamification and mobile deployment.

Alternate methods of training, such as burst training, can help overcome learner fatigue. Burst education or micro-learning—a short form of training that usually lasts three to eight minutes—is becoming more popular, she said. This can take the form of an awareness message about retaliation or harassment, for example. Burst training can highlight fundamentals about workplace policies, she said.

"Allow learners to help design the content," Fredeen also recommended. "Things that benefit Millennials benefit us all." 

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