The Power of the Silent Trainer

Sections of this topic

    In a previous post, I discussed the concept of the silent trainer. The silent trainer can be found in every organization in the same hallways that hold the plaque with the well-written mission statement. While the employees pass the plaque on their way to meetings, their offices, or the cafeteria, they are learning what is really important in the organization. The silent trainer is teaching your employees many lessons and the training begins early in their tenure. The lessons include multiple topics but primarily the employees are learning acceptable behaviors. They learn boundaries; they learn what they can get away with and what their place is in the organization. And despite the efforts of HR departments and training teams everywhere, the powerful force known as the silent trainer teaches employees the real rules of the organization.

    Have you ever made the following statements or asked yourself the following questions?

    • Where did she learn that?
    • That isn’t how I trained him.
    • The handbook clearly states xxxx, can they not read?
    • When she first started, she was a great employee, but lately, she’s been slipping.

    If you find yourself wondering where employees are learning the wrong way to do things, take a look around your organization beginning with an examination of yourself. What are you teaching others by your actions? When you ask yourself those above questions or make those statements, to whom are you speaking? Do you speak them to yourself or to your friend in the organization? Or do you go directly to the source to address the issue? If you choose to ignore it, you are playing your part in supporting the silent trainer in your organization.

    What are your employees learning?

    Your comments are encouraged and welcome. What examples of the silent trainer can you share from your experience?


    For more resources, See the Human Resources library.

    Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. She is currently employed as the Human Resource Manager at EmployeeScreenIQ, a global leader in pre-employment background screening.