By Craig Plain, Director of Operational Excellence for Covidien – Respiratory and Monitoring Solutions
My name is Mac… I’m a private eye…
I was hard at work, at nothing in particular, when he came into my office. He was shabbily dressed, dirty, and smelling like leftover meatloaf that had been in the refrigerator too long. He was mumbling as he sat in the chair across from my desk. Something about finding something… something that he couldn’t find.. but he didn’t know where to look.
“What?” I asked, “What is it you need to find?”
“The evidence” he responded, “I thought I had it… they want it… but I don’t have what they want…” he rambled.
“What evidence?” I queried.
“The objective evidence…” they were the last words he’d ever speak. He slumped over in the chair – dead as a Thanksgiving turkey.
As a private eye, I avoid the cops like the ring bologna blue plated special at Rosie’s diner. However, a dead body in my office is not good for business. I called Lieutenant Wilcox, a friend of mine at homicide. He came over quicker than corn through a goose.
After the medical examiner took the body away, Wilcox lit into me like a put bull to a steak. “Why was he here?”
“When he called,” I explained, “he said he was coming over because he needed me to find something. When he got here, he was rambling about evidence… objective evidence. That’s all I know.”
Wilcox continue to grill me like a cheese sandwich. After a while, he realized my story was on the one and up. Only then, did Wilcox share “some” of what he knew.
“He was a corporate training manager over at LBU Industries.” The Lieutenant explained. “Seems like they had some type of audit about a month ago. The stiff took the audit results hard and he wasn’t the same since.”
“Well,” the lieutenant stated, “it looks like this is one client that won’t be paying you to find anything.”
Wilcox was partially right. My dead visitor wouldn’t be my client, but I hate not knowing. Mysteries cause me more lost sleep than the double chili enchiladas at the Mexican join down the street. That’s why I became a private detective; so I wasn’t about to let this one go. I was going to find out everything.
The secretary at LBU had the kind of smile that made you reach for your sunglasses. I presented my card as an insurance adjuster and said “I’m taking care of the estate of the recently departed corporate training manager.” The mention of that shut down her smile as she said “He was a good man. It was a shame what happened to him.”
“I just know he’s departed us. Nothing more. What happened?” I asked.
“They drove him to his grave. They…” and she began to softly sob and pointed me to a corridor of offices where I could see that one had police tape over the door. I knew I wasn’t going to get any more from her. I left for his office.
The police had come and gone, but as usual, they either didn’t know what to look for or they just didn’t care. To them, it was just another body. To me, it was someone who had needed help. I began to root around.
The files on his desk concerned a recent audit. It was a regulatory compliance audit. A government agency had come to LBU to ensure they where following the laws, policies, and regulations. Overall, LBU had some major issues, but the training department was in pretty good shape. The only finding was “lack of objective evidence for employee training.” This was puzzling. LBU had one of the latest and best computerized learning management systems. Tracking training and providing evidence should be as easy as slicing through my mother’s angel food cake. I wondered out loud, “So what is the problem?”
Digging a bit more, I found the issue. It wasn’t with the training LBU offered as part of their corporate programs. The problem was during the initial hiring of people and for the training taking place outside of LBU.
When LBU hired people, they looked at their resume, maybe ran a background check, and if all looked good, they were hired. The trouble is that LBU considered that resume “evidence” of past training and education.
When an LBU employee took a course at a local college or with Transformance Advisors, it might get mentioned in the annual performance review or some hand written note stuffed into an HR file.
In both cases for hiring and continuing education, there was no “objective evidence” being collected and archived. Copies of diplomas, transcripts, and certificates of completion are the things needed to satisfy the requirement of objective evidence.
I brought my findings to proper authorities at LBU. From there, it was a simple matter of developing and implementing a few process steps to ensure the required documents were recorded. The changes where as simple as my Aunt Edna’s recipe for boiled water soup.