- Talent Management
Last week, people around the world were impacted by President Trump’s decision to ground travelers from seven nations and block even some permanent U.S. residents (Green Card holders) from reentry. On Friday, a Washington State judge, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, said, “there’s no support” for the government’s argument that we have to protect the U.S. from people carrying passports from Iran, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and Libya. As of Saturday, February 4, the government has stated that it will comply and lift the ban as a result of the Washington State ruling. While things may be now getting back to normal in the United States and around the world, the incident offered a sobering lesson about workplace policies and training. When major decisions are rolled out and individual employees must respond to new guidelines, they must first be offered comprehensive training on how to implement these guidelines; otherwise, major discrepancies can and will occur. Last weekend, they certain did and with devastating results.
There were two sectors immediately impacted by President Trump’s sweeping reforms on immigration last week: Homeland Security and the airline industry . As it turns out, few people in either sector were clear about how to respond and to what extent.
First, there were reports of American customs officials around the world expressing confusion about the orders. Most notably, this meant that while some Green Card holders were not permitted to board flights from outside the United States, others were permitted to board but then detained once arriving in the United States. As it turns out, the lack of clarity meant that permanent U.S. residents in this category experienced various and inconsistent treatment depending on the customs official with whom they dealt. Airlines personnel, taking instructions from ill-informed customs officials, also ended up responding to the government’s guidelines in an inconsistent manner.
There is no question that people will be parsing the fallout of last week’s decision for many years to comes. In terms of training, the incident reveals at least a few key take aways that are applicable to much less sweeping policy changes in any context too.