Toyota put the brakes on training

by 25 Feb 2010

Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, has admitted that the company’s desire to grow and expand was not matched with adequate training, causing widespread failure of the Japanese cars.

“Up to now, we had been saying that the rapid expansion was in response to customer needs – that it was inevitable,” Akio Toyoda said at a press conference. “I think the company’s sales expanded faster than we were able to train personnel.”

More than eight million vehicles have now been recalled because of brake and accelerator problems and reports of spates of incidents – linked to an estimated 30 deaths – have led to the world’s biggest carmaker’s public relations nightmare. The Prius, Corolla, Auris and Avensis models were at the centre of the car industry’s biggest product recalls.

Commenting on HR’s involvement in the debacle, Dr John Sullivan, a thought leader in HR said “where employees fail to perform as expected, investigators must determine if the human error could have been caused by factors beyond the employee’s control”.

He outlined a number of key areas in which Toyota’s HR department may have contributed to the mechanical failing of the product. Some of these areas included: rewards and recognition, hiring, performance management, and risk assessment. He added that that HR needed to periodically test or audit each of the processes that could allow this type of billion-dollar error to occur

For more on this story, and Dr John Sullivan’s opinion on HR’s involvement in the Toyota case, see the next issue of HR Leader magazine


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