Seven steps to training success
Another tool is the 20 to 30-minute toolbox training session led by a skilled craft worker on short topics like sheave alignment, laser shaft alignment, or belt tension gauges. These should appear on the training schedule as well. In addition to capturing the training for each individual in human resources’ training management software, use individual work orders to capture the skills and knowledge trained on plus the actual training hours. As part of the performance review and continued development planning, you can review work order history to determine the number of hours of training and content that each worker has received during the course of the year.
Until now, we have focused on the tools. Now we have to put the tools in the background, bringing learning to the foreground, which is the fifth step. If you are the manager, you have a responsibility to ensure the individual has the proper environment to learn. Conducting training on-site when the individual is constantly being pulled from the class is frustrating to the craft worker and the trainer.
I suggest you consider offsite training locations where possible, such as a hotel conference room. Once the training is complete, the job expectations have to change so that the craft worker has the opportunity to apply what he or she learned. Be careful of setting yourself up for failure with the approaches you take, especially when it comes to pay.
For example, one organization used a concept called secondary skills to encourage workers to learn and work on equipment in a different area. Learning the secondary skill provided a 50-cent hourly increase in pay. These workers were not called to apply the skills until 3 to 5 years later while collecting the extra pay for every hour worked in that time. When management finally asked them to cross over to the other secondary skill areas, they threw up the safety flag as some of the equipment had changed over the years. When faced with expensive conferences or courses, use the approach of training the trainer.
Build a training ‘loop’
Require the people attending the course to develop a presentation on their return, and train the others. A benefit to this is as the attendees know the expectations, they tend to be more attentive as opposed to lounging on the beach, only returning at the end of the day to pick up the attendance certificate. This also allows you to stretch your training dollars and works well for conference-type workshops.
A word of caution: While it may be tempting to copy an expensive training course, using an educational group’s copyrighted material to train others is both unethical and illegal. It could cost you dearly.
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Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.