Seven steps to training success
Now that we understand the expectation from a craft skills and knowledge perspective, we can move on to the second step: assessment. Do this wrong and you will undermine all trust on the part of the craft worker. From an assessment perspective, we are not questioning the value that any craft worker has brought to the organization for the last 10 to 25 years. We are simply trying to understand where each craft worker is in the skills and knowledge levels so that we can properly invest in the right training for each craft worker. Rather than send everyone to bearings training, you may have a number of craft workers who are fluent in that area but could use basic electrical troubleshooting, as an example.
When you perform an assessment, I highly recommend that you only use the information to develop the third step, individual development plans for each craft worker. Do not use the assessment as a ranking tool for pay or merit increases. Again, we only want to understand where people are at today, this snapshot in time, to get to the individual development plans.
I highly recommend that you use an impartial third party to perform the assessment so you get individual development plans for each craft worker based on the previously agreed skills and knowledge priority matrix. Only the third party should see the scores from the assessment to place people in to the two to four skill and knowledge levels.
From a human resources perspective, you don’t want to see the scores or try to determine where to place people in the two to four levels and tracks. The third party should create a chart with each individual’s relative ranking for each of the skill areas assessed. This is delivered to each craft worker in a sealed envelope. If the workers choose to share this information with each other, that’s their choice. All you want from this phase is the individual development plan.
Set up the schedule
From the development plans, we move to the fourth step, which is developing the training schedule based on your ability to invest in the craft workers. Some organizations use training hours to determine the investment levels, with 80 hours per year being somewhat standard. Other organizations use a percent of the budget, anywhere from 4% to 15%.
Based on the constraints, you must now develop a schedule that addresses all of the two to four skills and knowledge tiers that you have identified. The schedule should be published and updated. While many focus on intensive 3-5 day training courses, don’t overlook other routes. Many manufacturers will provide free product-related training for a couple of hours at no cost. You will need to meet with the representative in advance to develop the agenda and core components as you don’t need a sales pitch.
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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.