Sunday, 11 November 2018

Employee Training - Training is an investment

Employee Training

Is employee training best apply at the moment of application or is training something.  That is best completion ahead of time so that when application does happen the trainee knows what to do?

The answer is-It depends. Training, by definition is skill base and generally is best complete near the time of application. Education, on the other hand is learning that is not always tie to application right away. But conveys underlying concepts that help with execution later.

Introductions to employee training

In the business world, these two definitions are generally roll up under the moniker of "training". This creates a problem with execution. Because managers generally understand that training is usually best apply near the point of usage. That most of the learning that occurs with training is through application of the learn skills. Some say this is 70% of the learning that occurs in training. While a frequently cite number of 10% is apply to classroom training environments.

Many times these figures are cites as a rationale for not investing in any sort of educational activities for employees. In reality, the majority of learning of skills is accomplish through application. That the number is probably close to 70%. This is where I part ways with other managers however.

I believe that there are unmeasured benefits for investing in skills training and education of your people. Chief among these benefits is the sense that these employees get of being a part of the future. Being thought of as a valid part of making that future happen. It can help create a sense of belonging to a group and enthusiasm for the vision that skills training is meant to support. I know these benefits exist because I have seen them in my people.

By sending some of my less enthusiastic people to key skills training activities, I have seen their performance improve, their motivation increase.

Knowledge & Education

Education is those topics of knowledge that underlay what you teach in skills training. Education is not necessarily meant to be apply immediately but accomplishes certain important goals such as:

Creating common language, creating common understanding of the world around us. Creating common vision for what the future could be and should be, introducing different values and philosophies such as lean or six Sigma.

Here's the problem.

Education often times gets mislabel as training and is then usually completes only when absolutely necessary. Sometimes when this happens, the side effects are painful. I'll give an example: I recently participate in a Value Stream Mapping exercise with a functional group. In this exercise I attempt to introduce several different lean ideas, such as balance work, pull systems, cellular flow. The team was having none of it, mainly because they didn't know what it was before the event and did not have any opportunity to think about how it may apply to them.

In the end of the event, we identify several Kaizen events that need to be done in the process and we assign leaders from among st the group. Then a week pass, and nothing happen, then another couple of days pass, and nothing happen. So finally we got the leaders together and learn that they didn't know how to lead a Kaizen, no one had ever taught them what to do, so we had to have a quick class on Kaizen Leadership so that these folks could get it complete.

This is an example of education that should have been apply well before the event. If it was part of everyone's knowledge base, they would not have lost as much time trying to figure out what to do. I had one of my employees who was not a part of these events participate in the class and he immediately change how he was approaching a lean activity that I had given him months ago.
So, what is training and what is education?

Sometimes the answer is the same and the only difference is the timing of the event. Other times its the level of detail give up, other times its the expectation set as an outcomes of the session. It depends. Good examples of what are typical training topics are Six Sigma, and Lean Tools such as Visual Factory Management, 5S, Gage R&R, DOE, etc..

Some of these might also be educational topics as well but only at a lesser level of detail. For instance:

Six Sigma Champion training is really education for champions on how to speak the language of six sigma.  Even and ask the right questions of the practitioners. Lean philosophies such as Value/Non-Value add, pull systems, flow, Kaizen Leadership, etc. While they have an application aspect to them, can also be educational at a higher level. The bottom line is that training and education are investments in the future performance of the people in your organization.

Just as Deming said that "It is not necessary to change, survival is not mandatory". So it is true with training and education. If we expect our people to change. We have to provide them with the road map for the change we seek. Even  and the opportunity to learn how to read it.

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