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Hello, Troubleshooters! Welcome back to Troubleshooting Thursdays. As we mentioned last week, today we’re launching our series on what to look for when selecting a training solution. (Of course, we’re looking at this topic from the specific standpoint of electrical troubleshooting training, but you can apply this information to most kinds of employee skills training in the manufacturing industry.)
Whether you’re a director of technical training, a manufacturing executive, or a plant manager, you’ve probably considered the case for training. Perhaps you’re looking to make your workplace safer, or maybe you’re working toward ISO-9001 certification. Possibly you just want to boost your production numbers by reducing production-line downtime. In any case, you’re convinced that training is the way to go.
However, a training solution can be a significant investment, and there are a multitude of potential training partners all claiming to do the same thing. You need to be certain that you’re considering your choice from all angles before making your decision.
Well, we have over 22 years of experience in this field, and we’ve learned a few things along the way! We’d like to share them with you.
Essential characteristics of a training solution
Below is a list of what you should absolutely expect from a training solution (as we continue this blog series, we’ll look at each point in depth):
- Value/return on investment
- Professional development opportunities
- Ease of implementation and access
- Proven track record as a robust solution
- Completeness, i.e., provides progression in difficulty, offers opportunities for continual practice, and is applicable to your company environment
- Varying degrees of difficulty for individuals of different skill levels
- Ease of procurement (capital/operational expenditure, payable in installments, pay as you go, etc.)
- Focus on safety
(You can download a pdf checklist here to help you as you evaluate potential training solutions.)
As you consider the potential training solutions that are available to you, see how they measure up on each of these 11 items.
Let’s get started
The first item in our list is Value. Does the training solution offer a good return on investment? Will there be a net benefit to your organization as a result of implementing training?
If you’ve been following along with Troubleshooting Thursdays in recent weeks, you’ll recall that we did a four-part series of blog posts on this very question of how to calculate the ROI of training (Troubleshooting Thursdays Tips 29 through 32). We even included a training ROI calculator to help you. So we won’t go over that territory again here, but we do recommend that you read those posts before moving on.
The question of whether there is a good ROI on training is really a “drop-dead” question. If there were no net benefit to the company, why would you bother? So, this is the one you have to look at first. If the ROI looks good, then you can move on to the next item on the list.
Professional development opportunities
Another characteristic of the ideal training solution is that it offers your staff opportunities for professional development.
At first, this may seem like a strange feature to look for in a training solution, because it doesn’t really seem to apply to the corporate bottom line. But creating opportunities for career development for your staff is really in the best interest of your enterprise.
Here’s why: most people welcome the chance to improve their skills and attain their career objectives. Learning new skills, taking on new responsibilities, and knowing that they have a positive career trajectory gives people a sense of fulfillment and moving forward. Happier, more fulfilled and challenged workers with good job satisfaction are more likely to stay with your organization.
In the age of the skills gap, when skilled workers are in very short supply and constantly being poached by other companies, you need to use all the tools at your disposal to retain staff and decrease your churn rate. Electrical troubleshooting training teaches unskilled maintenance professionals a proven method for quickly, efficiently, and safely diagnosing and repairing manufacturing machinery—a very valuable (and rare) skill.
Okay, Troubleshooters, that’s it for today! Tune in next week when we discuss ease of implementation and access—something that will directly affect program administrators and trainees alike.
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