Training – It is so worth it!
There are so many positives when providing training to your employees that you cannot lose. The trick is to turn it into a win/win for both you and your staff. To do this properly, you need to choose the right training. A good place to start is with a skills gap analysis. The goal of this is to lay a solid foundation by identifying where you want to go and what you still need to get you to the desired destination. To get buy in and make sure you don’t miss anything you should also ask your team what it is they think they need. A company’s best assets are the staff they already have and by training them, you will be improving these assets so that they are better equipped to do the work they were hired to do.
By investing in their skills, your company demonstrates to your maintenance staff that they have a future in the company and this gesture can help reduce employee turnover. This is extremely important since finding skilled maintenance workers is a huge challenge today. Your staff is more likely to attain personal achievement if you offer a robust learning and development program. When you make an employee feel valued and rewarded in their job, you build loyalty.
Many maintenance teams are a combination of different skills – while one person may excel at electrical – another is skilled at plumbing, and so on. Cross training is a smaller investment compared to the resources and time required to find, hire and train new workers. The right training will likely lead to less accidents (safety), better decisions (leadership), and communicating the reasons for those decisions (team work). The right training will make your staff more productive. The strong unspoken message that you send to your employees when you commit to training them is a message that says we believe in you. We want to see you do better. We want to see you succeed.
Another benefit of training is that properly trained employees know when and how to perform preventive maintenance. This alone prevents costly repairs ifthe employee overlooks key signs of impending equipment issues. Continuous learning helps employees and employers gain know-how and new abilities. It helps to ensure that teams and individuals develop new skills to increase productivity, performance, and increased job satisfaction.
There can also be different benefits depending on where you do the training. Off-site locally maybe a room at a college or hotel for instance. The benefit of this is you won’t have any distractions. Also the participants stay together, nobody goes wondering off. In-house training may be quite simply the best way to keep the cost down and it makes the participants feel more comfortable. It also provided the ability to go into the plant for hands on training of what they have to work on. The downside of this is you risk losing the full impact of the training if there are too many disruptions. Another option is off-site out of town. It can get very expensive, so you will need to make sure that it’s a worthwhile course. It may also end up as more of a social meeting and this type of training may even be provided as a reward.
What you are trying to accomplish with the training is to change the mind set from one that says, “that’s close enough”, to one that says, “it has to be done right the first time, so it is the only time”.
You can hire an instructor for a few hours or have someone from your team do some of the training. Many times, manufacturers of large equipment or product providers will do free trainings on the proper use of their products and the maintenance of their equipment. You can ask other in the industry what training has worked for them and start there.
As companies continue to tackle the problems of maintenance workforce skill gaps and people shortage, robust training may represent a less disruptive, more affordable, and manageable way to keep operations running well into the future.