Training is one of the most important functions of any manager. From top to the bottom levels of an organization, employees that are well-trained to do their jobs perform them better, are more efficient and make greater contributions to the bottom line of the organization. When we discuss forklift operator training with our clients there are three essentials they must commit to in order to take full advantage of the training we provide. This of course transcends forklift operator training and could apply to training in about any other function within your organization.
Planning – Setting out on any quest, whether it’s comprehensive training or how your department will function, doing so without a plan, even a simple one will leave you wandering in the wilderness, drifting from one program to another, no sure if what you’re doing contributes or detracts from your quest.
Put together a plan, including what you want to accomplish, the steps it will take to get there and what you will do to maintain the levels of training you provide as well as what you will do to take it to each “next level” once you have attained your planned levels of training.
Time – Nothing happens overnight, there is no magic elixir for time and practice committed to your plan. You can expand or contract the time it takes based upon your level and amount of training provided to do the job. Time can be your commitment personally or the time commitment of external or outsourced training. Either way, it takes time with the trainer, then time practicing the skills by the employee to hone them to an efficient and effective state. We have addressed how people learn in our Feature Article “Training vs. Teaching; Knowing the Differences.”
Resources – Time is one of your most valuable resources in any organization and we have addressed the need for that above. But you must also provide the resources for effective training. This can include time with a skilled trainer, a location to provide and practice the skills, equipment needed to learn and practice on as well as materials needed to support the training efforts.
Providing comprehensive ongoing training is an investment in your employees, your organization, and your bottom line performance. The results are usually commensurate with the levels of each of the three essentials we’ve listed and it is rare that results oppose the efforts. Invest in your bottom line with complete and professional training and watch the results, over time, compound for your company.
Whether you’re trying to improve productivity on your assembly line, in your materials handling operation or in your accounting department, there are a few things that you can do that transcend functional lines and apply to almost all individuals.
Empower – You hired people to do a job. Let them do it! Happy, productive employees have confidence and freedom backed up by employers that support that freedom, to find better ways to do things and yes, make mistakes. Empowering employees that are intelligent and hard working, while still maintaining operating parameters or “rules”, will result in employees that will make significant impacts on your operations.
Inclusiveness – You’ll be surprised with the input you’ll get if you ask. Much like a golf scramble works. In more foursomes none could shoot even par for the course, but combined, four 15 handicappers can shoot below par. Why is this and how is this possible? It’s simple, you’re taking the best of each person on each shot. Now imagine all that latent potential in your employees. Are you utilizing it?
Appreciate – The words “thanks” and “you’re doing a great job” go a long way, but how often are they heard? Like many relationships, time can do damage the gentlemen and ladies we once were. So make a point to appreciate your employee’s efforts and inputs. Mix it up, have pizza parties, send cards, make announcements, but be sure it’s sincere. Employees can smell smoke a mile away.
Each one of your employees has a lot of potential. It’s up to us to find it and put it to work for the productivity and profitability of our companies. And the best managers know how to do it and get the most out of each and every one of them. Good luck, and thanks for reading!