Continuous learning never ends

Continuous training strengthens your asset reliability program

By Guest Blogger Traci Hopkins, senior training & education advisor, SDMyers

Whatever style of workforce training your organization practices—on-the-job training, trade school, equipment-specific skills courses, internships, or external technical training—there is one thing that can amplify that training’s effectiveness and increase retention significantly: continuity.

When continuous workforce training is prioritized, enhanced and strengthened, reliability programs emerge. It’s not enough to put teams through a training session and then return them to their jobs without any follow-up. Success is a result of persistence; questions, references back to what was taught, and subsequent sessions of revision and additional training make up what we refer to as “continuous training.” This is where the real effectiveness of the training can be found and where the smart use of training dollars can lead to measurable success.

The benefits of properly applied continuous training can easily outweigh the costs. Employees who are involved in dedicated continuous training within their organizations tend to be more engaged at work and seek out more ownership and responsibility. Gallup’s “State of the Global Workplace” report shows that, globally, only 15 percent of employees are highly engaged with their work. The remaining 85 percent are “detached,” with 67 percent of that population “not engaged.” An alarming 18 percent of detached workers, Gallup says, are “actively disengaged.”1

These numbers suggest that too many employees are indifferent to the success—or failure—of their organizations. They give their companies their time, but not much more. They certainly do not give their companies the best version of themselves.

Gallup’s definition of “highly engaged” workers is employees who are producing above-average numbers, thinking and strategizing about how they can improve, and actively participating in the success of the organization. They have a vested interest. They take pride in their work. They report when there are issues or problems with the systems, and they look for solutions to those problems. They know that the reliability of their organization’s assets leads to growth, which provides opportunities for advancement and contributes to a thriving community.

How do we transition our employees to shift from the 85 percent “disengaged” category to the 15 percent “highly engaged” category? The most effective way is to focus on people and work to become a more employee-centered organization. This starts with the implementation of continuous training programs. Continuous training allows employees to play to their inherent strengths. By utilizing their inherent strengths, employees tend to perform better and are intrinsically more motivated by their work. Productivity improves when organizations encourage their people to leverage their natural talents.

The success of continuous training programs can be measured in dollars. Research by The American Society for Training and Development reveals that companies that invest in a comprehensive training program enjoy an average of 24 percent higher profit margin versus companies that spend less on training. Those same companies who make the investment see a 218 percent higher income per employee than companies that don’t.2

Why the dramatic increase in profit? It’s apparent that a combination of employee efficacy and refined hard skills makes all the difference. Employees who have the knowledge and confidence to carry out their daily routines effectively and efficiently can increase the reliability of their organization. This, in turn, improves the mood of the workforce and creates an environment where most employees have a vested interest in the success of the company.

And, of course, isn’t a new concept that training helps employees develop workplace skills. The call for continuous learning processes to help employees keep pace with changes in their industries leads to workers feeling valued and appreciated which, in turn, results in a more positive and productive work environment.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, that’s great, but that won’t make a difference in my company.” That’s possible. But think about this: according to LinkedIn’s recent Workforce Learning Report, 94 percent of employees say they will stay at a company longer if the company is invested in their development. This insight can’t be ignored, especially if your organization has a high turnover rate. The cost to hire a new employee can sometimes be two to three times that of the cost of a continuous employee development program for current employees.3

Not all continuous training has to be in-house. In the reliability world, organizations often reach out to OEMs and vendors for continuous training solutions. OEMs and vendors know where the weak spots are; they often develop training sessions specific to products employees use or to asset classes they deal with regularly. Perhaps your human resources team will have access to the updated skills required for certain roles and the access to outside training organizations that can provide seminars on these skills. Additionally, your HR department can help you to identify training solutions based on job title and role responsibilities. After you’ve identified these training needs, map out what knowledge the position requires, identify areas of concern, and seek out the assistance you need to keep your employees engaged and valued.

An organization that values its employees demonstrates that value with opportunities for career development. That contributes to a reliable and sustainable environment where everyone thrives.

References

  1. State of the Global Workplace. Gallup Press, 2017, State of the Global Workplace.
  2. “Profiting from Training!: Rewards from Management Training.” Business Training Experts, businesstrainingexperts.com/knowledge-center/training-roi/profiting-from-learning/.
  3. Spar, Benjamin, and Colleen Dye. 2018 Workplace Learning Report. Edited by Rachel Lefkowitz and Deanna Pate, 2018, 2018 Workplace Learning Report.

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