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    Winter-2016  


Employers Need Quality; Employees Need Skills – How to Achieve Both

Today’s workplace is fast-paced and dynamic, requiring rapid adaptability among employees and superior workforce performance for customers.

A business’ challenge, therefore, is to bring employees’ skills up to the required levels of excellence with the least disruptive impact on business operations and cost. If you’re a business owner or an executive, you already know this.

But very few companies take advantage of training employees where and when needed – called on-demand training – to develop an agile workforce and discover opportunities for process improvement.

According to Michelle Benjamin, President of Benjamin Enterprises, the number one reason why a company begins a training program is to address errors and/or delays. Training is most effective when it takes place immediately when the employee’s underperformance occurs – also known as on-demand training.

She argues it is during these times that training is best received as necessary by the employee, creating an environment that safeguards the return on the training investment.

Benjamin believes on-demand training breaks down a job into a series of discrete process steps.

“By breaking down a job into its smaller parts, a company can gain a holistic view of all the areas at which an employee might desire more training.  Remedial training can then be easily presented when and where needed.  With a carefully designed on-demand training program, an employer can evaluate the job at hand and make immediate corrections to an employee’s actions to improve skills proficiency,” she adds.

Benjamin believes a company should develop and hone its training program based on three key principles:

  1. Every job can be broken down into teachable parts.  To fully understand the steps involved in executing a particular job, you will want to involve the employee that is responsible for fulfilling this particular job. Once the steps are clear, your company can set up a training program which will add value in a number of ways – by improving the execution of specific job steps; simplifying the overall job by removing an entire step from the employee’s responsibility; addressing an overlooked step; rearranging the order of job steps to increase efficiency; or even enabling steps to be completed at different stages in the process.
  2. Every job shares a common structure. This common structure, while independent of the worker, includes the following: defining the expected job results; identifying the requirements to perform the job well; preparing the work environment; performing the job; evaluating the results; making adjustments to achieve the expected results; and completing the job. While some steps are more critical in execution than others, each step is required to complete the job successfully. Each step presents an opportunity to offer on-demand training.
  3. Jobs are different from the solution. Too often companies are focused on the end result of a job, losing sight of the steps that are required to yield the desired outcome.  But when the steps that lead to the outcome are the focus, companies can add improvements along the way and hone their present offerings. For example, when a major utility company required parking coordination in an urban environment, the focus was on training workers on directional orienteering and workflow process management to achieve the sought-after results – to finish ahead of schedule to avoid a multimillion dollar fine and minimize monetary liability.

Her final thought: “training is a company’s action plan to not just improve employees’ abilities to perform their jobs successfully but also decrease turnover and foster a positive learning environment.”

Michelle Benjamin is the Founder and CEO of Benjamin Enterprises, a Workforce Solutions and Training & Development Provider. She can be reached at 800.677.2532 or mbenjamin@benjaminenterprises.com

 


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