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Training Plan

Training does not happen by accident. Building an effective team requires planning. This training plan should, at the minimum, consider the following:

  • The overall needs of the organization
  • An assessment of the current skills of the team
  • Training capabilities
  • Training goals

This training plan does a few main things. It makes sure that training is not being done haphazardly. The simple act of creating the plan means that you are putting thought into improving the capabilities of the organization. It is also critical for budgeting both money and time. The more time people are away from their jobs for training, the less they will be doing actual work. This is important to consider in the staffing plan. 

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Let’s look at the training plan requirements in more detail.

  1. Understanding the overall needs of the organization. Skills fall into several categories. Team members must be skilled of the processes they will be performing. This means that somebody like a CNC machine operator needs to know how to change their tools and how to operate the equipment. They also need to know the specifics about the parts that they will be creating. In addition there are general skills that are also required an organization to be successful. Leadership skills fall into this category, as do many Lean topics.
  2. Assessing the team. Everybody does not need the same skills, and they all do not have the same level of knowledge. It is important to identify the gap between where individuals currently are and where they need to be. Keep in mind both current and future jobs.
  3. Understand your budget. The size of the budget should be related to the risk of untrained personnel and to the opportunity associated with having a more effective team. This should be a return on the investment in human capital. The costs include more than just the training itself. Make sure to include the impact of lost production on your budgeting. This is especially important if training will generate over time.
  4. Set training goals. Not all training needs to be done instantly, nor can it be done all at once. People need time to internalize the information. Flood them with new knowledge and none of it will stick. Match training goals to things like policy deployment, corporate strategy, missed KPI’s, and the like. You’ll get more bang for the training buck if it is completed with the real world applications in mind. Note that a very common requirement in a Lean organization is a cross training plan. People move around frequently to support each other. They also rotate jobs to promote good processes and reduce boredom. That requires structured training.
  5. Decide on the type of training. Some topics can be taught in a classroom. Others are best learned by doing. Video works well for some lessons. In other cases, instruction is most effective when it includes hands-on exercises. The size of the class is another important consideration. Consider the best style of training to match your goals.
  6. Develop training capabilities. Getting a person trained requires trainers, training materials, and the place to train them. Training may also require specialized equipment. Training that will be conducted frequently is often more cost-effective to do in-house. Training it is required only occasionally is generally better done by someone else. This might be a class that is available for the public to attend, or it might be specially scheduled for the organization. Your training program should also include the development of its instructors.
  7. Complete the training. Make a plan and stick to it. This can be challenging when business requirements get in the way. Pulling people out of training can disrupt the whole plan. A common challenge of training is that it is easy to block out a week on a calendar six months in advance. When that week rolls around, there will always be some pressing matter that can be used as an excuse to withdraw people from classes. Resist the urge and less business needs actually change.
  8. Put the training to use. Make sure that training is actually used in your team’s jobs. It is a good idea to assign a mentor to trainees. They can help make sure that the lessons are applied correctly.
  9. Get feedback and do retraining is necessary. Make sure that the training is effective. If it did not cover the right material, was confusing, or simply did not stick, correct those deficiencies. The objective is to work more effectively, not just to complete the training.
  10. Improve training capabilities. Use the feedback from the previous step to improve the training program as well. You are probably spending quite a bit on improving people skills. You want to make sure you’re getting the best return it possible on that investment. Find the shortcomings in your program and eliminate them.

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