Implementing Competency-Based Training
Last week, we discussed creating competency-based training programs for your facility. Once developed, these programs need to be introduced to the workplace.
Before simply signing up all employees for training, it’s best to hold the first presentation of the program as a "pilot." This term lets everyone know some program adjustments are expected.
For certain programs, it is simply too expensive to put the time and effort into such testing. In these cases, you will be "piloting" the program on the first group to be trained.
Just be sure that you leave some time in your schedule to monitor the pilot, survey participants and managers to seek their evaluations and adjust the course for future groups.
Even the best training programs can be made more effective if they are revised or modified. The pilot program evaluations will tell you where you can improve the training program.
Revising the training program may mean incorporating new material to help the program meet its objectives, or it may mean revising the objectives themselves, based on input from trainees or managers. In any case, though, you will want to keep these four points in mind as you refine the program.
- Make sure the revisions are designed to support specific, measurable objectives.
- Follow the appropriate steps to select, design, or produce training materials to support those revisions.
- Implement, evaluate, and refine the revised program to see if further modifications are necessary.
In a sense, the refining process for competency-based training never ends because we are always looking for ways to update, revise, and modify the training programs we design. Developments in technology, changes in skills and knowledge among trainees, new marketplace demands, and a variety of other factors impact our training programs and make it critical that we improve training on an ongoing basis.
It is only by constant evaluation and revision that our training programs, and therefore our employees, are the best that they can be.
Conclusion: Will Management Buy It?
Does all this sound like more effort than simply asking employees to sign a "read and understand" statement? Consider this: How much more time and effort are expended to correct problems that arise when employees do not know how to do their jobs effectively? In the long run, the benefits of well-designed competency-based training outweigh the costs in terms of rework, quality, and waste.
But will management buy it? One way to help get the buy-in needed for competency-based training is to establish baseline data around rework, quality, waste, downtime, and other factors. Then ask management whether they would like to see these numbers improve.
Our experience has been that when it is developed properly, competency-based training inevitably contributes to the bottom-line and provides outstanding return-on-investment. Equally important, competency-based training is becoming the industry standard because it is based on a sound model of training program design. The handwriting is on the wall: the "read and understand" method of training—which is really not a training method at all—will eventually be abandoned in favor of competency-based training.