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The Management Vision—How does the organization view training?

A good starting point for the journey to training wellness is with management's vision of the organization and its future. Coupled very closely with this is the management view of training, and for that matter education, as part of the way to achieving the vision. We talk a lot about management commitment and most of what we say is true but it is very apparent when we talk about training. Management, and in the "empowered organization that's everyone, must view training and employee development as an integral part of success. Senge's "learning organiza­tion" depends heavily on getting organizational goals in congruence with employee goals so that any training will contribute to both the organization and the individual achieving their respective goals—which move closer and closer to being the same. It is true that by supplying resources, time, money, facilities, etc, management dis­plays a degree of commitment to the training process; however, it is just as crucial that management become a visible presence to those in the training process, trainer and trainee. Tennessee Ernie Ford used to say, "Don't send your children to Sunday School—take them." and I would paraphrase that to read, "Don't send your employees to training, take them and be seen in the area." The Organization's vision sets the direction for the future and the ground rules for reaching objectives and well planned and properly applied training can play a part in easing the move to that vision.

The "Market Survey"—Establishing the needs!

In marketing goods and/or services, any prudent company determines what the marketplace wants or needs and establishes a plan and/or series of programs to meet the need. Training planning is really no different. We must assess the needs and wants of the organization and the individuals who make up the organization and establish a plan/series of programs to see those needs are met. This approach suggests that, rather than announcing that "ev­eryone report for blood test review training next Tuesday at 8 o'clock in Auditorium B," we are better served to determine who needs the training and why before we issue the dreaded edict. You might well ask how does one determine what the need is! You might begin by asking or doing a simple survey of work teams, managers, supervi­sors, project teams leaders, and individual contributors to determine the requirements to move the organization forward. The greatest training class in the world isn't worth much if no one needs the training or, as our friends in marketing realize, "The greatest dog food on the planet isn't worth much if the dogs won't eat it!" There are volumes written on conducting needs assessment and all sorts of instruments have been developed to ease the process, so I will go no farther here than to say that a crucial step in the training process is to determine what the need is (or, as usually happens what the needs are). If wellness is a flat stomach, don't bother working on your biceps just because you have a program for that!

The "Bill of Material"—Building the program

The next step is product definition or what is it we are trying to "build." In this case, it appears to me that the "End Product" is the trained, productive employee. Just as in structuring a product or service, our goal must be to define what KSA (knowledge, skills, and aptitudes) are required to meet the goals of both the organization and the indi­vidual. Very often, training is provided which does won­ders for the organization, in theory, but very little for individual in practice and, therefore, not much of what is "taught" stays with the student and no one comes away satisfied. If you wonder how we get the organizational and individual goals in consonance—see the management com­mitment discussion above. Since we now have a "trained employee" defined, we're ready to do a "TRP" (training requirements planning) run and determine what is needed.

To be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:
Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 02


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