Three Tips for Shop Floor On-the-Job Training

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One way to help your team achieve the expectations that you have of them, is to ensure that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform. Training is important; however, there’s a tremendous effectiveness gap in most skills training.

Most employees who receive training are motivated to do well and because of that desire, they might try and convince the trainer that they’re more competent than they actually are. When the trainer asks if there are any questions or if the trainee understands, the trainee might be inclined to give a false indication of readiness.

In many production departments the main training strategy is the buddy system. This means taking a new employee and partnering them with a more experienced co-worker. A few things could go wrong.

First, the experienced worker is more likely to skip the fundamentals and show shortcuts which could confuse the new trainee. Sometimes the person doing the training will have a negative attitude and that will impact the success of the person being trained.

Some highly competent team members might not have the patience and the skill to be an effective trainer. Here are three tips to improve the effectiveness of your shop floor on-the-job training:

# 1 Refer to the procedures

It is not effective to mention work instructions or procedures and then not use them as a reference during the training.

Make sure whoever does the training takes the time to refer to the work instruction checklist or procedure so the trainee can recall steps in the correct sequence after they’ve been trained.

#2 Explanation with demonstration

If the trainer doesn’t provide an explanation with their demonstration, then the trainee will be inclined to mimic or memorize what he or she is observing. Memorizing isn’t learning.

The trainer should thoroughly explain the importance of each step in the process. When the trainee performs the work task, that person should provide an explanation as well. In essence, the trainee teaches the trainer how to perform the task.

#3 Certify performance

In many organizations the training is considered successful when the trainee signs the training worksheet.

That is somewhat absurd. Imagine signing off on your own driver’s license instead of going on a driving test. Or when learning to fly to become a pilot, being able to sign off on your own that you’re a competent pilot. It is recommended that a person other than the trainee or the trainer evaluate and certify that the employee is competent on the task. By setting the bar a little higher, the training is perceived as being a greater value.

By improving the quality of your on-the-job training, you can create a more motivated work group, improve your operating performance and increase your flexibility.

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