Training, Now More Than Ever: Part Two
In last month''s article, we discussed how to assess and design or redesign a training program in order to combat the budgetary constraints brought on by this economy.
The question now becomes: How do we implement and track the progress of a new training program?
Of course, in order to get at the answer, whole subsets of issues specific to your organization need to be addressed.
Unfortunately, we have neither the time nor the space to even begin grappling with all of those specifics.
So let us undertake this discussion with the idea that we are focusing on two types of companies:
- A customer-based BSC with employees that are spread out amongst many customers and different types of facilities who have at least one on-site supervisor
- A facility with an in-house custodial crew that is always on-site and responsible for all aspects of custodial services.
During the assessment/reassessment phase, you should have developed a clear picture of what needs the training program must address.
There are basically three camps with varying sets of expectations: Upper management, supervisors and trainers and front-line staff.
For upper management, what are the specific deliverables that are expected from the training program? Is the right team in place to execute the rollout of the program?
For supervisors and trainers, do they understand their role in the training program? Are they prepared to deliver effective training? Do they understand the end-game deliverables of training?
On The Front-line
Why is training and/or retraining a valuable addition to what front-line staff do? What is their role in the training?
It is very important that the front-line staff understands they need to take an active role in the training program.
Therefore, the first step of implementation is to get the word out and build excitement about the new training program.
Do not be surprised if you meet implicit or explicit resistance from both the supervisors and the front-line staff.
Most people are resistant to change.
There has to be a perception of value in the change, and building value must begin while you are getting the word out.
The channels used during the step of building value into your training program are going to vary based on the structure of your company and the modes of communication that are used.
One effective way to start implementation is to have a meeting with the supervisors and trainers and layout the "why, what and how" behind the training program.
This should be a meeting that is both informational and motivational.
Additionally, this meeting should be focused on soliciting feedback on how to go about the blocking and tackling of the training process.
Once the word is out about the training program and value proposition is in place for the front-line staff, the next step is to inform all participants about the training structure.
Ideally, training will take place in two basic formats: Classroom-based lecture and demonstration and performance-based competency training.
The timeframes for classes and on-the-job training will be determined based on the specifics of your company.
Another key point to implementing the program is to make sure the trainees take an active role in the training process.
The responsibility on this point falls directly on both the trainer and the trainees.
The trainer needs to create a transaction-based learning environment where information is actively exchanged between trainer and trainees and not simply dictated by the trainer.
One method to facilitate transaction-based learning is to make the trainees responsible for sharing in the training process.
There are many different ways to do this.
Remember, your use of these or other methods will largely be determined by the timeframe you have for training and the materials available.
No matter your specific situation, there will be a number of ways to utilize active learning tools, such as:
Divide the trainees into small groups of three or four and give each group the task of preparing a training presentation on a specific topic to be delivered with the assistance of the trainer
Have individuals co-train with the trainer in their area of expertise
Present the group with several job-related problems to solve using new materials and procedures that were introduced as part of the training program; the group would then work together and present the solutions
Create a "quiz show" informational session on new topics with the winners getting some sort of prize; a game-like competition will also help build teamwork skills.
Tracking the results of the training program should begin with some kind of exam or on-the-job testing.
There are many options for logging exam scores — from simple spreadsheets to the use of web-based applications.
Outside of improved performance, some mode of testing is the best option to gauge the initial take-away of the training and the effectiveness of the trainer.
Another tracking mechanism to utilize is a quality rating system that attaches a satisfaction level to a number, such as 1-10 with 10 being the best rating.
For BSCs, these ratings will be attained from the customer on a monthly or quarterly basis, and supervisors can perform more frequent inspections.
Customer ratings can be solicited through e-mail, phone calls or in-person visits.
Facilities with in-house custodial staff can also use a quality rating system.
The ratings would be given by the occupants and management-level staff on a continuous basis.
One other valuable metric to track in order to gauge the effectiveness of the training program is to monitor efficiency: How many square-feet per hour is each employee cleaning effectively?
This can be tracked via timecards or log sheets that list start and end times, as well as a list of duties performed.
After data begins to accumulate, you will have the ability to audit this information and see where improvement has occurred or can occur.
These audits can be used to further tweak the production habits of the front-line employees and provide managers with a useful tool to gauge performance over time.
It is important that assessing the training progress and training needs of the organization is an ongoing process that becomes a part of your business'' core culture.
Scott P. Kubec is the master support manager for System4, an innovative provider of commercial cleaning services. System4 is a franchised-based company founded in 2004 that currently operates in 23 cities with over 800 local franchises. For more information visit www.system4usa.com, call (216) 524-6100 or e-mail email@example.com.