Proper training is crucial when it comes to creating and maintaining an effective management system. Putting changes to processes on paper is easy but getting these new insights to employees is a different story. Eventually, they are the ones to work accordingly and while processes are created with the best intentions in mind they are not always well understood by everyone. This means training people is an important factor to maintain a successful management system.
To convince employees to work according to processes and procedures it helps explaining why they are as they are. Giving the purpose makes sure employees understand what risks the process or procedure mitigates or what consistency it strives for. Examples include consistency in product quality, customer approach or a smooth production process. People have the tendency to better follow the processes when they understand the reasoning behind them.
How to train people in practice?
Unfortunately there is no silver bullet in training employees. Every company has their own culture and way of doing things and thus should the training approach be in line. Despite the differences some best practices can be applied.
Regardless of company culture, training newly hired employees when they join the company is of great importance. A management system training should be scheduled to walk him/her through all the important processes for the job. Don’t go into too much detail, especially not for the lesser important processes but make sure all the key process for the job are well understood and explained properly.
Besides the training at time of joining, continuous training is of major importance as well. Processes and laws change, companies evolve, and thus continuous training is of the essence. Every change within the management system should be communicated on a regular basis and training sessions should be scheduled based on the impact of these changes. In case of for example an alteration to the core production process every employee whose job is impacted by the change should be trained and understand the new process. Again, not only the training itself is of importance but also the reason why the change has been approved. If possible try to elaborate on the NCR that caused the change. When the opportunity arises give credits to the person who noted down the NCR. This completes the communication cycle of the NCR and in addition increases employee engagement with the management system.
Identify training needs
A great instrument to discover training needs are the internal audits. The audits hold valuable information about how employees apply the process and where certain gaps are present. Whenever an employee turns out to not follow procedure, first determine whether the procedure itself is simply not functioning or just not understood. In case of a malfunctioning procedure it should be updated in close cooperation with the executing employee, and do not forget to communicate the update to others as well. For procedures that are not well understood a training can be scheduled to explain the procedure again to employees as a refresher.
Feel free to try out these techniques and let us know the results.