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Educated Employees are your Best Weapon

Doing Training is an Investment ?

Fresh from a survey of 654 manufacturers by Industry Week Magazine of a wide range of companies, it would appear that we have not yet tied training into our winning. 28% provided less than 8 hours of training per year, 44% provided between 8 and 20 hours over the course of a year. Less than 20% provided 12-40 hours – and slightly more than 8% provided over the course of a year a total of 40 hours. These numbers vary of course depending on the knowledge content of your business. The bottom line though, is that we do need to provide enough training to begin to tap into the knowledge that employees have and are capable of using more effectively than they may be now.

Less than eight hours


Eight to 20 hours


21 to 40 hours


More than 40 hours


Total plants


People matter!

Employees - Most of us have invested in our employees. But do we understand the investment? I had a good friend who was an HR professional explain it in a simple manner … If a company purchases a One Million dollar piece of equipment, this is not accomplished quickly. It consumes many meetings, project plans and insurances that the equipment will be kept in good order. However, we sometimes make a knee-jerk reaction in hiring employees … but if an employee stays with the organization for 5 – 10 years we have also made a One Million dollar investment. So treat each new hire like a million dollar investment.

The key to having engaged employees is to communicate with them. Tell them the good news as well as the bad and the ugly. Do everything possible to mitigate the rumour mill to dominate your communication and culture. Hold frequent and regular briefing sessions to ensure everybody gets the same message and in large facilities have a quarterly plant meeting where everybody attends and gets the same message.

Our employees are responsible for our success. When we embark on any major change in our business, such as introducing Lean Enterprise, it must be accompanied by a culture change. It is of little use teaching people new tools for the new world, if we do not teach them how to behave in our current world.

Organizations continuously fail to understand their inherent "Culture Speed" of absorption. Deploying too many methodologies or doing them too quickly and they will fail to become integral of your operating infrastructure which then defines your culture.

Investment by You ... Benefit for the Employees

Every Employee you hire has picked you to be an enabler within their career journey. No matter what position you are filling or for how long you intend to retain them. Even McDonalds that acknowledges that their hires are considered "short-term" invest an inordinate amount of time and training to all employees. What is interesting is that those ex-employees reflect fondly on how the training impacted their career journey, like for me "if you have time to Lean, you have time to clean."

Technical Training is obviously required so our employees can operate effectively but employee skill-sets go way beyond just technical understanding. How good are your employees at being able to solve problems, communicate and how to identify a process so they can also make skilled observations of improvement.

I can't control the market ... but I can control how smart my employees can become.

Nope ... try as I may ... I have never been able to shift the market. But I can accept the responsibility to create a workforce so well educated that other employers are jealous of my employees and they may even attempt to poach them. I feel very comfortable knowing that should I not be able to retain my employees other organizations will be eager to add them. This is much better than providing a tremendous severance package.

New World ... New Training Deployment

Of course the Triple Platinum, Diamond encrusted method of training deployment is to deliver it in person at the same time to all employees. I get it, but now that is not possible for a plethora of reasons:

  • Virtual and Remote Employees

  • Multi-Sites

  • Multi-Shifts

  • No surplus time for extra training ... all hands on deck!

  • High Turnover

But Thankfully a by-product stemming from Covid is that we are more accepting and comfortable functioning within a virtual environment whether it be Zoom, WebEx, Skype and even MS Teams.

So now a high-bred training model can now be used. A combination of in person training can now be complemented with E-Learning so you can now connect and touch all of your employees no matter where they are located or on which shift they perform.

The concern remains is that the knowledge transfer is relevant and how will the employees apply their learnings within their work environment. Employees love the stories and experiences shared by their trainers to give it that personal touch and it has to be quick, fast, relevant and keep them engaged.

When we developed our E-Learning suite some of the "musts" that had to be integrated in our training were the following:

"Short Thought Transfer Lessons" that could be custom stitched together based on need.

A "Test for Understanding" to measure academic retention.

A "Test for Comprehension" to measure and audit capability through the completion of an assignment.

Direct Access to speak personally with the trainers, "Office Time".

"Class Collaboration" virtual or chat within the E-Learning Platform.

We have managed to retain the magic that we always deliver while doing in person training. Of course, nothing can replace being in person and the discussions directly with the class but we are awfully close.

KEEP ! -- STOP !! -- START !!!!

We always like to reflect on these 3 factors when working with any organization so in this venue ...

KEEP -- your employees, enhance your Culture and your Competitive Edge through Training.

STOP -- depriving your employees from Learning, getting better and more competitive by using excuses to deprive them from access to Training.

START -- developing a Training Plan and strategy for your employees along with a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to measure success and effectiveness.

START working with us to design your custom training program



We do more than just blog. We're active Lean practitioners who would love to help you achieve your productivity goals.

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