Thinking ahead and assuming nothing are the most important traits of a successful trainer.

New equipment, with its technological improvements (and, its unique training challenges), comes into your plant routinely. “Ol’ Charlie,” who has been lubricating the rotating equipment in your facility for twenty years, may not know what you expect he knows. Supervisors may become “blind” to safety hazards that they pass by ten times a day. Respiratory equipment procedures may rely on “written instructions” even though many of your workers do not read well enough to assimilate that information.

Too often, training expenditures are made as a reaction to some internal operating problem: repeated packing failures; increasing waste; lubrication errors, etc.

Reactive training is not the way to address most training issues. It is often piece-meal and is a “horse is already out of the barn” solution.

The key to successful training is to make it an integral part of an organization’s business objectives. Up-front planning helps ensure that your investment in training will deliver measurable results. Your goal is to make training a cost-effective solution that supports the business objectives of your organization.

It is critical to focus training where it will have the greatest effect on performance. Using needs assessment and task analysis techniques, you can identify the greatest opportunities to improve performance through training.

In order to be successful, a training plan must become a solution that can be implemented within the existing structures of your organization. From broad decisions such as curriculum design or the integration of new learning technology — to details such as staffing, scheduling, and equipping the learning environment, you should strive to transform the training plan into a smoothly functioning reality.

At the heart of it all should be a valid “Skills Assessment Test” — administered to everyone in your workforce. Only then will you be able to determine whether “Ol’ Charlie” really knows the best and safest ways to perform his assigned tasks. And, in addition, you’ll be saving your company money by tailoring your training to only those who need it, rather than continuing with a “one size fits all” approach.

In sum, you need to identify your organization’s training needs so that you can recommend the best way to maximize the dollar return on investment. And, you’re going to succeed at that task as long as you successfully develop these two necessary strategies:

•Needs Assessment and Task Analysis
•Training Plan and Implementation

You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the positive dividends you’ll receive from your front-end investment. Because of those efforts, your training initiatives will prove many times more valuable to your organization.

To be successful, training must be integral. It is as important to your organization as almost any initiative your company undertakes. Do it the right way!

Assume nothing! Victory comes to those who analyze and plan before they implement.

More on Tuesday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning (Tuesdays & Thursdays)