Robert’s company sent him to an expensive, week-long training course so he could be the “go-to guy” on a complicated set of production equipment. Robert came back from training with high marks from his instructors.
The course covered theory of operation, common problems and their solutions, and advanced troubleshooting techniques. The maintenance manager crossed off the box marked “Mission accomplished.”
But the first time the company called upon Robert to use that training, he fumbled about and seemed lost. When he finally got the equipment running again, his supervisor asked, “What happened?” Robert’s reply was, “I forgot how this thing works.”
So what happened? From the list below, which cause do you think is likely?
1) Robert isn’t as smart as his manager thought he was.
2) Robert is just having a bad week.
3) The training was more than a year ago, and the company never gave Robert any practice assignments or lab work to reinforce that training even though he repeatedly asked for one or the other.
Let’s analyze these choices.
1) This is almost never the case. And if the person in question is a qualified worker whom you would send to expensive training, it is never the case.
2) Maybe, but there’s another option to consider.
Does that answer play out in your facility? Have you seen it in the deluxe version, where the company doesn’t even buy the recommended test equipment? Or just the plus version, where the company buys the cheapest version of the recommended test equipment and refuses to maintain a calibration program for it or train anyone in how to use it?
Training is not a one-shot upgrade. It’s an ongoing process. If you haven’t set aside time, space, and equipment for mock-ups or other practice, people will forget their training unless they are using it regularly in the plant. If we don’t use it, we lose it. Always plan for that when training is involved.
A final note on training is this. Over time, you get “calibration drift” in the training. People develop bad habits, and without retraining those habits replace good methodology and safe practices. Ultimately, they replace good outcomes with bad outcomes. Sometimes, tragically bad.