For too long, manufacturer's have been bemoaning the lack of an available skilled workforce. Many have been waiting for some form of a White Knight in improved vocational training or government programs to resolve the issue. Progressive and successful manufacturers are discovering, however, that they hold the key to a more knowledgeable, skilled, and valuable workforce. What's more, they had this power all along. The power is in upscaling coaching to maximize the return on investment of these employees. You may be surprised to learn you already have the information available within your own company to take control.
The Return on Investment from Capital Improvements
Manufacturers have long understood the importance of physical capital improvements to their plants. A new machine, production line or process, technology and tools can pay measurable dividends in improved performance, quality, customer satisfaction, turn around time and ultimately, the bottom line. The value of these investments can be seen in higher capacities, less downtime, depreciation and tax benefits. We make decisions on their acquisition frequently based on projections of improved performance from these assets. Once put into place, this equipment is monitored, maintained and upgraded to ensure maximum ROI.
But what about our most valuable assets, our employees?
Pre-Hiring Due Diligence vs Post Hiring Coaching
Hiring the right people can be an expensive process. Failure rates add significantly to that cost. Many use extensive recruiting systems and screening processes. There may be personality tests, multiple personal interviews and drug tests. We understand the value of due diligence in the pre-hiring process because the cost of failures is so apparent. Yet when an appropriate candidate is added to a team, they are too frequently left to “maintain themselves.” They are not provided with the appropriate tools or coaching to not only increase the odds of their success but to improve their ROI. We now have this employee who was hired after extensive (and likely expensive) due diligence, but provide them with little to no post-hiring hiring coaching to maximize their return. It is like investing in new machinery and “hoping” it works out. In today's competitive, world-wide marketplace there is a better path.
Upscaling Coaching in Manufacturing
There are three components to upscaling the coaching in manufacturing plants. They include training, knowledge, and experience.
Training; Every manufacturer provides at least some form of basic, fundamental training. Too often these just center around safety issues, company philosophies, and processes. In just a few days, an employee may know more about his vacation and personal time than he does about his role in the organization. Many companies provide a “training period,” as if there were some limit to how much training is required to become a superior member of the team. Upscaling coaching accepts that training is an ongoing process with expanding roles and growing knowledge.
Knowledge; Odds are your company has a gold mine of data, knowledge, and information. There are frequently common issues with these treasure troves of knowledge, however. They are frequently kept in silos throughout an organization, each protected by its own department. Sales may have an endless string of knowledge about your largest, most profitable clients but that information is not available to engineering. Design capabilities or limitations may not be fully understood by quality control. Imagine how coaching could be upscaled if these knowledge silos could be removed and information more freely accessed and shared?
Experience; Upscaling coaching in manufacturing can also be facilitated by sharing experiences and altering our view on the value of that experience. Companies, and their employees, frequently harbor experiences with a “If I tell you, I'll have to kill you” attitude. Unfortunately, this minimizes the value of these experiences. Experience, like knowledge, should be shared to get the greatest value from it long-term.
Using Technology to Upscale Coaching
Fortunately, technology today can help manufacturer's mine the information and data they already have, making it more easily accessible to both management and employees. This streamlines your ability to enhance and upscale coaching. Employees no longer have to be singularly focused on their isolated tasks. They can be exposed to their greater role within the organization sooner and make a more significant impact. This not only improves employee ROI but also company longevity and loyalty.
You already have the information. It is time to get it out of the silos and into the hands of your most important assets, your team members. It is time to improve collaboration and performance through superior, ongoing coaching. Turn your existing data into the fuel that propels your people and your company forward. That White Knight you are looking for in resolving workforce issues may lie in the very information you already have. Let us help you access it.