What is the true measure of training?

Posted by on Feb 17, 2012 in Facilities Management, Leadership, Training | 1 comment

Why do we send people to training? What should we expect from a training program? Considering the amount of money spent for training, we should expect results – but what are those results specifically? When I’ve asked these questions of others, I’ve received answers such as knowledge, skills, certification, qualifications and the like. But the true measure of training isn’t the increased knowledge, new skill sets, or additional certifications (though these may be indicators that training has been successful). The true measure of training is in fact determined by measuring how much behavior has changed. Training is used to serve another function as well, the validation of current skills and knowledge. While validation is one of the most used functions of training programs, there are still other, more effective methods to determine this. We’ll examine that a little later. When I send a technician to train on the latest techniques of rebuilding a compressor, I expect that they will return being able to do something they couldn’t do before, e.g., rebuild a compressor using new processes or methods. This new behavior can be measured and observed. If you want to measure how effective your training programs are, you need to observe and measure changes in behavior....

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The crucial role of the facilities manager in mission critical environments (part 2 of 2)

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in Facilities Management, Leadership, Training | 1 comment

Last week I described my issues with how the most important roles and responsibilities of the facilities manager are not being addressed or supported by organizations.  This week I look at these roles and responsibilities in more detail and offer my thoughts on how to ensure that your organization integrates them into its operation. To illustrate the problem, let’s look at the hiring process.  It is a common experience to be hired into a company and find that the job description does not resemble the actual job duties.  In fact, I have seen positions where the job description did not exist.  Organizations that do not formalize these important roles and responsibilities through documentation risk hiring someone for the role who may not understand the true role, responsibilities, or priorities of their position.  On the other hand, candidates who understand their roles and responsibilities correctly will encounter frustration if the organization doesn’t share their focus....

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Training costs — but the lack of training costs more

Posted by on Nov 14, 2011 in Training | 0 comments

“In 1979, the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station suffered a meltdown which caused billions of dollars in losses. One of the main contributors to the accident was lack of training (Presidential Commission Report, 1979). In 2008, a powerful explosion at the Bayer CropScience plant in West Virginia caused the death of two operators and injured eight others. This plant was producing methyl isocyanate (MIC), the same gas that killed over 4,000 in Bhopal, India. The explosion was caused in part by lack of training (U.S. Chemical Safety Board, 2009). Though not as dramatic, but possibly just as costly, Google’s reputation was tarnished and the company lost millions of dollars after they experienced an outage of all of their App Engine applications. One of the listed causes of the outage was a lack of training (Google, Inc., 2010). There are countless examples of why training is such an important investment for mission critical facilities....

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Teach someone something every day!!!

Posted by on Oct 21, 2011 in Facilities Management, Leadership, Training | 0 comments

I have worked in the nuclear industry for over 20 years and one of the major tenets of the industry is training.  We train you when you first get here, we train constantly while you’re here, and we train you when anybody learns anything about anything relevant.  Needless to say, all this formal training costs.  It is not uncommon for the training budget to be one quarter of the operational costs of the site.  Training is mandated by law, regulations, and good practices.  After all who wants people operating nuclear power plants who are not properly trained? With all this training I had the opportunity to work with some of the highest trained and operationally ready people in the world.  It was a wonderful experience.  I support and believe that the consequences of failure demand this type of training routine and program. Most mission critical facilities organizations cannot afford to support this type and level of training. That is the hard reality of economics of our industry, so what can we do?...

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