Developing a Training Program That Assists Hiring of Maintenance Techs

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Recently a commercial real estate maintenance company came to us looking for help putting together a comprehensive maintenance technician training program to meet the needs of not only their new hires but of their maintenance techs throughout their careers with the company.

Although this company had many reasons to want to improve their training program, one was that it was becoming difficult in a tight labor market to hire without being able to offer that benefit to their job candidates. Given that people in the labor force may have multiple job possibilities, letting job candidates know the company offered a training program, and letting the candidates see that program and understands how it works, was a significant competitive advantage in hiring.

Of course, the company benefitted in other ways from designing and creating a maintenance technician training program for their maintenance techs, but if you can’t hire employees, your continuous improvement, growth, and learning business goals are stopped before you start. So we’ll focus by explaining the program’s influence on hiring new employees, but stay tuned for additional articles that discuss equally important benefits of the new training program, such as employee retention, overall employee morale, maintenance skill development within the employee population, and better customer satisfaction from the company’s customers.

For now, read and enjoy the article, and let us know if you have any questions about your own facilities maintenance training program at work. Plus, check out our recorded webinar on maintenance, maintainability, organizational learning, and continuous improvement. 

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6 Steps for Creating Effective Manufacturing Training Programs

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Want to know how to design, create, and deliver effective manufacturing training programs at work? The kind of manufacturing training that truly helps workers acquire new knowledge and develop new skills they can perform on the job? The kind that will have a real, measurable effect on key business KPIs such as average time to onboard a new employee and even production, revenue, and profit?

We’ve got a pretty simple, six-step formula for success for you to follow in this article. Just put these six steps into action at your manufacturing facility and you’ll have more skilled workers before you know it. The employees will thank you for it (after all, they want to know how to perform their jobs well) and so will your bosses.

This article explains each of the six steps in a good bit of detail below. But if you really want to take a deep-dive, know that we’ve provided links throughout the article so you can explain various aspects even more. (more…)

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The LTEM Training & Learning Evaluation Model

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In a recent discussion with learning researcher Dr. Will Thalheimer, we discussed four common learning evaluations models and mentioned that, in addition, Dr. Thalheimer had recently created his own called LTEM (which he “workshopped” with other leaders in the field and which he’s now iterated 12 times).

In the discussion below, Dr. Thalheimer explains his LTEM learning evaluation model.

We’d like to thank Dr. Thalheimer for taking time to talk with us about this and for all of his contributions to workplace learning, including his work on smile sheets, spaced practice, conference presentations, the effectiveness of elearning, evidence-based training & learning myths, and lots more.

If you’d like to watch the recorded video, we’ve got that for you immediately below. If you’d prefer to read the transcript, that’s below the video. Enjoy and share your thoughts in the comments section.

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What Is a Hackathon?

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As a company focused on helping companies improve workplace performance, we’ve got a lot of interest in techniques intended to help solve problems, be more creative, and innovate more. For example, check out our articles on learning organizations, design thinking, facilitating change, learning teams, and innovation.

And that’s why we asked our good Dr. Stella Lee to have a discussion with us about hackathons (you may remember Dr. Lee from our earlier discussion on disruptive technologies in L&D).

Thanks to Dr. Lee for telling us what a hackathon is, sharing with us some reasons to hold a hackathon, and giving us specific tips on how to hold a hackathon based on her own personal experiences doing so (pus she shared some great resources for learning more!).

You can listen to our recorded discussion immediately below or, if you’d prefer, we’ve typed up the transcript below that.

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Commonly Used Training Evaluations Models: A Discussion with Dr. Will Thalheimer

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Dr. Will Thalheimer is of the most respected learning researchers out there. And that’s especially true when it comes to issues regarding learning evaluation.

We were excited to be able to talk with Dr. Thalheimer about four common learning evaluation models, and we’ve got the recorded video for you below. If you prefer your learning evaluation information in written form, just scroll down for the transcript of our discussion. And if you’d like to read other discussions we’ve had with Will, click these links to learn more about spaced practice, the effectiveness of elearning, smile sheets, and learning myths v. learning maximizers.

Many thank to Will for participating in this discussion on learning evaluation and for everything he does. Please be sure to go off and check out his other materials and offerings at his website. And when you finish this discussion, know that we had a follow-up in which Dr. Thalheimer explained his new LTEM learning evaluation model as well.

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What Is Design Thinking?

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If you’ve never heard of design thinking, you might find this brief introduction of value. If you’re already using design thinking, we value your additional insights and contributions in the comments section below.

So what is design thinking, those of you who’ve never heard of it before may be asking? Tim Brown, the president and CEO of IDEO (who played a big role in the development and spread of design thinking), puts it this way:

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

You can use design thinking to help create better products, services, and experiences for your customers; to help improve workplace conditions for your employees; to improve workplace processes and procedures; or to fix other problems. In that sense, it’s a bit of an all-purposes problem-solving tool with a focus on empathy, being human-centered, and the user’s experience that includes a healthy dose of collaboration.

We’ll provide a quick overview of design thinking in the article below. We’ll also provide links to resources where you can learn more. If you’ve used design thinking yourself at work, please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.

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Facilitating Change for Performance Improvement & Innovation: A Discussion with Arun Pradhan

The one constant in the universe is change. Or so the great philosophers say–you can’t step into the same river twice, after all.

Given the possibility that this is true, it makes sense for all of us to be better prepared to acknowledge the inevitable nature of change, prepare for it, and learn to benefit from it when possible.

To help us wrap our heads around this, we touched base with L&D guru and change agent Arun Pradhan (you may remember our earlier discussion with Arun on lifelong learning and learning agility). A million thanks to Arun for sharing his thoughts with us on change.

As for you, you’ve got two choices–watch a recording of the video discussion immediately below, or scroll down further to read a transcript. Either way, we hope you enjoy this.

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Intro to Systems Thinking for Workplace Performance Improvement

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It’s common to hear people talking about the importance of systems thinking in the workplace these days.

The point that folks make is that if you want to really solve problems, or really grasp opportunities, you’ve got to think of issues systemically.

I’ve heard this same basic point made by people in different work circles: learning and development, safety, operations, maintenance, HR, and more.

And beyond that, the point is often extended with some helpful advice: think of connections instead of disconnections/silos; think in circles instead of in a linear manner; think in wholes instead of parts; think of synthesis instead of analysis; think of relationships instead of about things in isolation. Be big-picture. Be holistic.

And that advice is good, to a point. But I also find it somewhat vague and hard to act on.

As a result, I decided to do a little reading on systems thinking to learn more. I’m hoping that by learning about different systems archetypes, different components of systems, and the different ways systems grow/decline, it will make it easier to identify systems at work, determine how they work, and then try to change them when I want to.

I’m doing this as a bit of a “learning out loud” project, not entirely knowing where this will go or how useful it will be. As a result, even though I always invite your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below, that’s especially true for this article. If you’ve got your own favorites sources about systems thinking, your own thoughts about systems thinking and how to apply it at work, or if you can begin to point out how to apply some of the lessons below in specific contexts, please do share! NOTE: Here’s one by Steven Shorrock on Systems Thinking for Human Factors that just got published.

In the credit-where-credit is due section, I should note that this article is largely based on the first-half of the book Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows. We are deeply endebted to Meadows here and in no way do we think this captures all the great thought in the book. Please consider buying a copy of the book today, as it goes into much more detail and includes many helpful examples and illustrations. It’s our plan to return to some of the materials in the second-half of Meadows’ book in future articles.

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What Is Evidence-Based Training?

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Not that long ago, we wrote a blog article about learning myths, and in that article, we promised we’d cycle  back and write another on evidence-based training practices. This is the fulfillment of that earlier promise–an article on evidence-based training. (Note that in addition, you might want to check out this free, recorded webinar on evidence-based training and learning myths and this discussion about learning maximizers and learning myths with Dr. Will Thalheimer).

We’ll give you an introduction to evidence-based training in this article, explaining:

  • What evidence-based training is
  • Why we believe you should use evidence-based training methods
  • What are some evidence-based training methods
  • Where you can learn more about evidence-based training

Along the way, we’ll also link you to some other articles and interviews we’ve already done on evidence-based training practices, including interviews with some of the learning researchers out there.

We hope you’ll enjoy this and invite any questions.

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LMS Basics: What is a SaaS LMS?

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In this issue of our ongoing LMS Basics series, we’re going to take a little dip into the alphabet soup of the learning technology world by exploring what a SaaS LMS is. That’s a software as a service learning management system for those of you who still use words to communicate and think.

If you’d like to know what a SaaS LMS is or what some of the advantages are, read on.

Also, don’t forget to download our free LMS buyer’s guide either here or from the button at the bottom of this article.

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Recorded Webinar: Evidence-Based Training Practices

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Our friends at RedVector once again had Jeff Dalto of Convergence Training over at their webinar series, this time for a discussion of evidence-based training methods and learning myths. We’ve got a recording of the webinar below for ya.

Kasey of RedVector and Jeff discuss the following in the evidence-based training webinar:

  • What is evidence-based training
  • How people process information
  • The difference between training delivery methods and instructional methods
  • Blended learning solutions
  • Evidence-based training practices (a partial list)
  • Learning myths
  • Where to learn more

Check out the recorded Evidence-Based Training Webinar at our Webinars page

And don’t forget to download our free Guide to Learning Objectives for Workplace Performance Improvement, below.

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How to Write Learning Objectives

Get this free guide to learn all you need to know to write learning objectives, create better training, and help improve workplace performance.

Download Free Guide

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Contractor Orientation Challenges & Solutions: Free Downloadable Guide

Free Guide to Contractor Orientation Solutions & Challenges

Many organizations need to provide orientation materials to contractors, visitors, and vendors before those people can arrive on site. These orientations may cover safety but also things like HR compliance issues (sex harassment, inclusive workplace, etc.), privacy/trade secrets, and other legitimate concerns of the company as part of its enterprise risk management efforts.

In response, many companies try to create, deliver, and keep records of those orientations for contractors, visitors, and vendors. And that’s where the problems often begin.

Because your organization has expertise in making super-widgets (or cars, or airplanes, or machines, or paper, or…you get it), not contractor orientation materials and systems.

In this free downloadable guide (you can get it at the bottom of this article), we explain three common challenges organizations face related to contractor orientations and three simple solutions.

Download the free guide at the bottom of this article and also feel free to download our online contractor orientation buyer’s guide as well.

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