Can manufacturing training be engaging?
The success of companies in all industries depends on the quality of training they provide. However, manufacturing organizations are in one of those industries with the highest stakes: big profits, significant financial losses, and loss of human life. Therefore, it is essential for them that the training is effective.
However, in reality, few companies will achieve this goal. Most businesses use old-fashioned approaches to teach their employees, such as using workbooks and lectures. Employees therefore perceive training as a mere formality. And that’s what it turns into.
This article describes some of the most effective modern approaches to manufacturing training. They solve common problems that companies face and enable businesses to use training as a tool to achieve success and prosperity.
Businesses don’t introduce something new just because it’s trendy. They choose to invest their money, time, and energy in changing a process that everyone only uses when the current way things are is an extremely big obstacle and the change is absolutely worth the investment.
Traditional training in manufacturing companies falls into this category. There are so many challenges that can only be overcome with quality training that businesses simply cannot afford to continue training their employees the way they used to.
Why is that? Let’s look at some of the main problems that such training has.
With the current trend of high employee turnover, the onboarding process plays an even more important role in business success than before. You need to train new employees on the essentials as quickly as possible so they can start making money for the company. And you need to make a positive impression on the new employee so that he decides to stay with the company. Dozens of PPT slides or an always busy and irritated supervisor don’t help much.
- Failure to provide training for all staff
Face-to-face training always has one limitation that can’t be solved: you can’t train everyone. People have shifts, personal schedules, get sick, and so on. You can never train all the specialists you need if you train them offline.
- Distracting employees from their immediate tasks
These are two things: employees have to leave their workplace to listen to the lecture together with their colleagues; and supervisors have to sacrifice their immediate duties to teach new employees the basics of their role in the company, show them around the factory, etc. This leads to downtime and colossal losses of money.
- Long boring training content plus easy to cheat assessments
Manufacturing companies usually use several workbooks and lectures to train their employees. Imagine reading a hundred page notebook – how much will you remember? Do you actually read it or just skim it? As for lectures, they can be quite effective if the speaker is talented. However, such speakers are a rare find.
- Low involvement in company culture
Engaged employees are productive employees. Your employees should be interested in the company’s success, communicate with their colleagues and be excited about their work environment – only then will they go the extra mile. A number of factors affect employee engagement, and training is one of the most important of them.
These are the most common problems of manufacturers. Each company also has some unique issues related to its case, but they all generally boil down to one massive problem: traditional training is expensive, time-consuming, inefficient, and doesn’t allow employees and the business to grow.
Let’s see how modern training approaches differ and how they are much more productive.
Modern approaches to training employees in production
Modern training takes advantage of the main advantage of living in the 21st century: technology. There are several solutions on the market and people in the training industry get excited about new things every now and then like ChatGPT (now) and metaverse (a year ago – since completely forgotten).
While the effectiveness of brand new technologies is debatable—these tools are new, they haven’t been used in actual training, and so these things are largely theoretical—there is one technology that every business needs and its value is proven. This is a Learning Management System (LMS), or training platform or online training platform.
In short, an LMS is an online platform where you store all your training content, assign it to employees, and track their progress. There are many LMS options, each with their own unique features, pros and cons. We will use iSpring Learn LMS as an example to illustrate modern training approaches.
Online moving training
By moving your training online, you solve three major problems at once: availability, flexibility and cost of training.
Workers can access training anytime, anywhere using their (or company’s) mobile devices, tablets and computers. And you don’t need to find a trainer to go to every department in your organization – they can record their session and upload it to your LMS for staff to review whenever it’s convenient for them. So things like travel expenses and staff not being able to attend a lecture are no longer an obstacle.
Here’s how it works in a nutshell: you choose an LMS, deploy it, upload your training to the platform (or create it from scratch), assign it to employees, and track the results. You kind of create a Netflix platform for your team. However, instead of TV shows and movies, users take courses and assessments.
Moving training online is not the easiest process. There are several steps you need to take and factors to consider. This is probably the most important stage of starting a new training, because if you fail here, you don’t get a second chance.
Be sure to read this step-by-step guide to a successful LMS implementation. It not only outlines all the technical steps, but covers a crucial aspect of moving training online: how to sell the modality to employees and stakeholders, and how to make it work from the start.
Getting supervisors in charge of training
There is no single person or even L&D team that can be in charge of training every employee in a company and do it well. This is not about their competence and professionalism. Just common sense.
To achieve truly impressive results with your manufacturing training, you need to involve the team leader in the management of the training. Learning management systems like iSpring Learn have dashboards—pages in the LMS where team supervisors can monitor the progress of their subordinates and review their assignments.
This is because most supervisors do not believe that training is beneficial to them. At first, they think the same as the employees – that it’s a mere formality that gets in the way of their “real work”. However, if you involve them in the management of the training and show them how a particular course has affected their team’s KPIs, they will change their mind, come to you for other courses on other aspects and ensure that their subordinates take the training seriously. .
Creating training content that really works
We are here again with workbooks and lectures. It’s a bit tiring to see it over and over again, isn’t it? This is exactly how the employees feel about them. The problem isn’t just the repetition, but the way this content works. Or in other words, the fact that it doesn’t work.
Take compliance training for example. Let’s say you need to train your employees on fire safety. How are you doing it? In traditional training, people read a list of actions to take in such situations. They read it, tell their superiors they read it, and forget it.
Now more and more companies are starting to train employees differently. They create interactive role-playing simulations (aka scenarios) where students need to make decisions, not just read about them. And those decisions lead to consequences. People can see why they should immediately go to exit A and not stop at the locker room to get their stuff and then leave via exit B (they’ll get trapped and burn).
These scenarios are repeated over and over until the student makes the right decisions. This is exactly how people learn in real life: they try something, and if it doesn’t work, they try something else and it works. That’s why it’s so effective. And it’s all done in the digital world, so it’s completely risk-free.
In addition to role-playing, there are many other modern content types such as interactions, training videos, and interactive assessments. Depending on the topic and training goals, companies use one or the other type of content or a combination of them.
We go beyond standard training
Finally, modern training is not just about the actual transfer of knowledge. LMSs like iSpring Learn provide more opportunities to engage employees in company culture, build team spirit, and help employees gain a better understanding of what their company is, how it works, etc.
In iSpring Learn, for example, there is an interactive organization chart where new employees can see the organizational hierarchy and find the right colleague for a given task (all employees have their own cards with contact information and job title).
The information feed in the training platform informs employees about the latest company news and announcements. People can also post their own announcements there. So there will be invitations to movie nights, D&D, exhibitions and such.
Gamification features such as points, badges, and leaderboards motivate students to compete with each other by completing more training and passing assessments with higher scores.
Overall, modern training is simply more humanistic, which is why people like it and take it. Employees gain qualifications, improve at their jobs and get promotions. And entrepreneurship increases the level of competence within the company, the quality of its products and services, and consequently its profit.
Where to start
Of course, not all of these approaches can be used immediately. And you don’t have to.
First, you need to find out the current state of your training and determine your training needs and goals. Based on this information, you can create a list of requirements for the LMS that best suits you and use it to select the perfect option. And from there, go on to create and deliver more sophisticated manufacturing training that delivers predictably high results.
Not sure how to find out your current status and training needs? We provide free advice for every case. Fill out this form and we’ll ask you 14 questions to show you the growth points in your training and then give you our recommendations.