Can Manufacturing Training Be Engaging?
The success of companies in all industries depends on the quality of the training they provide. However, manufacturing organizations are in one of those industries that have the highest stakes: great profits, significant money losses, and loss of human life. That’s why it’s essential for them to make training effective.
In reality, though, few companies accomplish this goal. Most businesses use old-fashioned approaches to teach their staff, like using workbooks and lectures. So, employees perceive training as a mere formality. And that’s what it turns into.
This article portrays several of the most effective modern approaches to training in the manufacturing industry. They resolve common issues that companies face and empower businesses to use training as a tool for achieving success and thriving.
Businesses don’t implement something new just because it’s modern. They decide to invest their money, time, and energy in changing a process that everyone’s used only when the current way that things are poses an extremely large hurdle and a 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 through quality training that businesses simply can’t afford to continue training their staff the way they used to.
Why is that so? Let’s examine some of the main issues that such training has.
With the current trend of high employee turnover, the onboarding process plays an even more vital role in business success than before. You need to train new hires on the essentials as fast as possible so they can start earning money for the company. And you need to make a positive impression on a new employee so they decide to stay in the company. Dozens of PPT slides or an always-busy-and-irritated supervisor aren’t much help.
- Inability to provide training to the entire staff
Face-to-face training always comes with one limitation that cannot be resolved: you can’t train everyone. People have shifts, personal plans, they get ill, and so on. You can never train all the specialists you need if you train them offline.
- Taking employees away from their immediate tasks
Two things are involved here: employees have to leave their workplace in order to listen to a lecture along with their colleagues; and supervisors have to sacrifice their immediate duties to teach new hires the essentials of their role in the company, show them around the factory, etc. This leads to downtime and colossal money losses.
- Long dull training content plus assessments that are easy to cheat on
Manufacturing companies typically use several workbooks and lectures to train their staff. Imagine reading a hundred-page workbook—how much will you remember? Will you really read it or just flip through it? As for lectures, they might be quite effective if the speaker is talented. However, such speakers are a rare find.
- Low engagement with corporate culture
Engaged employees are productive employees. Your staff members should be interested in the company’s success, interacting with their colleagues, and excited about their working environment—only then will they go the extra mile. A number of factors affect employee engagement, and training is one of the most significant among them.
These are the most common issues for manufacturers. Each company also has some unique issues related to its case, but they all generally come down to a single massive issue: traditional training is costly, time-consuming, ineffective, and doesn’t empower employees and the business to grow.
Let’s see in which ways modern training approaches are different and what makes them much more productive.
Modern Approaches To Training Manufacturing Employees
Modern training uses the main perk of living in the 21st century: technology. There are multiple solutions on the market, and every now and then people in the training industry get excited about new stuff, like ChatGPT (now) and metaverse (a year ago—completely forgotten since then).
While the effectiveness of brand-new techs is debatable—these tools are new, haven’t been used in actual training, and so this stuff is majorly theoretical—there is one technology that every business needs, and its value is proven. That’s a Learning Management System (LMS), aka a training platform or an online training platform.
In short, an LMS is an online platform where you store all your training content, assign it to employees, and monitor their progress. There are many LMS options, each having its own unique features, pros, and cons. We’ll use iSpring Learn LMS as an example to illustrate modern training approaches.
Moving Training Online
By moving your training online, you solve three serious issues at once: accessibility, flexibility, and the cost of training.
Workers can access training anytime, anywhere using their (or corporate) mobile devices, tablets, and computers. And you don’t have to get a lecturer to go to every department of your organization—they can record their session and upload it to your LMS so employees can view it whenever it’s comfortable for them. So, things like travel expenses and employees’ inability to be present at a lecture are no longer obstacles.
Here’s how it works in a nutshell: you select an LMS, deploy it, upload your training to the platform (or create it from scratch), assign it to employees, and track results. You sort of create a Netflix platform for your team. But, 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 new training because, if you fail here, you might not get a second chance.
Make sure to read this step-by-step expert guide to implementing an LMS successfully. It not only outlines all the technical steps but covers a crucial aspect of moving training online: how to sell this modality to employees and stakeholders, and how to make it work from the very beginning.
Getting Supervisors In Charge Of Training
There’s no single person or even an L&D team that can be in charge of training each and every employee in the company and do it well. This isn’t about their competencies and professionalism. Just common sense.
To achieve truly impressive results with your manufacturing training, you need to involve team supervisors in training management. Training management systems, like iSpring Learn, have supervisor dashboards—pages in an LMS where team supervisors can monitor their subordinates’ progress and review their assignments.
The reason this is important is that most supervisors don’t believe training is beneficial for them. At first, they think of it just like employees—that it’s a mere formality that gets in the way of their “real work.” However, if you involve them in training management and show them how a particular course affected the KPI of their team, they’ll change their mind, will come to you for more courses on other aspects, and will make sure their subordinates take training seriously.
Creating Training Content That Actually Works
Here we are again with workbooks and lectures. A bit tiring to see them over and over, right? That’s exactly how employees feel about them. Not only is the repetition an issue, but the way this content works. Or, in other words, the fact that it doesn’t work.
Let’s take compliance training, for instance. Say, you need to train your staff on fire safety. How do you do this? With traditional training, people read the list of actions they need to take in such situations. They read it, they tell their superiors that they’ve read it, and they forget it.
Now, more and more companies are starting to train employees differently. They create interactive role-play simulations (aka scenarios) where learners need to make decisions, not just read about them. And these decisions lead to consequences. People see why they should go to exit A immediately and not stop by a locker room to take their belongings and then leave through exit B (they’ll get trapped and burn).
These scenarios repeat over and over until a learner makes the correct choices. 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 all happens in the digital world, so it’s completely risk-free.
Apart from role-plays, 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 content type or another, or combine them.
Going Beyond Standard Training Delivery
Finally, modern training isn’t only about the actual transfer of knowledge. LMSs, like iSpring Learn, provide more opportunities to engage employees in corporate culture, build team spirit, and help the staff have a better idea of what their company is, how it operates, etc.
For example, there’s an interactive organizational chart in iSpring Learn, where new hires can see the hierarchy of the organization and find the necessary colleague for a task (all employees have their cards with contact information and job title).
A newsfeed in the training platform keeps employees up to date with the latest company news and announcements. People can post their own announcements there, too. So, invitations to movie nights, D&D, exhibitions, and such will appear there.
Gamification features, like points, badges, and leaderboards, motivate learners to compete with each other by taking more trainings and passing assessments with a higher score.
Overall, modern training is just more humanistic, and that’s why people like it and take it. Employees upskill, get better at their job, and get promotions. And the business increases the level of competence within the company, the quality of its products and services, and subsequently, its profit.
Where To Start
Of course, one can’t take advantage of all of these approaches right away. And you don’t have to.
You first need to identify the current state of your training and determine your training needs and goals. Based on that information, you can make a list of requirements for an LMS that fits you best and use this to select the perfect option. And proceed from there to creating and running a more sophisticated manufacturing training that brings predictably high results.
Not sure how to identify your current training state and needs? We provide free consulting for each case. Fill out this form and we’ll give you 14 questions that will show the points of growth of your training, and then provide you with our recommendations.