two engineers talking in a manufacturing environment

Training is essential in any workplace, including those in the manufacturing sector. Companies that invest in training have 24% higher profits and experience a 20% increase in sales compared with their counterparts.

Unfortunately, the reality is that roughly 59% of staff members do not receive workplace training, and since 2.1 million manufacturing roles could go unfilled by 2030, the stakes are very high. Simply put, workplace training for these team members must begin here and now.

Learn the six best practices for training staff in a manufacturing environment. Reach out to the CMOE team with questions along the way.

What Are the Most Effective Training Methods?

Establishing an effective training roadmap is easier said than done, especially when you’re juggling other manufacturing- and operations-related tasks. This is where we step in. Use the six training methods described below to steer your team in the right direction.

1. Establish Clear Expectations

Clearly explain the expectations you have for each person in a given role. Miscommunication is costly: a survey of 400 large companies reported an average loss of $62.4 million per organization per year.

Don’t assume team members have underlying knowledge or understand exactly what you mean, especially in an environment with safety hazards. Practice being clear and specific.

How to Set Expectations

In the manufacturing industry, establishing clear expectations may involve tasks like those below:

  • Mapping out the specific responsibilities each role will take on during the manufacturing process
  • Showing examples of products that have passed quality checks or products being manufactured
  • Communicating how each role and responsibility impacts both the bigger picture (business goals and priorities) and the smaller picture (team and individual aims)
  • Setting aside time for team members to ask questions

2. Provide Hands-on Training

Studies indicate that only 10– 20% of training transfers to the workplace. Thus, it’s crucial to establish a direct relationship between expected outcomes and the specific tasks required to fulfill those expectations.

When considering how to make training more hands-on for staff members, use the following guidance:

  • Pair new team members with seasoned colleagues who can demonstrate how to use certain equipment: Trainees can watch their mentors use the tools before performing the task themselves. Upon using the equipment, mentors can offer constructive feedback on what trainees did well and where they can improve.
  • Establish real-life scenarios to encourage critical thinking: This step provides the space and time for trainees to make and correct common mistakes made on the production floor, helping them to improve their skills and feel more confident in their roles.
  • Provide various learning materials: Accessibility is vital to training in the manufacturing environment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to training, so providing training via multiple learning platforms and modalities helps ensure that you are catering to different learning styles. For example, you could include courses with written content alongside video-based training.

two engineers talking in a manufacturing environment

3. Put Health and Safety Front and Center

In the manufacturing industry, over 13 million individuals are at risk of injury at any given time. Keep your workforce members safe by reinforcing the importance of health and safety during training and regularly coaching your team on safe workplace practices.

Emphasizing health and safety with your team members may entail some or all of the following:

  • Including a health and safety section in each training. For example, if you’re holding a training on how to use plasma-cutting equipment, be sure to dedicate time to explaining the guards and safety features of the tool—elements that protect the teams’ hands from injury.
  • Coaching team members consistently. Safety is a natural coaching topic, and coaching conversations of this type lend themselves well to formal discussions as well as coaching on the spot. Look for opportunities to discuss safe working practices during regular interactions with your team members.
  • Holding regular safety-training sessions to review procedures and discuss best practices. This reinforces the importance of workplace safety and makes safety a topic of frequent discussion. Normalizing safety conversations creates an environment where people are encouraged to recognize safe practices and discuss any concerns they may have.
  • Prioritizing housekeeping to reduce safety risks. It’s essential for all workers to put their equipment and tools away correctly, both to keep the workplace free from trip hazards and to protect the items from being damaged.
  • Making safety and well-being a part of each employee’s annual goals. Workforce members can submit their goals for safety and well-being during the upcoming year and suggest tangible, measurable ways to achieve them.

The intention behind these steps is to become an advocate for workforce safety. When the lives of your people rest in your hands, it is especially crucial to look after their well-being and to make safety conversations a regular part of your day. Workers who feel cared for, valued, and appreciated become more engaged—and improved engagement increases profitability by 23%

Engagement in the manufacturing industry is essential, yet often falls lower on the scale than in other industries. Investing in your workers can help them feel more engaged and interested in their work.

4. Request Training and Development Feedback

When it’s executed well, staff training and development can help mitigate turnover; 94% of individuals express that they would stick with a business longer if it invested in their development. What constitutes a high-quality training and development roadmap will depend on the needs of the manufacturing business you are in.

Success looks different across the business landscape because every organization and workforce is unique. To improve your training curriculum, it’s essential to gain insights and feedback from staff members. The more feedback you gain and implement, the more targeted and impactful your training will become.

Tips for Gaining Insights from Team Members

Gain insights proactively by

  • Conducting regular 1:1 meetings. Carry out regular meetings with each team member, as often as weekly or at least monthly. Since individual experiences vary, it’s important to provide the opportunity for team members to express any concerns and share their thoughts about how training can improve.
  • Establishing individual training and development goals. When you meet with individual team members, ask about any areas they would like to improve on or skills they would like to learn. Determine KPIs to help individuals measure their progress and fulfill their goals. Consider establishing quarterly goals and encourage workforce members to document key milestones and outcomes throughout that period.

5. Focus on Upskilling

The Manufacturing Institute Training Survey reports upskilling workers can enhance productivity and encourage them to progress in their field.

This survey included the following findings:

  • 67.2% of respondents believe upskilling has helped individuals move into supervisory roles.
  • 48.9% of respondents believe upskilling has extended the longevity of careers.

Here are three ways manufacturing professionals can enhance their skills:

  • Training in new technologies or advanced equipment and systems. Think ahead. Where do you see your manufacturing team in five years? Providing additional expertise can allow them to advance in their current roles and prepare for future changes.
  • Cross training. Building an effective cross-training program allows team members to transition seamlessly between workstations, lines, or shifts. Additionally, cross-training helps individuals to build additional skills, bolstering company operations.
  • Creating a skills matrix to keep track of skill levels across teams. This will provide you with a bird’s-eye view of each person’s skills, which you can use to determine how to adjust shifts or positions as needed.

6. Train Your Leaders

Adequately training staff begins with you. Invest in yourself and your leaders. Continuously developing those who oversee training sessions is crucial to making a difference on the production floor, but according to a recent survey, 58% percent of leaders report that they did not receive any management training.

Learning should never stop. Leadership Development Program Design equips leaders at all levels to develop their confidence and the skills they need to lead and train others effectively. CMOE will collaborate with you to build a leadership development program based on your organizational leaders’ specific challenges and roadblocks.

In addition to introducing tools and techniques, CMOE’s development programs provide an interactive, highly applicable learning experience that enables leaders to apply the training to their manufacturing teams right away.

Drive Bottom-Line Results with CMOE

Explore CMOE’s training programs to determine whether they align with the needs of your manufacturing business. Our team is looking forward to helping you craft a training plan that is customized specifically to the needs of your organization.

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About the Author
CMOE’s Design Team is comprised of individuals with diverse and complementary strengths, talents, education, and experience who have come together to bring a unique service to CMOE’s clients. Our team has a rich depth of knowledge, holding advanced degrees in areas such as business management, psychology, communication, human resource management, organizational development, and sociology.

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