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Retain Rather than Retrain

Retain Rather than RetrainPeople with experience have presumably learned the best ways of doing things. We might refer to a dumb mistake as “A greenie mistake” but we never say a person made a mistake because of having too much experience or because of understanding the job so well.

What happens when your experienced people leave? Those people take their knowledge with them, and you must train their replacements.

Training is expensive and takes time. In many cases, you simply will not be able to fully train a replacement because much of the knowledge was learned on the job by the person who left. There’s no training course for the particular issue that the person who left solved long ago.

Written procedures can help with this problem. These can’t replace training,that is you can’t hand an untrained person a procedure and expect that person to perform well. But when a well-written procedure is combined with adequate training, even a person with minimal experience can efficiently do a good job.

To be “well-written,” procedures must be written “lean” rather than in excruciating detail. How do you avoid too much detail? Don’t use procedures to tell the person how to do the work (that’s what training is for). Use them to enumerate the major steps and identify any “gotchas,” time-savers, safety stopping points, and other tips that your experienced people took years on the job to learn.

Source: Mark Lamendola | Mindconnection