The training and development of team members has been a priority at Daman for more than two decades. With the current shift in the labor market, we have recognized the need to review our orientation processes and have been developing and enhancing employee training programs to improve the culture and consistency of Daman’s company processes.
Let’s face it, when new employees join a team, they can be thrown into action with little to no context for the role. For distributor partners, there is always the sense of urgency to have new team members start selling. The reality: 73 percent of employees want orientation training about an organization's policies, mission and culture. In fact, 54% of organizations with a formal on-boarding process experience greater new hire productivity and 50% experience greater new hire retention.
GigEconomy Group shares that direct-selling organizations that have continued to rely on manual training tools and sales reporting leave management detached from individual training outcomes, unable to respond to deficiencies in the on-boarding process with new content and process refinements. The result is an industry-wide distributor retention rate that trails that of the economy as a whole.
While Daman has faced different challenges with retaining employees in its manufacturing environment, our management team has found the following four practices to be game-changing tactics in making a difference with hiring and orienting employees for greater meaning, success and retention in their roles. These additions go beyond the typical HR paperwork and product training that are often the standard components of basic orientation training programs.
Procedural Orientation: Providing consistent and updated materials
Beyond classroom programs, Daman has updated training materials on the shop floor. The team has implemented Dozuki video training, a platform to deliver standard operating procedures electronically to employees as they are performing tasks through the use of tablets in their work area. The training videos and electronic standard operating procedures assist with improving training consistency and involving team leaders in the process of updating materials for production employees on a real-time basis.
Cultural Orientation: Educate and demonstrate positive attitudes and core values
In a collaborate effort to improve performance, Daman’s manufacturing, continuous improvement, and human resources leaders recognized gaps in our orientation process. Although we have recognized the importance of a standard employee orientation training program and have been offering one for decades, we knew there were areas that could be improved.
Choosing to focus this improvement on team development and retention, Daman leadership took steps to implement new curriculum into our program. In addition to the content of our original orientation process—which covers communication techniques like straight talk, giving and receiving feedback, having a winning attitude, and how to handle conflict—we have added an emphasis on the company’s core values, engaging adult learners, goal setting and understanding personality styles.
In 2018, Daman’s managers developed a training program for building trust, which is one of the company's five core values. Based on Ken Blanchard’s trust model, this program was presented to all manufacturing employees who had been with Daman longer than one year, and the program continues to be offered annually.
Culture training is often overlooked. Yet, without knowing the playbook and intentions of the organization, employees will be left guessing and making false assumptions based on their own conditioning and interpretation of others’ behaviors. Taking the time to explain the culture, values and ideals of the organization, and having stories told through other employees are instrumental ways to start employee engagement off on the right foot.
Structural Orientation: Engage teaching deep inside the organization
Daman management developed a Train The Trainer program to improve the consistency of on-the-job training delivered in Daman’s manufacturing cells. In the past, the Train The Trainer program was facilitated by team leaders and was eventually delivered to all employees. Now, roughly 70% of this program has been added to Daman’s orientation training, which is attended by all new hires at Daman.
Another important example of structural orientation is Daman's construction inspection training. This training series—which specializes in the education and development of new employees—includes training for all required technical skills such as reading a machinist scale, reading a blueprint, using machinist calipers and micrometers, inspecting critical cavity diameters and depths, and many more technical details required for the role.
To understand the context of a role, especially in the fluid power world of technical engineering and manufacturing, it is important to show employees the structure of their role through at least one full cycle of work—over multiple consecutive days. Daman’s TAG training program offers expectations and the structural training to give guidance and direction to the new team member covering written and unwritten procedures and practices of a role. Train The Trainer and the TAG program more quickly instill new hire job knowledge, increase productivity, and impact decreases in turnover / increases in retention because new team members feel informed and welcome.
Leadership Orientation: Teaching was is often assumed yet not present
This year, Daman has focused on building a program to develop shift leaders’ leadership skills. In April, Daman launched this six-month program that includes training on Self Leadership (Ken Blanchard), Time Management (based on the book The Productivity Revolution), The One Minute Manager (Ken Blanchard), and Situation Leadership II (Ken Blanchard). This program, which will wrap up in October, is attended by all 15 shift leaders.
Gallup reports that only one in ten managers possess the skills necessary to be a great manager. While management and leadership skills are learned, supervisors and managers tend to be promoted and hired without learning how to effectively manage their teams. Given this statistic, it should be assumed that everyone—including those in higher management roles—needs continuous leadership and communication feedback and training.
In summary, we all know that training is an essential component of attracting, developing and retaining employees. As such an important component of company success, training needs to be continually adapted and must evolve with the current company and employee needs, ensuring that the intended learning is absorbed and applied to everyday practice.
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