We all are familiar with the famous quote attributed to Albert Einstein that speaks to the perceived "definition of insanity". That quote states that insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". It's quite humorous to think about, but in reality, how many times do we run afoul of that wise statement? How many times have you seen a company's answer to a mistake manifest itself as "retraining". Retrain, retrain, retrain! The problem is...the mistakes don't seem to go away. One thing is for certain though, each time the mistake is made, we retrain.
Does Albert Einstein's famous quote come to mind here? What we end up doing to our training efforts with the "retrain, retrain. retrain" mindset is we weaken it significantly. This is because training becomes viewed as, and associated with punishment in the minds of our workforce because the company only insists on training when something wrong has occurred. We want our workforce to look at training as a privilege or a positive. We want training to come across as, "the company is investing in me" versus "I'm in trouble".
We can help avoid the "retrain" cycle by offering rigorous levels of development for the workforce to progress through. These levels of development should be created by the subject matter experts of the operation along with area owners, and training staff. The levels should reflect realistic expectations of an individual within a certain time span of employment. Gates to higher levels can be reflected in the form of check-off lists, job observations, verbal questioning, and written assessments. The latter two (verbal questioning and written assessments) should only be used in conjunction with either the check-off lists or observation. This is due to the fact that there are many who can say what they should be doing, but, cannot put it into action.
The level gateways can be incentivized financially or with status and expanded responsibility. The aim is to create a sense of pride and achievement. If installed CORRECTLY, this development structure should help decrease mistakes that would normally activate the "retrain, retrain, retrain" philosophy. Use true structural employee development in your organization. Retraining at the point of a mistake typically won't get to the root cause of why an action was taken and the fear of punishment can serve as a block to material absorption.
Keenan McBride, CPTM