Shaun Browne, President of the Digital Mentor Group, gives us a crash course in people-first training program design. "People-first" means writing to a specific audience—your employees—and winning them over by creating instructions and workflows that show you understand what they need to be successful. Shaun walks through building competent, capable employees and covers a variety of practical exercises that you can implement at your company today.
Good day everyone.
My name is Cait Smith and I’m the Director of product outreach here at Dozuki.
I want to thank everyone for joining the webinar today. We have people joining us from United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Before we begin, there are a few ground rules for this webinar that I would like to go over.
Please type out your questions in the message field on the GoToWebinar interface. If you have anything that you'd like to discuss with either Shaun or myself directly, please feel free to contact either of us via email.
As many of you already know, Dozuki is a powerful tool to help organizations define, document, and deploy their processes. Successful organizations, like Micron, Kindred Healthcare, and Comcast, use Dozuki to ensure that production and service processes meet engineering and customer requirements.
Joining us today is Shaun Browne, of Digital Mentor Group. Like Dozuki, Shaun and his company are focused on helping organizations define and document production processes, then deploying those competencies throughout organizations. Digital Mentor Group works with manufacturing, service organizations, pharmaceuticals, and construction materials organizations. He’s helped companies like Lafarge, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, and S C Johnson build process competencies that improve productivity, cut waste, and improve the bottom line.
-- Way back in early Beta (2010) "
Thanks Cait. I’m looking forward to the webinar today and the opportunity to share some tips, ideas, and processes that will help improve productivity, increase regulatory compliance, and strengthen organizational performance.
I know, Shaun, that you also do some pretty exciting work outside of the corporate world. Can you tell me something about your latest project you're working on?
We're working on a UNICEF-funded project to help develop some safe practices for artisanal miners in Northern Uganda. Artisanal miners are among some of the most disadvantaged people on earth. Whole families, including some very young children, earn as little as $0.50 per day by finding a piece of unoccupied land and setting to work digging for gold, diamonds, in fact anything they can find. It's all manual work, using picks, shovels, and kitchen sieves. The project has two objectives; build safe mining practices, and help develop some skills, knowledge, and experience that will prepare them for more stable, safer, and rewarding work. When I saw photographs like this one, I knew I had to see if there was anything I could offer.
We met Shaun when we were developing the early beta version of Dozuki, and since that time, we’ve discovered a number of ways where our two organizations align, where we can learn from each other, and cooperate in providing solutions for our clients.
"This webinar, which we are calling “Designing Competence,” is going to focus on how you–as managers and supervisors–can better empower your employees to own the organizational tasks that you've defined (or will define) as most critical to your company. During our brief time together today, we want to give you practical tools and helpful exercises that will help you identify what tasks should be most important to your organization and how you can motivate your operators and technicians to view those processes as co-owners.
So, with that in mind, here is what we are going to be covering today:
- We're going to do some process mapping to help you determine your current processes: identifying the most critical ones based on risk, revenue, safety, etc...
- Once we have the processes successfully identified we'll run through how to best engage your employees in the training of these processes.
- And we want you to have an opportunity to develop an example standardized instruction today – so, we've used Dozuki to set up a sandbox that will give you a place to try out some of the things we are discussing.
- Finally, this webinar is truly about the ""why"" behind the task. We want to leave you with helpful ideas & exercises to enable you to build that sense of community ownership of these critical processes amongst your staff.
"Before we get to the agenda and the tools, I wanted to start our time today with a quick story about how costly turnover is. We have one client who was loosing almost $7 million a year in employee acuisition costs, $5,800 at a time, right off the bottom line. This client was hiring about 1,200 people a year, to maintain a workforce of about 500 production employees. Ultimately their problem was solved by implementing a new approach to job skills training: but what really was they developed a new culture of putting their people first. I find that when organizations put their put their employees first they get the best returns, in productivity, profitability, and in increased employee satisfaction and loyalty.
Like we're going to cover in this webinar today, we first conducted a 'Known Process' review of the hiring, orientation, and training system they were using. Based on that 'snapshot,' we recommended; a reconfigured orientation program for new hires, a new 'Work Readiness and Preparation' training program, to help prepare employees for life on the production floor, and created a job skills training program, conducted right on the job. We wrote new Standard Work Instructions, built on the best, safest practices. We even built in a graduation ceremony after the new employees completed their first two weeks. We had feedback that, for some, it was the first time they were ever treated so well by an employer. We did a post-project analysis and monitored the turnover numbers very closely. Within the first 3 months, turnover dropped from 120% to 50% and full ROI for the project was under 3 months. Now, turnover is under 10%, in an industry with a traditionally high turnover rate. So, among the lessons learned by the client was to build a positive perception for the new hires, train them to competence, and write accessible standard work instructions that are easily understood by the employees. Lots of pictures, clear language."
So, it's very important to focus on the people that we are writing work instructions for.
"We believe that employees need to know not only WHAT to do in their jobs, but also HOW to do the work, and WHY it’s important to perform the task that way. In addition we also believe that employees need information about safe work practices, tips on maintaining the equipment they’re using, the environment they’re working in, and how to ensure that quality standards are maintained.
That’s why, when we saw learned about the Dozuki platform, and how companies were already using it to visually train their employees, we felt their visual instruction technology naturally aligned with our approach to job skills training."
So, what's a "Known Process?"
"It's the first step in building a good, comprehensive, and work instructions. In determining the ""Known Processes,"" we are taking a 'snapshot' of the production processes actually being performed in the facility.
The assessment can be done with something as simple as a few packages of colored Post-it Notes, a whiteboard, or even a blackboard and some chalk. Since that’s not possible in a webinar, we are going to be using mind-map software–software that I regularly uses to create process maps of production facilities or service operations.
" By doing the process map first, it helps to define the scope and scale of the work that has to be done. Whether you are an HR professional working for your employer, a Subject Matter Expert who is part of a development team, or a consultant working on a project, it’s important to determine what's happening now, before you start into the work of development. You may learn that some good things are happening already.
We’ve also found that the creating a process map for a facility is an excellent way for clients to choose just how much of the project would make sense for their operations. It helps to focus the project and zero in on what's important."
So Shaun, one question that comes to mind – “Can the process map be added to or adjusted after the fact?”
"Let’s take a look at a completed process map first. [iFixit process displayed] Here’s a simplified process mapfor an internet order fulfillment organization. You'll see there are four main wings, and a number of winglets branching off the main wings.
Changes to the process map are easy to do. You can add, remove, edit, or move wings to where they make more sense. Also, changes to the process map can also mean that the scope and scale of the project is expanding, or portions of the project may not be considered as significant as they once did. It helps to fine-tune the design.
So, by building up the process map, you’ve defined all the “Known Work” that is done in the facility.
"Yes, the process map identifies all the known work done in the facility. It's a 'snapshot' that becomes a blueprint for building the Standard Work Instructions. We call it ""Known Work"" because, at this point in development, it's what 's observable. That doesn't mean that we won't find other tasks as the project evolves. But, for now, that's what's done in the facility. As a tool for project planning and scheduling, you can create a comprehensive project plan and schedule, assign tasks to team members. You can even use the process map as an info-graphic, to communicate progress, highlight roadblocks, and mark significant “signposts” as the project unfolds.
One the process map is done and signed off, it’s time to start building the Work Instructions.
"I see a problem here. Everything on the process map appeaers to have the same value. How do we differentiate between tasks? How do we rank the tasks? Surely some are more 'risky' than others.
We need to do some analysis to determine the importance of each task. We can rate each task based on three components; Severity of Injury or Loss, Repetition Frequency, and Probability of Error. If you are building a program around individual performance, you can also do an assessment of Incumbent Skill.
So, by determining the risks of the task, is it possible to assign a rating to each task that you'd expect an employee to perform?
[Show Decision Definitions] Absolutely. It's also possible to bring in SMEs to add to the content. As you can see, the ratings are listed in the second column for each of the categories. The ratings are applied to each task, and the responses are added up. The tasks with the highest numbers have the greatest risk attached to them. In most situations, the more risky the task, the greater the need for training. To speed things up, we've already completed the analysis, and discovered that the biggest risk was the packaging process.
So, now that we know the tasks with the highest risks, we can start building up the training content. The first step we are recommending is to build some basic objectives for the high risk tasks. Our objectives should contain a clear description of what a 'good job' looks like. That way, it will be easier to evaluate learner performance against the objectives we set for the task. To build the performance obhjectives, I like to use SKEB - which stands for the Skills, Knowledge, Experience, and Behaviours the employee requires to be considered competent.
"So, Cait, what ""SKILLS"" does an employee require for the Packaging process?
"[Skills] Well, Packaging requires several skills; selecting an appropriate box for the product, placing the product securely in the box, and adding the appropriate number of 'peanuts' to the box to ensure the product won't be damaged during shipping.
So, that means we will need to include those skills in our training program. What "KNOWLEDGE" will an employee require to package a product for shipment?
[Knowledge] The employee will need to know the 4 different box types and the envelop we use, the standards that the various shippers have for completion and placement of labels, as well as what the requirements are for secure packaqing during shipping.
We can include of the 4 type of boxes, their sizes, and provide some examples. The box sizes and types need to be appropriate to the products being shipped, and employees need to know how to select boxes correctly. They will also need to know how to assemble the box blanks, as there is a process for that, as well.
[Experience] The learning experiences have to be considered next. We need to develop learning experiences, simulations, or practice opportunities that will build capability.
What do we do about "BEHAVIOUR?" How do we train that?
In many respects, behaviour has the most impact on customer perception. It's how the employee behaves, or approaches the task, that determines how the customer develops a positive or negative perception of the organization. Behaviour can be defined just like any other part of the process - how straight the tape is applied when closing the box - how carefully the product is placed in the box - how secure the product is packed in the box - there are a number of behaviours that, if exhibited, help to define the customer experience with the product or service being provided. This is an experience I had recently with some containers of tea. I tried out a new tea that I bought from a specialty tea store. The first box I opened had the tea bags all arranged neatly, they were easy to remove, and it was obvious that someone had spent time and energy packing the tea box just for me. I liked the tea and went back to buy more the next time I needed tea. I was expecting the same customer experience. When I opened the new box, the tea bags were just thrown in, and some were damaged. The second experience I had was not like the first. I thought it might be a fluke, so I bought the same brand again. That third box was as jumbled as the second one was. The tea supplier must have decided that the time required to package the tea neatly was too much, so they had changed their process to something that took less time and attention, to save money. My question was, what else were they saving money on? I didn't buy that brand of tea again. So, what behavours does the employee need to exhibit in order to provide a positive customer experience when they open the box?
Our learners have to know how to keep the tape straight, use the right amount of tape so the box is easy to open, apply the shipping label neatly, and make sure the address on the label matches the purchase order.
So, with all that in mind, we can now start on building a comprehensive work instruction, and for that, I'll turn it over to Cait!
"[Cait begins discussion on using Dozuki to develop the visual work instructions]
[Cait to walk through creating a process in Dozuki] – needs to be more about the process being created then using Dozuki
Rationale for using is that it’s a digital whiteboard"
[run through the creation of content]
"Exposing the ""Why""
- perception of quality (differentiator amongst competitors)
- matching the customer's experience between the site, purchase process, and delivery of product
- shipper needs to see himself as part of a bigger effort attempting to convey purposefulness and sophistication in all the company does.
- safety of products
Recap of how digital instructions are better for connecting the “why”
Dozuki documenation fundamentals need to get tied in here
"Next steps: Documentation deployment
Practically, how is the documentation going to start being
1: cold turkey
2: piece meal based on what’s easy to get started with
3: piece meal based the most risky
How to deploy practically:
1: digital delivery only
2: trainer + digital reinforcement
So, once the visual work instructions are completed, it’s time to deploy them. One of the most significant trends in mobile learning is what some organizations are doing to support their employees. We can still use readily available mobile learning platforms, tablets, or even smart phones to support production employees.
"How to evaluate the user afterwards:
2: quantifiable metrics
"Getting performance to routine
1: Determining when metrics prove you’ve arrived
One question that comes to mind is how does a system like this benefit the employee, the company, and the customer? After all, it does seem like a lot of work.
If we look at this example, the company has invested considerable time, effort, and resources to get its products to market. They've built an excellent business model, stocked a warehouse, hired staff, and built a comprehensive, and attractive website. That represents a huge investment! And since the business is online, customers never have the opportunity to develop relationships with the people who work there, except if there is a problem that requires contacting Customer Service. The only relationship a customer has is with the product, and the box it came in. Any perception the customer has of the company will be formed through their interaction with the website, the accuracy of the product descriptions, but the only thing the customer can see or feel, is the shipping box and the carefully packed product inside. So, connecting the dots, the packaging helps the customer form a lasting and positive impression of the company. The only touch-point the customer has is opening the box and taking the product out - the 'open box experience' - some people call it. So, the neatness of the packaging, the straightness of the tape application, the accuracy of the labeling, and the way the product is secured in the packaging, are all designed to reinforce the positive perception that was first formed during the visit to the website.
So, the open box experience has to mimic the quality of the experience portrayed on the webite.
In order to guarantee the right perception is formed, every step of the process, from order to delivery, has to line up. In-fact, the most important person in the value chain may well be the person who fills the order, that whole process of selecting the right box, placing the products inside, tapeing it shut, and printing and applying the ship-to label. That's what the customer sees, and feels. The approach that person takes to their job will do much to form either a positive, negative, or indifferent experience the customer has. In many cases, return customers are the ones who have positive experience with the organizations they interact with.
Yes, that's totally true and usually overlooked. The main ways we think of a customer's mental representation of a company is how the website looks, or how friendly the customer support or tech support line was to them when they wanted to changeup their order at the last moment. We rarely consider the fact that customers, just like us, are won by details like how the product looked when we first got it: how was it packaged, did the care taken to perfect the initial "out of the box" experience match the care taken to design the website. These little details really matter to customers looking for every shred of confidence to justify their purchase decision.
The little details are very important. They help employees to understand how the work they do impacts customers, employers, and their own work experience. Knowing the details helps employees develop the skills, knowledge, and experience quickly. Some of the metrics that are impacted by the details could include customer retention, frequency and size of orders, profitability, and reputation of the organization.
"I think the value of a ""competent"" employee is clear. The question for all of us is how to get employees to focus on competency from day one. Our suggested answer to that problem is to design the instructions in such a way that they focus the employees attention on what you've identified as critical for the best customer experience.
Unfocused new-hires are going to drown in a sea of ""everyday"" concerns and distractions without our help: Production changes, raw material changes, quality requirement changes, specification changes, etc... It's our job to simplify and highlight the key points in their training: getting them to focus on the important details from day one.
"Well folks, our time is coming to a close today. We strongly hope this webinar has been helpful to where you are at individually. Before we sign off, I wanted to make sure that you have our contact information. If you'd like to ask Shaun questions regarding your specific company processes or if you'd like to contact me about interest in or questions about the Dozuki platform please use the following contact information.
We are always eager to hear your feedback. If you'd like to send us a note about this webinar or other webinar content that you'd love to see, let us know."