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Training Engagement Tips for Your Operations Leaders, Part 4: Culture

By Chance Navarrete   |   

In this series of blog posts, we are exploring the 4 Cs to Getting Operations Leaders Excited About Training with Bob Rysavy, HR Training Manager at Hearthside Food Solutions, and Kristin Kastrup, Senior Consultant, Training and Human Resource Optimization.

“Training culture” is a term that gets thrown around a lot, but what does a good training culture actually look like? And what can you do to build one, at your company? A few starting points from Rvsavy and Kastrup:

Remind people of their sense of purpose. “It starts with people,” says Rvsavy. “Great people equal great results. And most of all, a sense of purpose.” If you can remind everyone you work with what their purpose is, you’ve built a strong foundation for a great culture.

Transform your leadership. Ask your leaders to write down a list explaining why training is valuable and why now is the best time to train. Actually putting these explanations on paper makes them official, and can even be a self-fulfilling prophecy! And in the future, you can remind them of their original intention in their very own words.

Take a formalized learning process and grow avenues to train based around that. Use a robust training platform like Alchemy Playbook to build an on-the-job training program that’s both structured and scalable. This way, no matter what new developments arise — whether it’s a new acquisition, a new plant, or a new hire — you can easily expand your learning program to bring your new additions aboard in a way that’s easy for your operations leaders to manage.

Make training a key performance indicatory (KPI) that impacts everyone’s bottom line. Everyone should be accountable for learning. Your greatest trainers are the ones who make sure they are putting every bit of their knowledge to work, and you should reward that! On the flip side, if training is an important part of compensation or bonuses it’s important to make training a KPI so that employees always know whether or not they’re on track. “That hits home really fast,” says Rvsavy.

Reward training excellence. Don’t just reward them when they do training — reward them when they do it early, and often. Broadcast to everyone that you not only respect training, but you expect training.

Request active support from senior leadership. It’s highly beneficial to get senior leadership to support your training initiative, and to even show up to trainings when appropriate. Even better, if the training has something to do with leadership development, have them lead the training!

How to Connect the Dots Between a Positive Training Culture and Business Outcomes

Akin to tying KPIs to training, how can you measure the ROI on a positive culture?

Have a solid plan. Thinking things through in advance allows you to map out how each activity connects to positive business outcomes, and avoids the appearance of “making it up as you go.” A well-constructed plan gives you the dual superpowers of consistency and the ability to be concise!

Look at your retention numbers. If workers are staying put, this means that something is working. But remember that an effective training program goes beyond just checking the box. Are your workers retaining the information? Are they confident that they know how to apply it when they’re working? “If you’re retaining information and your safety numbers are looking great because of it, and your quality is improving and your audits are improving – that’s a win,” says Rysavy.

Catch people doing things right! We spend so much time trying to catch people doing things wrong—try turning that around and catching when people do something right. Rewarding positive behavior is a surefire way to build a positive culture at your company, and it ensures that you’ll see more of the correct behavior in the future!

Bonus Tips for Improving Your Company Culture

  • Invest in your own personal development. Practice what you preach!

  • Develop or utilize tools available to make training fun but still substantial.

  • Listen to your employees. Apply the 80/20 rule: Speak 20% of the time, and listen 80% of the time.

And there you have it! We’ve covered each of the 4 Cs for getting operations leaders excited about training: collaboration, commitment, communication, and culture.

Special thanks to Kristin Kastrup and Bob Rysavy for sharing their expertise and insight on the different ways that you can get your operations leaders excited about training and understand what the benefits are to drive a robust, training culture at your facility.


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