Five Steps to Implement an Effective Training Program

An effective training program is a strategic investment that can generate incredible results: improving performance, increasing efficiency, and boosting employee satisfaction. Yet, 80% of all businesses experience challenges related to training their maintenance teams. Why? Cost, time, and a lack of resources can all be roadblocks, but when done right, a robust training program can create long-term savings.

Whether it’s onboarding new maintenance technicians, upskilling existing staff, or introducing new processes and technologies, training enhances tech confidence, improves retention, and can attract top talent. 

Fortunately, implementing a training program doesn’t have to be a burden. Here are five steps for building a cost-effective, results-driven training program:  

Step 1: Develop Clear Communication and Leadership Strategies

With any new initiative, it is essential to have the support of executive leadership and maintenance stakeholders to drive adoption. Whether you’re gaining buy-in from someone in more of an operations role, or someone who is supervising maintenance teams, communicating the rationale behind training initiatives, sharing the vision for the training, and touting the benefits to individual employees and the organization as a whole can establish more engagement. Leaders can champion the program by making learning a part of daily job tasks and encouraging a training culture up and down the management chain.

Step 2: Empower Your Maintenance Supervisors

It’s not just your maintenance technicians that need to feel supported–supervisors and other leadership members need to be provided with the resources they need to drive adoption and engagement.Giving managers the tools to assess employees’ skill levels can help them quickly identify where their team excels and the specific training needed to help each individual fill skill gaps. 

Providing a means to customize training based on gaps in learning and skills ensures time spent learning is used effectively, which engages employees, helps trainers, and benefits the company. Knowing which areas individual learners are focusing on allows managers and trainers to ensure learners have the fundamental skills required before joining classroom training sessions. They can assign pre-work so all employees have the same foundational knowledge when they show up for the session..

Step 3: Tailor Training for All Skill Levels

Time is valuable, and it is essential to know your employees’ skill levels and what they need to learn. Skills assessments help gauge the technical acumen of your employees and create a skills inventory so you immediately understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team and put the right people in the right place. By getting this objective read-out and insights into your maintenance team’s skills, you’ll be able to identify critical areas for training and customize learning based on each individual. 

A way to do this is by Learning Paths, assigning expertly curated roadmaps, to help your team develop the right fundamental skills in the right order. They put your maintenance team in front of the most relevant courses, in the correct order, to provide the fastest and most complete journey to their training goals. They also help your team visualize career development and growth and feel confident that they are developing their skills. Standard learning paths include:

  • Ramping and onboarding: When hiring new employees, you can issue a welcome assessment to determine what they know, uncover opportunities for training, and assign courses based on their scores. Standardized training can help reduce rookie mistakes, increase employees’ independence, and boost confidence, which ultimately reduces turnover.
  • Upskilling and cross-training: Training helps employees acquire new skills and knowledge relevant to their roles, leading to increased productivity and better performance, which are factors often considered in promotions and pay raises. Creating visible promotion paths based on specific skill sets employees must master before moving up rather than the length of time in a position creates clear expectations, increases morale, and decreases long-term turnover.
  • Certification and safety: Certifications and safety training protects your employees and the company while providing important business benefits. Certifications offer opportunities for professional development and ensure employees possess expertise in a specific area. They can serve as a valuable marketing tool for the business, demonstrating that employees are credible and safe. Safety training also helps companies comply with regulatory requirements. 
  • Addressing problem areas: Callbacks, underperforming employees, or the need for third-party providers can all be related to employees’ skill levels and training. Knowing where employees need additional training and addressing problem areas can reduce day-to-day challenges and improve future performance. 

Step 4: Incentivize Employee Participation

Fortunately, employees are eager for development opportunities. Nearly all employees—94%—would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development, and 92% of employees say well-planned employee training programs positively affect their engagement.

Even still, it is important to outline clear training pathways to show your employees how to advance. Incentives, such as recognition, awards, and bonuses, can encourage participation. Money for their tool account, gifts, or cash for milestones completed all build excitement. The most effective incentives often include additional paid time off and promotions for completions or skills attainment. Plus, employees at all levels appreciate shoutouts and recognition for their training achievements.

Step 5: Provide Consistent Feedback Loops

Give your team and individual employees the opportunity to share feedback during the training journey. Continuous feedback helps reinforce positive learning behaviors, sustains motivation, and builds an engaged workforce. Managers can engage in ongoing one-on-one conversations with employees to review outcomes and schedule next steps, while quarterly performance reviews present opportunities to review accomplishments and discuss career goals.

Frequent communication also helps managers tailor training content to align with employees’ interests, learning styles, and job roles, increasing relevance and engagement.

Measure the Return on Investment

Training programs provide a wide range of intangible benefits. Quantifying improvements in employees’ confidence, morale, or job satisfaction isn’t always easy. However, there are key performance indicators that can help measure the impact of training initiatives. Measurable objectives include improved job-time efficiency, lower outsourcing costs, increased operational efficiency, fewer on-the-job safety incidents, reduced turnover, and less callbacks.

Chris Williams, J.C. Hart’s Maintenance Training Manager, uses Interplay to get ahead of any difficulties. “If we’re noticing higher callbacks or performance issues in a specific area, I will work with associates to identify knowledge gaps that can be addressed using Interplay,” he said. “This supplemental training method has enabled our associates to remediate problem areas quickly.”

Your One-Stop-Shop for Facilities Maintenance Training

With over 450 hours of expert-led mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and safety video courses and hands-on 3D simulations, Interplay Learning’s career development platform helps you develop and retain your team, boost productivity, and drive long-term business success. 

Ranging from basic preventive and seasonal maintenance scenarios to advanced diagnostic and repair work on several commercial systems, you can offer your maintenance team a wide range of training options and provide them with continuous skill development opportunities.