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North Central Business Journal News

(February 2000 issue)

by Sandra Kay Neal, Ph.D.

      To achieve ISO certification, the workforce needs to be intensively trained.  The usual methods of training (e.g., "on-the-job" or classroom-type instruction) are inadequate to achieve the level of training needed for ISO certification.  This type of training must be specific and measurable.  To develop the appropriate type of training for a particular company, the following questions need to be answered:
     1) What job skill behaviors are needed to be in ISO compliance?
               a) These job skill behaviors need to be described specifically, not just in general terms.
               b) This is probably the hardest part of the development of training programs since most people don't think in specific behaviors.
     2) What specific aspects of those skills are missing or
          inadequate within the current workforce?
               a) Look at each individual employee.
               b) It is a waste of time and money to train ten people in a skill if only two are inadequate.  It is wiser to have training modules for each   inadequate skill area.
     3) What learning style does each employee need to become 
             a) Some employees need lots of hands-on practice.
             b) Some employees work better with written instructions.
             c) Some employees learn better with demonstrations.
             d) Some employees need to work with the whole skill; some
                 employees need to work with pieces of the skill first.
    4) What learning tasks fit with the learning style(s) surfaced in #3 above?
            a) Just because there is a video tape on a topic is no reason to use it in a training program if people need to learn with hands-on practice and demonstration.
            b) The learning tasks need to address the specific ways in which people learn.
    5) What measure will indicate that mastery of the skill has been achieved?
           a) Too often, we use time in a training program as indicative of mastery.  People learn at different speeds. 
           b) To determine whether the skill has been mastered, a specific measure of that skill needs to be determined.
   6) What measure will indicate that the skill has transferred to the job?
          a) Being able to perform a skill in a training setting is no guarantee that it will be performed on the job.
          b) If transfer does not occur, the training program needs to be redone for that particular employee. 

 If the above steps are followed, an effective training program will be developed that will ensure that all employees will be able to perform at the level needed to achieve ISO certification. 

Sandra Kay Neal holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and has 19 years experience helping organizations solve human resource issues.  Her company, Synergistic Organizational Solutions, specializes in aiding small businesses. Dr. Neal can be reached at sos_hr@localaccess.com.

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