A customer I collaborate with from time to time is responsible for continuous improvement in several factories here in the US. For the ease of telling the story, we’ll call this customer Joe. Joe’s organization is beginning to practice TWI, starting with Job Instruction.
He’s taught the JI method to the supervisors and team leaders who will train the associates on the production floor. Things seem to be going well so far. Joe was curious about the need to teach the JI method to the associates, because they are the learners in the team leaders will train.
Joe was on the right track with his thinking to prepare the learners for upcoming training. We discussed the situation and brought a couple of items to light.
First there are two types of learners related to Joe’s training situation: new learners and experience associates.
Associates who are new to the organization have no reference for what is consistent on job training and are less likely to be distracted by the JI training method that is new to the organization. To the new associate, JI is just the way training is done.
The experienced associate, on the other hand, has a different set of circumstances to deal with. The experienced associate has already been trained on various skills over time and has a good idea of what to expect with new skills training. The old training method is predictable and expected.
While it isn’t necessary to have associates participate in the 10-hour Job Instruction course, it is helpful to let them know that the training method for future skill based training sessions will be different.
An important part of Job Relations is preventing people related problems from arising. The JR method tells us to “Tell people in advance of changes that will affect them.” Joe and I talked about how to do this.
Joe decided to show a brief video on TWI in general and also one on Job Instruction. The idea was that people would be more accepting of the new method if they knew why it was being practiced and had a sense of how it worked.
The people Joe works with aren’t inherently resistant. They’re simply human. A basic human need is that of consistency. When things go as expected or as predicted, we feel safe and are then open to new experiences or ideas. When things don’t go as expected, we can feel the need to regain a sense of consistency before we can be open to learning something new.
Having associates be surprised by a new training method could be distracting and possibly interfere with the training experience. The simple act of telling them in advance that the training method would different sets the expectation of anew experience. The new training method then meets the associates’ expectations by being what was described in advance. By meeting the associates expectation for change, we’ve satisfied their need for consistency, allowing them to better learn from the new method.