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Skills Fading or Skills Maintenance?

HSI® Work, Making Things Usable, Posts, Training

How HSI® helped Pacific Gas and Electric develop a strategy to maintain workers’ skills.

The Need:
Across North America, organisations of all kinds invest billions in skills training.  Depending on the frequency of use and other causes, inevitably – and predictably – these skills fade.  So yet more is spent on retraining and skills maintenance or upgrading.  Often targeting this training is more scattershot than focussed closely on the needs of the individual, team or organisation.  So money and time is wasted, and skill maintenance goals remain unmet.

Managing skills fading and getting the best Return on Investment (ROI) for your company retraining budget is a critical issue.  We know that skills fade.  Knowing how to manage skills maintenance for the best ROI is another matter entirely.

The Opportunity
Most companies, if they know where to look and how to use it, already have the data they need for a skills maintenance program customized to their own needs and patterns of work.  Such a program could save millions in increased performance, less accidents, and more efficient use of their training budget.

The rate and level of skills fading varies according to several factors.  The manner and pattern of training.  Task complexity.  Time since training ended. The frequency with which the task is performed.

The point at which refresher training is needed will depend on rate at which a skill fades for an individual, and the various performance or safety risks involved. The impact on team performance will depend on the different skills needed by the team and complexity of the task.

Track and analyse these factors and you have what you need to set up a timely and evidence based maintenance training program. Less waste in training budgets. More effective risk management for critical safety tasks. Less fluctuation in skills performance across the workforce.

The Outcome
This is exactly what Team HSI® is doing for PG&E, a major Public Utility in California.  First by identifying critical tasks for selected jobs.  Then by mining existing data such as training intervals, course completion records, task incidence, performance and accident data for the critical tasks.  Team HSI® used these data to produce skill fading profiles and timely refresher training intervals.  By doing this, Team HSI®, provided PG&E with a custom process for maximising the ROI on their refresher training investment.  The program also provided PG&E with the ability to track and improve the program using future data gathered for a few key factors.  Way to go!

To learn more about how HSI® can support your training program, contact us.

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