The ambition for any company should be to have an operational training system where employees autonomously suggest improvements, update training material, and update their qualifications. The system must be flexible so knowledge can easily be created, shared and uitlized. This will reduce the variation in how jobs are done and decrease the process variation.
THE COMPLETE MODEL
The organizational setting for the Job Instruction approach is divided in to five areas and these are generic areas that will be relevant for all companies.
The training material is used to support the trainer when training an employee, and can also be used by employees for reference. It is process focused making it easy to follow when doing the job, it allows for the implementation of small improvements, and it is articulated by the persons who have experience carrying out the job. It is maximum 5 pages with just the necessary words, contains pictures, contains reasons for actions and describes how to do a process from A->Z. By gathering tacit knowledge from employees during small meetings their knowledge becomes explicit and is codified in the training material. It is combined with the existing organizational knowledge when added to the existing training material.
The qualification matrix visualizes individual employees’ qualification level. This makes the qualification matrix an effective tool to plan employees qualification development and mitigates the risk that non-qualified personnel is selected to carry out jobs they are not qualified to do. It communicates what employees need to train, to which level, by which date and by whom they will be trained.
The training happens 1:1 and during which the employee hears, sees, does and says the job. During training the employee must demonstrate an adequate qualification level and training isn’t completed before the trainer approves. This means that the trainer doesn’t end the training session before employee can do the job correctly, safely and conscientiously. The trainer is a qualified trainer and his effort is critical for knowledge sharing to happen. The training creates new knowledge in the employee as the trainer transfers a combination of explicit knowledge from the training material and his own tacit knowledge to the employee. It is necessary for the trainer to establish a good relation with the employee for the employee to accept new knowledge and for the training to be a success.
When an employee has received training an manager goes and observe the employee do the job and provide feedback.
By confirming that the standard corresponds to how the job is done the manager confirms the standards validation, and through questions the manager can internalize knowledge in the employee and provoke reflection that can lead to suggestions for improvement.
The confirmation increases managers operational knowledge and gives them an in-depth understanding of the processes under his responsibility.
When employees gets an idea about how to improve a process the suggestion for improvement is written down and is processed through a standard approval process. Suggestions are validated with qualified colleagues to ensure its effect and to gather relevant tacit knowledge resting within the colleagues. This a critical parameter for reducing process variation since many small suggestions for improvement will come from here, and to have effective knowledge sharing companies must dedicate the necessary resources to process these suggestions.
Scholars agree that effective knowledge management is a must for keeping a competitive advantage in the future and this framework is a simplification of the organizational setting that facilitates effective knowledge management at a world leading pharmaceutical company. There are many processes that makes this system work and the knowledge sharing happen, but for companies that wish to improve how they manage their knowledge this is relevant inspiration. But as always we recommend that companies adapt solutions suited to their situation and the people in their organization.