Having a workforce with well-developed problem-solving skills is a significant competitive advantage for a company.
Obviously, that’s true with your maintenance workers.
And even those with a natural knack for it can always get better, or learn to apply those skills more effectively in a given work circumstance.
And as a result, it’s a good idea to provide resources to help workers develop and use problem-solving skills at work. We’ll look at each of these steps in the following sections.
In fact, that’s not likely, and in many cases, a worker with this solid foundation will still take years of job experience to transition into that experienced and highly valuable problem solver of your dreams (or, to return to the comment from my customer at the beginning of this article, to become the “machine operator who’s also a machine engineer”).
But who wants to wait a long time–weeks, months, or even years, depending on the complexity of the job and the problems the worker will face?As with the previous point, we won’t be going into detail here, but we’ve got an entire article on the topic if you’re feeling curious.Process training is training that explains how a process works.Problems pop up from time to time and workers need to solve them.As a result, it’s important that workers be effective problem solvers.But why send that worker out “into the wild” alone, without additional tools?Instead, if you create some problem-solving job aids related to the most common problems at your work area, and make it easy for the worker to access that job aid, you’ll give the worker yet another step up, and of course you’ll get your problems solved more quickly and effectively.This includes stuff like “we produce five grades of paper” and “this is the boiler” and other simple, knowledge-based training.We won’t go into much more detail about that here, but know that we cover it more for you in this article if you want to read more, and that it’s a critical-but-easy-to-overlook aspect of training if you want to quickly move the worker up to the point where they’re effectively solving problems.In the same way that you need to provide training so workers can acquire basic job knowledge, you’ve got to help them acquire basic job skills as well.Again, this is important in general, but it will also help the worker develop problem-solving skills (because it will help him/her know “how stuff works”).