Certifying Experienced Employees

When implementing a new training program, how do you certify experienced employees without wounding their pride?

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A reader recently used the “Ask An Expert” feature of our Training Zone to ask the following question:


We've got some potential customers saying we must have a formal training program. I just hate to go out to some of the guys we've got that have been machining parts for us for 15 years and say, "Here's how you check your parts with a set of calipers." I feel like it would be degrading to them. Any ideas?

Response from Ryan Pohl, president of Expert Technical Training

I agree with your point about asking an experienced machinist to prove s/he knows how to check parts. But if you're going to have a documented formal training program, you do need to be able to show they have the skills. I've had to deal with this situation myself, and here is how I've handled it: Once I have the check-sheet made, I simply explain to the machinist what it is for, and I have them read through the checksheet and sign-off on the ones they know they can do. Make sure your checksheets have a place for them to sign. Then you don't have to degrade them by showing them anything. Then, if they sign off on the checksheet and for some reason it comes back that they make a mistake and prove they didn't know an item from the checksheet, you can then ask them why they signed off, and re-train from there. But I have not had that happen; the guys are usually pretty forthright about their abilities.


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