Step 1: Organizational Analysis
Before you change everything, it’s important to
identify current states of practice where you could be
doing things very well or areas where slight tweaks
to a process are better than starting over from scratch.
“Leaders should identify the existing governance,
support methods, technological applications and
tools used to perform the work,” Mall suggested.
He continued, offering that manufacturers could
avoid the “redundancy in both data storage and data
entry” that tends to arise within siloed departments
and ensure a more sustained process for knowledge
sharing and retention.
During this step, it is important to assess existing
procedures in preparation for the initial efforts to
develop a company-wide survey tool.
Step 2: Job Task Analysis
As you go through step one, you’ll discover which
jobs should be prioritized for deeper analysis. At
EDSI, they use a Skills Balance Sheet as a visual
representation of skills, responsibilities and tasks
assigned to each position. Whether you use this or
something similar, a deeper dive into each job can
help employers learn what parts of a job are under-
stood and can be replicated if a new person is hired
and what tasks are more intuitive. The less concrete
the process is, the more important it is that further
analysis — surveys, interviews, mentoring — would
be required to secure that knowledge in the event of
an employee leaving the company.
Analysis can be done one-on-one or through
broader department or company-wide conversations.
The larger the business or the more facilities a
company has, the more likely the job task analysis
process should be segmented out.
Step 3: Skill Assessment Survey
Like any other process, you don’t know what you
don’t know and a skill assessment survey can paint
the big picture of where knowledge is missing.
A ranked survey with a scale from no knowledge
>> awareness >> limited ability >> acceptable ability >>
expertise will help identify not only the level of
knowledge each employee has about a given task but
also the amount of knowledge necessary to achieve a
desired outcome within the task.
Step 4: Skill Gap Analysis
Once your survey results are compiled, you
can record them in a database for analysis and
comparison across departments. The Skills Balance
Sheet of EDSI is one way to provide your full team
with a comprehensive accounting of what gaps exist
and can set the stage for deeper conversations on
what needs to happen to close those gaps.
At a Glance Burke Architectural Millwork’s Mentorship Program
The demand for mentorship remains on the rise
in manufacturing as the industry continues to push
for new job creation.
“Without mentorship, employers would see skill
development grind to a halt,” explained Kelly Victor-
Burke, majority owner and CEO for Burke Architectural
Millwork. “Too many great workers are retiring and it
can still be a struggle to locate the talent to replace them.
If manufacturers don’t realize that knowledge is meant
to be shared, not horded, we’ll lose out on countless
experiences that future generations could benefit from.”
The team at Burke has discovered two effective
paths for maximizing mentorship — lasting partnerships
with local educators and a robust social media presence.
“It doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario; in fact, it’s
probably better to use both in a way that works for you,”
said Victor-Burke. “Whether it’s going into a classroom
or promoting your brand online — or developing an
in-house mentorship program — the act of mentorship
is what will transition you from a single-generation
business to a manufacturer with a decades-long life.”