Upskilling Your Maintenance Workforce_ Here’s All You Need to Know

Upskill maintenance workforce

Usually, maintenance teams are made up of people with various abilities; for example, one person may be an expert in electrical repair, while another is an expert in plumbing, and so on. Like all other company segments, it’s crucial to upskill the maintenance workforce. But why?

Providing individuals with different skills and information is known as upskilling. Sometimes those talents are required just to improve performance in their existing position. Other times, this is done to broaden their abilities to take on more duties. Employees who upskill are better prepared to become more valuable in their current role and advance to higher positions within their company later in their careers.

With the technological improvements in recent decades, an organization’s growth will eventually necessitate acquiring newer knowledge and abilities. Rather than looking for and recruiting better-skilled personnel, the corporation can choose to train its current employees. As a result, upskilling is a viable alternative for firms to address skills shortages while keeping their existing staff. Read more: Learning management system

Why should you upskill the maintenance workforce?

Physical assets have changed dramatically in recent years as a consequence of automation and digitization. Your maintenance team will need to improve to stay relevant in resource-packed firms. So, here are a few benefits

Employee turnover is lower

Compared to the time and resources required to identify, hire, and train new employees, upskilling is a more cost-effective option. According to Gallup research, replacing an employee might cost anywhere from one and a half to two times their annual income.

Employers can use upskilling to address skill gaps while keeping their current staff. And that is before considering the implications of losing your finest and most dependable workers and the bad influence on general team morale.

Your organization shows your maintenance employees that they will have a career in the company by engaging in upskilling, and this gesture can assist reduce employee turnover. This is particularly pertinent in the maintenance industry, as data suggests that recruiting skilled maintenance staff is the most challenging challenge maintenance managers face.

A boost in business results

Training and developing your maintenance crew will result in a more knowledgeable and cross-trained staff, which will improve their overall effectiveness. Given recent economic hardships, providing staff with appropriate skills is now a requirement for businesses to stay competitive, especially in the post-pandemic era.

Increased performance

Upskilling is a type of targeted instruction with specified objectives. Precision training can significantly increase your team’s performance since it aligns them with your company’s short- and long-term maintenance management goals.

Your maintenance management framework will be smoother, more effective, and operate like a well-oiled machine over time, delivering ROI such as better gear durability, improved safety performance, negligible lost productivity, superior customer service, high client retention, and more each staff member plays their part.

Reduction in downtime and accidents

Upskilling the maintenance workforce leads to reduced scheduled and unexpected outages. Maintenance and service work is completed faster and more effectively, allowing production to resume quickly. Skilled staffs are also better at maintaining machines, which helps to prevent equipment malfunction in the first place.

Again, in factories with heavy equipment, harmful chemicals, and potentially hazardous processes, good maintenance does directly impact your personnel’s safety and well-being. Injuries and legal action or fines for non-adherence to OSHA safety regulations are more likely when there aren’t enough skilled maintenance crews.

Additional flexibility for managers

When you engage in appropriate maintenance training programs, you build a staff that can work in various roles, thereby closing the skills gap. Managers who have a large pool of adaptable experts and operators at their fingertips have more options for scheduling production and maintenance.

When people feel powerful and comfortable at work, they perform better. Training also helps them advance in their careers by providing them with new skills and demonstrating that everything they do counts. Employee morale and devotion to the task are improved due to these variables.

What are the elements of a successful maintenance workforce training program?

There is no clear definition of a “good” maintenance training program. Several variables can alter depending on the type of the company, its scale, industrial activities, technical equipment involved, and other factors.

That said, there are a few constants that you should aim to reproduce in all “successful” maintenance training programs. An effective maintenance training program, in this sense, is one that:

Skills training

The curriculum should include the full range of technical academic knowledge and practical experience. It should enable workers to respond more quickly to equipment breakdowns and other challenges that arise during normal operations.

Documentation that is organized

Training is typically delegated to seasoned specialists with years of expertise in the industry. If the items they teach aren’t fully documented, the training program’s quality may suffer once these people leave the company. Systematic documentation is essential in this case since it ensures that the software is not dependent on a single person and can be easily replicated through several iterations.

Not designed as a one-off

A maintenance training program isn’t something that can be completed in a single day. Depending on the topics’ difficulty, it can take weeks or months to complete. Firms should consider repeating these workshops at predetermined times – such as annually – to teach new personnel and give ongoing training for the greatest results.

How can you upskill the maintenance workforce?

Let’s look at some practical measures that can be taken right now to start upskilling your maintenance team.

Recognize the flaws in your team

Begin by performing a skills audit. The key focus at this phase is planning; you want to establish a firm foundation by determining where you want to reach and what resources you’ll need to get there. Spend some time to project future talent and skillsets that your company will require, then look for gaps in your team’s competencies.

For example, suppose your organization is presently totally reliant on planned maintenance but wants to incorporate condition-based tracking or data modeling within a year. In that case, it’s a good idea to start training your employees on those technologies now. Read more : e learning management system

Make training easy and accessible

To acquire the dedication and trust of current personnel, the most successful training programs provide content to trainees utilizing a variety of techniques. Nobody should be forgotten or disregarded. Making learning available in a variety of formats and channels will help you avoid alienating people. Regardless of age, educational level, or other factors, all team members may access and comprehend training content.

Additionally, offering training in this fashion helps mitigate the unavoidable anxiety that some employees will experience because of changes. It’s critical to have established training methods in place when organizing your training. Standardized training enhances consistency and reduces errors, and improves learner interest, making it much easier to train a more significant number of individuals in a smaller duration of time.

The advantages of uniform training cannot be overstated, especially during the onboarding process, since a well-planned and standard training procedure typically sets the tone for your company’s future interaction with individual employees. Finally, because maintenance crews often have heavy workloads and packed schedules, strive for a combination of bite-sized offline and online training sessions that your workers can access at their own speed.

Mentorship programs, in which employees who already have the abilities help to spread the information by offering direction to other staff, are another option to consider. Mentorship programs are growing increasingly popular, according to Forbes, with up to 70% of Fortune 500 organizations having one in place.

Recognize efforts with rewards

Encourage healthy competitiveness in your workplace by offering various types of rewards to employees who commit to upskilling. Incentives need not be financial; they can be in the form of accolades, prizes, decreased shift hours, days off, etc.

In which areas should you upskill the maintenance workforce?

Following are a few critical areas wherein upskilling will be very advantageous to attain a well-trained and contemporary maintenance crew, given the constant technological innovations and advances in maintenance management:

  • Staff should be trained on using the maintenance software, particularly computerized maintenance management systems. Because each solution is unique, training will occur after the program is installed.
  • They will receive equipment maintenance training by introducing them to best practices for the functioning and daily care of crucial equipment and machinery.
  • You don’t have to subcontract this sort of work to pricey contractors if you send skilled personnel to acquire thorough training for specialized equipment.
  • Supervisors and coordinators should be trained in maintenance scheduling.

Last but not least, educating machine operators to supervise simple maintenance responsibilities instead of maintenance technicians and specialists could be a good idea. This method is known as autonomous maintenance, and it may be beneficial to companies facing a maintenance personnel shortage.

To sum it up

Upskilling may provide a less intrusive, economic, and manageable path for organizations to keep their businesses running seamlessly today and, in the future, as they address the maintenance staff skills gap and rapid advancements in physical assets.


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