Human Capital Development Starts with Codifying Knowledge
One of the biggest challenges within any company is hiring and training new employees during a growth phase. This blog post looks at best practices in Human Capital Development (HCD) specifically around hiring, training and codifying knowledge so new hires can successfully step into their roles.
Human Capital Development
People are the single most important asset in a company, so human capital development (HCD) is critical during a growth phase. When a manufacturer ramps up production, typically they onboard and train new employees. Hiring new people in itself is a challenge for any organization; training them to be proficient is another. Best practices is hiring people with the right skill set and making sure a structure is in place before they step into the position.
Many companies have a senior workforce. The challenge becomes how to harness information to transfer their skills and knowledge to train new hires. The structure must allow for mentors and coaches to have the time and resources to train new employees as they step into their new roles. If people are busy doing their day jobs and suddenly they’re responsible for ten people, there’s no bandwidth for training. Therefore, putting a succession strategy in place ahead of time, before hiring, is important.
Many companies start leadership programs and succession plans in place so new people can understand the scope of the organization through functional areas. A handoff occurs from both upstream and downstream partners to make sure everyone within the organization is more effective and efficient. Having a rotational program for high potentials where people learn various skill sets and understand the big picture makes the team more functional.
When companies ramp up, they will get all sorts of applicants with varying levels of experience. An effective training program should not be one size fits all, but rather incorporate multiple methods to ensure the knowledge transfer is effective for all the learning styles. For example, companies need to train an engineer differently from an accountant, and need to train a 40-year-old differently than a college graduate.
When companies hire bright, young people out of universities, they may have some engineering knowledge, but need to be trained on processes and procedures unique to the company. People coming out of school today learn a different way–they expect learning that is visual and a process that is well defined with a system in place. It’s not like the old days of manuals and schematics. Companies want to transfer the information to the new hires in the fastest, most efficient way possible. Expectations for codifying knowledge need to be set before new employees walk through the door.
Codifying Knowledge is arranging information a systematic collection of complementary methods that takes into account various learning styles. When training is offered in multiple ways, this enables people to understand standards and draw the same conclusions via different methods. This may include hands-on simulation, classroom style, videos, tests/exercises, practice, observations, visual diagrams, etc.
It is proven that combining multiple methods in a single training event is quite effective. When people can understand the context, purpose, and details and implement the information into their day-to-day work, the training is successful. In manufacturing, codifying knowledge, both written and unwritten, is relaying information so people of various learning styles can understand the processes efficiently.
Each person thinks of new and different ways to learn. When someone reads information efficiently after 20 years, they have found best practices. The key is teaching others how to best access the information through best practices. Codifying that knowledge through a variety of methods, like face-to-face training and virtual methods, will reach various learning styles. When a variety of touchpoints are used to transfer the information, the knowledge is gained more effectively. Codifying knowledge ensures a collection of methods are in place to train people in different ways so they learn to perform at optimal levels of success.
What is your experience in developing human capital? How do you codify knowledge in your company? We’d love to hear from you.
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