How to integrate new ideas into existing processes and routines
In this blog series, we have explored how training can be the solution to organizational issues if we identify that results we want and structure the training to meet these results. But to affect change, the new skills and ideas learned in training must be integrated and supported in the day-to-day work environment.
Once back on the job, people have to understand how to use the new knowledge and skills within processes and systems that may have been perfectly adequate, but have not kept pace with changing needs. New skills must be embedded into everyday business processes.
Whether during training or shortly thereafter, participants need to learn why, how and when to use their new skills in conjunction with existing business processes, business systems and other tools. How will the new skills help them perform steps in their work processes? How do the outputs they produce using the new ideas become inputs for the next step in the process? How should the information gathered, be documented and communicated to others? Organizations need to align new skills with their workflow and documentation.
Sustained performance improvement can be achieved when new skills become part of “the way things get done.” When the existing business processes and systems do not support the new methods, systems need to be modified or created to support use of the new skills.
Examples of how to integrate new skills
The following examples show how some of our clients successfully integrated new skills into their own systems and process.
Based on feedback from customers about the need for consistency, predictability and efficiency in their processes, a telecommunications and wireless device company developed common procedures for meeting service needs by using KT’s problem-solving methodology and documentation framework. Now when technical support engineers talk to their increasingly global network of clients, their computer screens prompt them to follow a consistent process for gathering information that has proven to accelerate issue resolution.
At a pharmaceutical manufacturer, we worked with a team drawn from QA, QC and Technical Operations to revise existing SOPs and templates to support better documentation and investigations by integrating the systematic troubleshooting approaches learned in training sessions. The team streamlined how deviations are escalated by integrating new decision-making techniques into existing SOPs, and they specified what information is needed by QA to determine the most appropriate path to resolution. Finally, for deviations that require a full investigation, the team was able to specify what information investigators should provide to justify their conclusions.
After providing KT Problem Solving & Decision Making training, a non-profit healthcare services organization required that all capital expenditure decisions be made using KT Decision Analysis and that documentation from the analysis be submitted to a central steering committee for evaluation. Community hospitals can no longer make decisions in isolation about big-ticket equipment purchases for MRIs, digital mammography, etc. While the KT Decision Analysis template is used to present purchase ideas to the steering committee, the focus is less on the templates than on the conversations about the information and documentation gathered in the templates. The emphasis is on guiding the conversation with the right information and including the right people in the decision-making process.
A division of a computer chip/electronics manufacturer incorporated KT troubleshooting and decision making worksheets into their issue resolution process as part of their database tools and began posting results on their internal website. In addition, they integrated the KT approach into the organization’s existing issue management process and now use KT’s Problem Analysis and Decision Analysis worksheets in client presentations and project reviews.
Skill development does not stop when the training session ends. It must be integrated into the way work is done to clearly communicate and support when and how new skills should be used back on the job.