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Why budget constraints shouldn’t put an end to training and development

30 May 2022 by Add Energy

During a time when budgets are being scrutinized and cut, we are forced to work smarter with fewer resources. Add Energy’s Country Manager and BD Manager for our Canada branch, Afia McClenaghan, has seen the effects that budget constraints have on companies, describing the current tone of the industry as “cautiously optimistic, but nevertheless still cautious”.  

We asked our LinkedIn audience what they found to be the biggest challenge relating to training and competency assurance in their maintenance and reliability workforce, and these were the results: 

training budgets graph-1Afia has compiled some key advice on why workforce development is so important to prioritize despite ongoing budget constraints, and how to gain the most value from a training course…

Challenges preventing companies from prioritizing training  

  • Volatile oil prices causing constant uncertainty 
  • Resource limitations/shortages 
  • Departmental cutbacks and budget restrictions due to COVID-19 
  • A stretched, overexerted workforce with one person potentially doing multiple peoples’ jobs because there is very limited budget for hiring 
  • Other initiatives are taking priority e.g maintenance tasks
  • Sharp deadlines for system transfers and go-lives during mergers and acquisitions 
  • A focus on day-to-day operations rather than a proactive approach to maintenance management 

The impact these challenges have on the company 

  • Delays in implementing valuable and necessary training 
  • Delays in understanding the “why” behind key activities, which in turn poses risks to resources and potential safety incidents because people are going through the motions 
  • When workers are covering multiple jobs, there becomes less time for them to go out and complete training, which slowly pushes it further down the list of priorities, resulting in training and development seeming like a luxury  
  • Lack of appropriate integration for new members of the team as they are learning from more senior team members rather than official training. People cannot deliver high quality results if they are not given the sufficient tools  
  • Knowledge retainment/transfer is not readily happening which creates a knowledge gap between seasoned individuals and newer individuals in the organization 
  • Company targets and KPIs are highlighted in advance so if something is not in the annual budget this makes it difficult to get approvals and training incorporated into initiatives  

Learn how to resolve these common challenges relating to training and competency assurance   

2-2Why training is so important to prioritize 

Prevent potential safety incidents  

“First and foremost, the safety of your people is the most important thing to consider. Instilling an understanding of the "why" behind your workforce’s roles and taking the time to train and develop their skills, will inevitably prevent safety incidents because they are engaged with their tasks rather than going through the motions which can cause mistakes to happen.” 

Saving time and money in the long run  

“If you put in the work now, then you will see that people within the organization will begin transferring knowledge between teams and developing the confidence to discuss any issues they may face so they can be addressed. Significantly lowering the possibility of safety incidents as stated above also helps to save time and money if you choose to focus on training now rather than later. With upskilled and efficiently working personnel, you can improve your uptime and therefore lower costs.” 

Example: There are 5 people working on a maintenance task. They go and complete a Field Maintenance Course, come back, and realize that the task only really needs 3 people working efficiently. There are now two people free to work on something else, increasing the efficiency of the workforce as a whole.  

Investing in your workforce 

“When employees feel empowered, they are more likely to retain training knowledge and therefore perform to a higher standard. To really help people understand the aforementioned “why” behind the work they’re completing, we always recommend taking a more holistic approach by looking at the bigger picture and viewing training as a duty of care to your employees rather than a box to tick.”  

Continuing the momentum following mergers and acquisitions  

“With a market increase in company mergers and acquisitions, many organizations are faced with transitioning their master data from legacy asset management systems (EAM, CMMS or ERP) to one central system. Organizations become so focused on the deadline-driven system transfer and go-live that they can easily forget to think ahead about the people using the new system.  

“So how can user training be assured? I would recommend kick-starting this process at least 6 weeks prior to the new CMMS going live, so that when the training ends there is a smooth transition straight into the new processes and using the new system. Organizations should also ensure their workforce is trained not only in their own master data systems, but also in the overall culture of innovation.” 

The value of external observation 

“All the challenges highlighted so far in this article are common issues we have seen time and time again. Sometimes it can be beneficial to have someone who is not embedded in the day-to-day activities to come in and offer support from an outside perspective. To have an external source like an Add Energy consultant come in to recall experiences and share lessons learned can be a great wake up call to companies for them to realize that they’re potentially really close to a safety incident and that they must prioritize the competency of their workforce.”

3-2How to get the most value from a training course  

“The more value your workforce gains from a training course, the more likely they are to apply what they learned in the workplace. Once you start seeing the results during day-to-day activities, this will serve as a justification for spending the money and a driver for completing more courses further down the line.”  

“Here are a few key points to keep in mind: 

  • Rationalize your expenditure. Think smartly about how money is being spent overall so you have the budget to prioritize training. Another tip would be to think smartly about who you’re placing in certain courses to ensure they will bring the most value back to your organization.  
  • Ensure that the trainer is working collaboratively with your team. One thing we like to do before we begin training with a client is to ask them who the key personnel within their team are so that we can include them when developing the training. This way they feel included in their own development, and the training becomes relevant, relatable, and most importantly engaging for them.  
  • Aim for a more intimate number of trainees in one session. We find that smaller groups of people, no more than 12, works best and allows people to feel more comfortable asking questions and contributing to quizzes etc., whereas a room full of 50 people can cause the sessions to get a little diluted.  
  • Clearly define roles and responsibilities by workshopping these with key stakeholders. Developing competency profiles and planned training roadmaps can be a key attribute to unlocking the real potential of a workforce and allowing them to work safely on the job and to track their professional development. This provides clear justifications for undertaking training and prevents a random, scattergun approach which can cause ambiguity and wasted expenditure.” 

3-2How Add Energy can help 

Provide training for your workforce   

“We have launched our own training and development hub, The Add Energy Academy, designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of workforces across multiple sectors enabling them to be safe and efficient.  

“We offer learning and development programs, tailored to various levels in an organization covering CMMS training, operations and maintenance, drilling and well engineering, safety and risk management and leadership.”  

Provide manpower support and pilot opportunities 

“We can have our experts come into your organization to highlight business improvement insights by observing processes and creating a findings and recommendations report. We can also develop a roadmap, ranking and prioritizing the improvements required to rectify the issues we have identified. These pilot opportunities usually provide quick wins and receive great feedback because they are not disruptive to daily operations and can generate great return on investment.  

“If from our findings you realize you may require more manpower, we can help fill any resource gaps that tight budgets may have caused and have an expert from our team join you for a period of time to help complete the necessary work.” 

Click here to learn more about The Add Energy Academy

Get in touch 

If you would like to discuss any of the above opportunities to develop your workforce’s skills and development or help to optimize your processes and procedures, please fill in the form below and one of our team will be in touch.