Job Instruction - The Glue
That Makes Training Stick!
Job Instruction (JI) trains leaders on how to instruct. Teaching people new tasks is not a skill we are born with; only through training and practice can we master it. The JI program teaches the leader a simple 4-step method for training that is highly effective and efficient. Many organizations begin their TWI journey with JI since it can have an immediate impact on productivity, quality and cost by quickly capturing and training all team members on the one best way of doing a job. The initial JI training consists of five 2-hour sessions that present and practice the techniques of the 4-step method. JI has three critical components:
- 4-Step JI Method of Instruction – Used to conduct the actual training of individuals
- Job Breakdown – Used to collect the important steps, key points and reasons used in the 4-Step training method
- Training Timetable – Used to identify, prioritize, plan and execute the training necessary for performance improvement
All TWI programs have four steps. JI’s four steps are outlined on the JI Pocket Card – How to Instruct (Sidebar to the right). The instructor follows the steps and subheadings on the card as he teaches the person how to do the job. In the first step he prepares the person for the training. You can see that Step 1 gets the person into the proper mental and physical position, which is so critical for adult learning. In Step 2 the instructor presents the operation. The first time demonstrating the job, he tells, shows and illustrates one important step at a time. The next time through he adds the key points and the reasons for the key points. For more complex tasks, he might repeat it again until he feels the learner has comprehended the key points and reasons. The main point is to clearly, completely, and patiently give the information, but no more than the person can master at one time.
In Step 3 – Try-out Performance – the learner performs the task. The first time performing the job, he does the job while the instructor corrects for errors. The learner then does it a second time explaining the key points for each step along with the reasons for the key points. In this step it is critical that the instructor makes sure he knows the learner knows the job. The learner should continue performing the job until the instructor is confident the learner can perform the job flawlessly. Speed can be gained through practice on their own.
Step 4 – Follow Up – is where the instructor ensures that the learner has a support system in place as they go out to do the task on their own. Actions in Step 4 ensure that the learner will not be left to sink or swim on the job. The leader checks on the person, lets them know who to see with questions in his absence, and encourages questions. Step 4 ensures the success of the learner for the last statement on the card says, “If the person hasn’t learned, the instructor hasn’t taught.” Success of the instructor is based on success of the learner on the job.
A Job Breakdown is created before instruction is attempted. The instructor goes to the where the task is being done and captures the important steps, and the key points and reasons on a Job Breakdown Form An Important Step is any activity that advances the work. Key Points are any items that could make or break the job, injure the team member, or make the work easier to do. Capturing the reasons for the key points and using them in the instruction helps the learner remember the key points. The instructor also writes down all the necessary parts, tools and materials needed to perform the job. The Job Breakdown is the tool for the instructor to use in the 4-step instruction so nothing is forgotten or left out.
The Training Timetable is the most critical component for successfully implementing the JI 4-step method of instruction. The leader captures his area’s required tasks on the time table. After identifying the critical ones, he identifies the current skill level on each them for each of his team members. He then can identify any urgent training needs due to employee work performance or turnover, or from schedule compliance or changes. The leader can then determine who to train on what task by what date, prioritizing his training needs and ensuring proper leveling of the training load.
How to Get Ready to Instruct is on the opposite side of the JI Pocket Card. There are four main items that prepare the instructor prepare for the training.
- Make a Training Timetable
- Break Down the Job
- Have Everything Ready
- Arrange the Work Area
The timetable for training is the first requirement for getting ready to instruct. By capturing the critical tasks, identifying the urgent training needs, and then, creating a schedule for training on the timetable, the leader has a plan to drive training. Without such a plan, training is unfocused or general, or the effort may loose energy. The timetable prevents that, driving training with a focus on improvement in results.
As part of the preparation for training, job breakdowns must be done. The timetable for training prioritizes the sequence and timing required to ensure that breakdowns are complete before training on the specific task is attempted. Breakdowns should be done just in time for the training because you won’t know how well you broke down the job until you try to teach somebody with it. If they quickly learn the task, you have a good break down. If they struggle, it may be that you missed an important step or key point. You will also find that the breakdown process often finds many small improvements that can be incorporated right into the process as the breakdown is being made. After gaining consensus on the ‘one best way’, you then have a tool to train everyone to the standard.
The last two points address the training site. You should have all the necessary materials, equipment and supplies needed to train the task. Those items should be listed on the job breakdown sheet and are critical to success. Forgetting things or not having the correct items only detracts from the effectiveness of the training and respect for the trainer. The area should be arranged correctly, also. A messy training site, again, will detract from the effectiveness of the training.