Saint-Gobain’s Human Resources department were among the first to hold the belief that the integration and on-the-job training of new employees should involve more experienced colleagues. The difficulty lies in harmonising the methods used with the two key principles:
during their training, the new employee should not be shown multiple variations of a particular job
experts should maintain their specific know-how while training the novices in a consistent way.
The work carried out by Alterval consisted of defining a consistent framework of on-the-job training for the new arrivals, based on the expertise of four professional experts. This match-up led to the creation of a booklet of technical knowledge, on which the training programme of the new employee was based. The programme was formalised in a training booklet describing five main skills and 17 secondary subskills, with daily and weekly objectives for the Mentee’s learning and the Mentor’s transmission. This training programme was subsequently tested by new Mentors (experienced colleagues who had not participated in the creation of the support documents) and by interims, in order to check that the knowledge in question could be transferred by anyone and to anyone. The adapted support material is still used today during the integration of new employees.
With such a melting pot of expertise, we were led to discuss and share working practices, involving as many people as possible: experts, their immediate superiors (one and two levels above), Human Resources, representatives of the Health and Safety Committee, etc. This allowed a practical link to be made between what needed to be done (top-down) and what could be done (bottom-up). One lesson learnt through this process was that the learners – as the “intended users” – should be involved in deciding how instructions are carried out. Experts, in their roles as Mentors, relay working instructions; if they are not directly involved in production-related choices, they adapt to the instructions and transfer them to the Mentee in their own way, meaning there is a notable risk of diversity in the way the instructions are carried out.
The training time of a new employee was reduced from ten to six weeks (during three of which the new employee carried out their work unsupervised). The training programme was secured; what the new arrival learns is now validated by two different Mentors and their superiors.
The training support documents are now used to harmonise the methods of all employees in the sector.
Pascale Braun wrote an article [in French] on this subject for Edition n° 972 (13th – 19th October 2009) of Entreprise et Carrières [“Business and Careers”] magazine, page 15.
A link to this article can be found below.
We hope you enjoy reading it!