Make It Work

The return on a training investment

In the Workforce Focus section of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, the question is posed: "How do you engage your workforce to achieve organizational and personal success?"

"Workforce development needs might vary greatly," it says. "These needs might include gaining skills for knowledge sharing, communication, teamwork and problem solving; interpreting and using data; exceeding customer requirements; accomplishing process analysis and simplification; reducing waste and cycle time; working with and motivating volunteers; and setting priorities based on strategic alignment or cost-benefit analysis."

For GE Healthcare’s IT (GEHC IT) business, the decision to train 150 of its employees on the ASQ certified quality software engineer (CQSE) body of knowledge paid off in a number of those areas.

It was no minor endeavor; more than 5,000 hours of on-the-job employee time was at stake. But employees and customers both reaped the benefits, and product quality improved. GEHC IT has already seen improvements in areas including software design, trending analysis and predictive modeling. The training also aligned with GEHC IT’s leadership growth core values, which employees are scored on each year.

"Having employees with a passion to learn more about their chosen fields—and seeking to apply their new knowledge—is the best result of all," the authors write in "Certification at Work."

And when an organization invests in its employees, most often, everybody wins.

Many of us can relate to how easy it is to backslide after making a positive change—for example, losing weight, only to gain it all back again. Such is the underlying theme in three of this month’s features:

"The Right Stuff" discusses how one organization developed deployment checks to gauge how culture and process changes were carried out. The view from the employees’ perspectives helped leadership understand where gaps were forming so they could act on them.

In "Pushback Prevention" author John R. Schultz explains how the concluding steps of a project are often its downfall—when team members rush, they get tripped up. Schultz reveals several areas to watch, and provides tips for managing change.

Finally, "The Secret to Sustainment" describes how one organization built momentum—and workforce support—for its change initiative.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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