Training to Meet the Needs of the Utility Transformation
- Oct 4, 2021 2:12 pm GMT
Even without the pandemic, jobs in the utilities sector were changing to meet the demands of a more digitized, more mobile, networked workforce. COVOD-19 and the changes it forced on the industry was just an accelerant.
In past decades, utilities got a lot of staff straight from school or college, trained them in their way of working and in return they got job security and the option to pursue a long-term career in a hierarchical organization. That's a broad generalization, but not unfair.
Nowadays organizations are much flatter, people flit from job to job, and vast technological changes can make whole industries obsolete. For example, printers used to use hot metal typesetting to produce newspapers and other printed materials. Desktop publishing finished all those companies quite quickly, and publishing became cheaper and lowered barriers to enter.
Currently the utilities industry is having to deal with large technological changes. This article is about how do you attract and train a workforce to implement these developments. Without sufficient skilled workers this transition will be problematic.
Firstly, in a modern company, training is for life. Many companies give individuals training budgets or require them to undergo training courses as they progress along their career path.
Develop an Individual Training Plan
Creating a plan for each individual involves a job task analysis, which details the skills, tasks, and performance expectations the employee will have to meet as they progress within the company. A personalized training program can then be put in place to ensure workers develop and revisit the skills they require to do different jobs, as well as test that they have acquired the correct skills.
This will need “stretch targets” - there is no point in training them on something they already know and being groomed for the next level up is a motivator for ambitious employees.
Typically, some combination of classroom, online, and on-the-job instruction is the right approach. Utilities also need to take advantage of improved training technology. For example using simulations – perhaps of a serious outage – to let personnel deal with the issue in a safe, re-playable way so they will be equipped when the real thing happens.
The conclusion is, providing multiple types of training is central to continuing to grow and attract talent in the utility sector. The technology and processes in this industry have changed significantly over the last 30 years. Employees have changed as well. So developing an engaging, effective training plan will put companies on the path to retaining talented employees.
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