- THE CHALLENGE
- 3-STEP SOLUTION
- CLIENT RESULTS
- ABOUT US
Companies have been utilizing mass customization for years. Consider the jeans company that allows a customer to select a pair online. Then, rather than ordering from stock sizes, the customer inputs her unique measurements and receives a one-off pair of jeans tailored specifically for her, a mass-appeal product customized for the unique needs of the moment. Knowledge transfer within a business organization can be set up the same way to create a form of “mass customized” onboarding. A manager or department leader creates a master Skill Development Plan (SDP) for a certain job role, and then customizes it for each unique employee. The output is an employee with skills that have been uniquely “crafted” to fit current needs.
At my knowledge transfer consulting firm, this is a challenge we’re working through with many of our clients who employee dozens or even hundreds of people around the world with the same job title, and essentially the same role. They might be project managers, sales people, accountants, client-facing engineers, technical writers, or any of a host of jobs with a common skill set. With growth and/or regular turnover in these roles, clients face the challenge of onboarding new people, who may arrive with any number of variables affecting how quickly they can come up to speed. Here are some examples of the variables:
Taking into account each of these variables is required to ensure our promise of 50% reduction in ramp up to productivity. “One size fits all” is one of the reasons current onboarding is often inefficient. With a customizable master Skill Development Plan for these common roles, an organization can look at each new resource on his first day and tailor a plan for each person at that exact moment in time. Here’s how it works.
The process explained above is quick, clear, and extremely practical. Whether the client has local or global roles to fill, we enable mass customization opportunities in a matter of weeks. Further customization for each new hire takes merely an hour or two. Gone are the days of “throwing the new hire in the deep end,” or a mandatory “12 weeks of boot camp for everyone whether you need it or not.” Instead each new hire hears, “Welcome, we have a plan to get you up to speed in X number of weeks. It has been customized for you based on your background, the work in front of you, and the available help we can provide. We’ll support you along the way, but this is your plan to execute so that you can be effective at your job ASAP. You’ll know you’re on the right track if you’re learning the skills by the dates in the plan and answering the test questions as your mentor would. Go forth and make it happen.”
SUMMARY: As I mentioned above, one of our core promises as a knowledge transfer team is that we can reduce the ramp up to productivity for any new hire by at least 50%, routinely taking months or even years out of the development curve for new or transitioning employees. Our process is predictable, methodical and measurable. New hires and transfers are empowered by seeing a customized and clear path of learning ahead—side benefits like improved engagement, reduced team stress, and overall job satisfaction are icing on the cake. Mass customization… it’s not just for jeans anymore.
Knowledge Transfer Today Blog — A source for knowledge transfer, talent management, and the practice of teaching what you know.
Steve Trautman is corporate America’s leading knowledge transfer expert. With two decades of application inside blue chips and Fortune 1000s, his pioneering work in the field of knowledge transfer and related risk management tools are now the nationally-recognized gold standard. He is known for a high energy style that combines humor, street smarts, and board room wisdom. More about Steve