When you think of training your employees, what do you envision? You’re likely focused on the technical aspects of their job, such as how to operate machinery, as well as administrative tasks like submitting their timesheets and requesting PTO. However, training must take top priority if you want a highly dedicated employee who will stay with your company for the long term.

The Society for Human Resource Management notes that companies with an individualized development program increase employee retention; in fact, a recent study showed that learning new skills is the third most important perk for job-seekers. It also provides you with a more disciplined workforce.

As you develop training programs, consider going beyond the basics by adding these critical – and helpful – modules.

Communication

We often think about manufacturing facilities as being purely about physical labor, but there is also a great deal of communication and negotiation that must take place. A worker may need to tell their supervisor the exact nature of an issue in clear terms, or they might have to inform other employees of a change in procedure to ensure that everyone is safe. As such, though it may not seem as crucial on the floor as in the boardroom, good conversational skills are still necessary for everyone who works with complicated machinery and involved processes.

Investing in communication and leadership lessons with your employees prevents miscommunication, which can result in injuries or damaged product. It also helps empower them to speak out if they notice someone is disobeying safety guidelines and to clearly iterate any concerns they may have with their superiors, as they will feel more confident in voicing their opinion.

Lastly, leadership training helps you promote from within the company rather than looking for outside talent, which also boosts morale among your workers. Today’s line worker might be tomorrow’s supervisor, inspiring their fellow employees to do their best.

Electrical Safety

Electricity is essential to every manufacturing facility: even those that make handcrafted artisanal goods will need at least some power source, if only to keep the lights on. But though electricity is omnipresent and incredibly important, it is also very dangerous. Each year, 4,000 workers across all US sectors are electrocuted at work; of these, 300 will sadly pass away from their injuries.

It’s crucial that you train your employees on electrical safety, such as turning off energy sources if there is a spill near equipment or not using an outlet that has short-circuited. You can also teach them more about the systems your company uses, or even pay for them to get certified for electrical repair. While this may be outside the bounds of their expected role, it can prove incredibly helpful if you have an issue on-site.

Long-Term Cleaning Tasks

While your employees likely know about the day-to-day cleaning, such as sweeping the floors and wiping down equipment, they may not have insight into more infrequent repair and maintenance tasks around your facility.

For example, some of your production line workers might not know about the significance of your industrial dust collector, which helps to keep the air clean and prevents impurities from settling into products. This vital equipment needs to be emptied and its filter replaced semi-frequently to avoid fires and ensure it’s running at maximum capacity.

Rather than always doing it yourself, consider having a few employees learn about these more unique cleaning tasks and practice them with you. Not only is it interesting to curious employees, it also means you’ll have someone qualified to take over if you’re unavailable around the time these projects need to be done.

Emergency Procedures

There is truly nothing scarier for a manager than to witness one of their workers experiencing a medical emergency on the floor; they may feel helpless, especially if they’re not sure what to do in order to save their employee’s life. Similarly, shutting off all the machines due to a gas leak or electrical fire is made exponentially harder if no one is sure what to do or who is responsible for each task.

You want to empower your employees to take control during an emergency by providing them with comprehensive training on first aid, shutting down machines, and evacuating the building. Not only does this protect your property and prevent lawsuits, but it also ensures that workers are willing to intervene quickly should there be a problem, potentially saving a life or thousands of dollars in equipment.

There are numerous other benefits to this training. It emphasizes that your company values safety, which can improve trust between you and your workers – and between workers and one another. Knowing that they can rely on those around them during an emergency helps your staff feel comfortable going about their duties, which can greatly improve productivity. These skills are also incredibly useful for your employees in their free time: the training you provide at work could mean that they’re capable of jumping in if someone collapses on the bus or their child starts choking at home.

Educated employees are happy employees, and this means going beyond their everyday tasks to provide them with skills they can use all throughout their lives. Communication, electrical safety, the ins and outs of manufacturing equipment, and first aid can all prove useful in numerous circumstances, whether they stay with your company or leave for a new opportunity. Either way, you’ll have a company that’s focused on safety and filled with responsible employees, which is a major win for you.

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