CPMM, MIAM, Editor
Growing worker shortages and higher-than-usual turnover of junior workers have perplexed almost every business sector in America since early 2021.
While shortages of qualified employees can be geographic and/or business centered, one huge variable that affects reliability is talent, i.e., reliability-related skill sets. Although trainable, these skill sets require more than mere
While we’ve discussed a variety of influencers, factors, and approaches to employee training in columns and articles for The RAM Review, there must be more to
employee development than training, especially now.
Reliability-related skill sets require an aptitude for figuring things out. For example, many of today's RAM professionals were puzzle-solvers long before the path to
improving equipment reliability was opened to them.
Curiosity is another personal characteristic that greatly enables a person’s success in areas of reliability improvement.
And of course, a mechanical aptitude along with a working knowledge of electricity, sound, and light go a long way in RAM-career
My May 16, 2022, column (also see link below) addressed the topic of recruiting and coaching within your organization as the most effective means of growing your own talent. But there’s one more approach to growing
that talent, regardless of job type. It's career development planning.
Career development plans can have a double benefit. First, these plans and follow-up actions can encourage employee retention; Second, although once considered useful only
for senior management, career-development planning can help spot diamonds in the rough on the plant floor. So, how would this play out?
Look For The Right Aptitude & Attitude
Spread the word about possible opportunities in your RAM group for new team members. Discuss the type of work and talents that would be considered success
factors, i.e., puzzle-solving, curiosity, mechanical aptitude, and the like. Answer questions and show some of the reliability tools at work.
Conduct Career Planning Discussions:
Explore a prospective RAM recruit’s background and career goals when interest in reliability work emerges. Show potential career steps in reliability, not only within your
plant, but in the overall profession as well. Discuss the Certified Maintenance & Reliability Technician (CMRT) body of knowledge from the Society of Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (SMRP).
Encourage Job Shadowing
Invite RAM recruits to shadow some of your team members for a “day in the life of” experience. Schedule these shadow days (when convenient) over a period of several weeks. Make sure the RAM team members explain what they're doing, where the information comes from, and the problem solving processes
Formalize A Plan
All of these efforts, from start to finish, should be sanctioned by the organization's human resources department. Begin with a career goal in mind. Be specific on the initial job-transition steps when formalizing a career development plan. Map out, in detail, the first few weeks and months. The balance
of the first year should be approached with a quarter-by-quarter plan. Assign a job coach (or coaches). Specify skills to be explored, learned, and mastered.
Commit To A Plan
Put the career development plan in writing and have both parties sign it. Try not to make it a legal contract, but clearly state the intents of both the RAM team leader and the RAM recruit.
Train & Qualify
Every step of the way, be sure to follow a formal training and qualification process. Employ a formal job duty-task analysis of the targeted skills and knowledge based on current RAM employees' skill sets and future skill sets. For more information, check out
my previous RAM-training-related pieces. (Click here to find those links in the online version of this column.)
There’s an adage that rings true at this point: “Plan your work and work your plan.” Career development planning is a worthwhile tool for growing your own RAM