How to close skill gaps in your organization ?

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When businesses witness good growth even amidst tough global market conditions, there are a set of challenges that come to the fore. To address issues of this magnitude, a Fortune 100 transportation company took a different approach that drove its expansion plans in the right direction! This blog will take you through the Origin engagement experience, which helped the company pursue its aggressive growth plans.

How to close skill gaps in your organization - Job task analysis

The transportation major had built up its product portfolio of locomotives with complex pieces of machinery. To cater efficiently to its customers the technical team had to have a grip over the sales and services agreements. There was also an interdependence factor from the company’s customer’s side which meant training their employees to be up-to-date on the maintenance and servicing procedures.

The brief was clear – training engineers and craft personnel at the customer and its customer sites on specialized skillsets needed for taking advantage of the growth opportunities.

Other key objectives of the transportation MNC were the following:

  • Minimize on-boarding time
  • Reduce training cycle-time by 50% from the current 2 years
  • Increase the number of learners
  • Expand the talent pool
  • Streamline operations across geographies

To achieve business goals, it was necessary to chart out a plan that was workable in the near term. Besides, only immediate results and a clear path would make the customer persist with the engagement.The company had many locations to be covered. Dependency on instructor-led training was a matter of concern. Also, the competencies and skill-sets of employees too were quite different given their levels of knowledge and expertise. Customizing the learning content, hence, was another big challenge.

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One of the first things that Origin set out to do was to do a Job Task Analysis (JTA). This primarily helped in skill gap analysis. Also, using JTA, identification of roles was possible,which helped in pinning down the number of roles to 4, essentially covering technical advisors, technical directors, lead technical advisors, and lead technical directors. Secondly, accuracy and completeness, being the quintessential elements, had to be viewed in the context of role, training needs, and changing business dynamics.

Over 150 hours of ILT had to be re-created into interactive 3D courseware as the sessions had to provide in-depth knowledge of the technical aspects of the products. A graphic representation using 3D modeling techniques made the experience more effective as minute details,such as seeing the intricacies of the component functions and procedures, led to an immersive learning process and elevated the user (learner) experience. Even the locational challenge disappeared as the learner, irrespective of geography, using the virtual platform was able to get the touch-feel-experience of handling a real locomotive that is physically located on the shop-floor assembly lines. So, designing an immersive online learning experience for a technical procedural training succeeded in increasing the enrollment into complete certification programs within a stipulated schedule.

This was then followed with an OJT or on-the-job training where a qualification card (Qual Card) was used to evaluate the proficiency levels of the learners. So, the task mapping helped in tweaking content to suit the proficiency levels of the learners. The challenge of blended learning was overcome by using the common course structure which had content validated by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

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Bringing in SMEs at the early stage of the engagement to focus on understanding the concept rather than the content helped in putting things in perspective – to solve the puzzle of how to simplify the technicalities of the locomotive. Additionally, this helped in interpreting the blueprint and schematic diagrams of the locomotive to enhance accuracy while designing the 3D model.

The key highlights of the engagement can be listed as follows:

  • Ease of use – making access to the graphic content quick
  • An outside-in graphic view without any compromise on quality
  • A pre-collaborative effort between cross-functional teams
  • Ability to use mobiles, smart phones, and tabs – device-friendly content
  • Strategy that reduced the training development time by 50%
  • Minimal feedback session with the client as the end-user role was already tested

Origin’s successful training engagement with the transportation giant can be clearly identified in 4 stages – project planning and process, technical training, quality and softskills training, and leadership training. This turned out to be a comprehensive and holistic learning experience as Origin’s entire course is accessible through multiple devices.


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