Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Space and Time

Magazine article Mortgage Banking

Space and Time

Article excerpt

In my last column, I suggested that the first step in the process of setting up a formal training effort is to create a mandate for training. That is, to defin the area training will operate in, the results it will be responsible for and the formula by which training needs will be prioritized.

Given that, one can then allocate the resources of space and time, people and money, with confidence and logic.

Of these four variables, space is the most problematic. In our volatile industry, companies have to flex their size and configuration constantly to match market conditions. This reshaping of purpose causes an ongoing need to reallocate space. In the shuffle, priorities can get blurred. Keeping training space inviolate helps to keep your training staff focused on their real goals, which are the development and delivery of training that enables people to perform their jobs. To the extent they are distracted from their goals by logistical concerns, their effectiveness is diluted and you get less bang for your buck.

Even if your training effort is small, it needs at least two dedicated training rooms, configured and equipped specifically for training. One of these rooms should be computer-equipped.

The computer-equipped room must contain the same terminals or PCs that participants will use on the job, with the same keyboards, printers and softwar configuration. Ideally, each participant needs 36 inches of desk space for a keyboard, monitor and notebook. The desk space needs to be 30 inches deep.

The number of terminals you choose to put in the room caps the number of people you can train at one time. It is a mistake to allow your trainer to attempt to train two people on one computer workstation. In theory, they alternate between using the computer and watching, and they both come out proficient. In practice training someone to use a computer by having them watch someone else press the keys is about as effective as training someone to play the piano by having them watch a piano player.

Your computer training room needs one high-tech piece of equipment. It is calle a PC viewer, and, used with an overhead projector, it allows you to project ont a wall screen whatever your PC screen shows.

The noncomputer-equipped room simply needs tables and chairs that can be arranged in a "U" shape to accommodate groups of varying size.

The chairs in both rooms require wheels, arms, and height and back adjustments--and they cost more than my first car. The price is appalling, but there is simply no way around it. Both rooms need carpeting--the kind that recovers from spills of coffee and soda. The alternative is to prohibit drinks, and it doesn't work well. Many members of our work force require regular doses of caffeine and/or sugar to remain functional and happy.

And finally, if you have ever spent a day in a basement training room, you will agree that windows are a psychological necessity.

Time is actually a simpler resource to manage than space, when it comes to training. All that is required is for upper management, training staff and the customer departments that use the training services to share two basic pieces o knowledge. The first is a fundamental understanding of how long certain trainin activities take. The second is an understanding that time is a very stubborn an inelastic resource. …

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