Proactive Technologies Report – September 2016

Extreme “Bumping” – A Powerful Lesson Supporting theDean Value of Cross-Training From a Union Shop

by Dean Prigelmeier, President of Proactive Technologies, Inc.

A challenge for union shops in this age of “higher-than-normal” labor turnover – through voluntary and encouraged retirements, reactions to economic events, corporate strategies to lower labor costs, etc. – is “bumping rights.” Whenever an employee with seniority departs the organization for any reason, a posting goes up and lesser senior employees can bid on that position if posted for bidding and kept open. If the hiring ends up being internal, several people can change seats to fill the open and subsequently opened up positions, until everyone is seated once again.

The very positive aspect of this labor contract provision is the opportunities for cross-training presented to the employees, and employer for that matter. Although it may be a little frightening for less senior people who, through the early years, get bumped rather than do the bumping, it provides hope to newer and younger workers seeking to move-up from entry-level and a chance to experience more challenging and interesting job classifications. The skill cross-training it provides facilitates continuous development opportunities to the employee that they might not have in a non-union shop -at least to that degree.

One challenge it presents to the employer is the potential for loss of capacity in all departments affected by the bumping chain. Accumulated expertise becomes mobile and less valuable if not positioned to perform the work for which the expertise applies. Capacity is lost from both the job the employee departs and the one they are moving to fill. How much capacity is lost in each case, and for how long, is determined by whether there is an infrastructure to train workers quickly. In non-union shops that do not have a task-based training infrastructure, this potential risk is mitigated by limiting the movement of workers who have demonstrated high level work performance in one area from moving to another job classification – latterly or vertically – for fear of the repercussions of replacing them.

One extreme case of bumping we experienced was at a firm, with a union, for which Proactive Technologies, Inc. has provided technical consulting for the last 16 years. The company’s initial concern in 2000 was that 40% of their manufacturing employees were scheduled to retire in the next two years; 80% over the next 8 years. Read More 


Thinking Past the Assessment: Unfinished Goals and StaceyUnrealized Expectations

by Stacey Lett, Regional Manager – Eastern U.S., Proactive Technologies, Inc.

Literally speaking, an “assessment” is the process of measuring the value, quality and/or quantity of something. There are many types of assessments,  and methods for assessing. In theory, it is the process of evaluating one thing against a set of criteria to determine the match/mismatch.

There are assessments for risk, for taxes, vulnerability. There are psychological, health, and political assessments. There is a group of educational assessments that measure a variety of outcomes such as educational attainment – assessments of course content mastery, assessment of grade level attainment, assessments of Scholastic Aptitude Tests (“SAT”) that compare a student to their peers nationally and a variety of college readiness exams.


Determining that you, indeed, hired the right person for the job will not automatically ensure the person is successful in learning and mastering the job. The most important step in the employment process is seeing to it that the individual’s core knowledge, skills and abilities are applied in learning and mastering the tasks which they were hired to perform. That is where the money is made. 


Educational assessments have been adapted for use in workforce development and employment, used to assess a prospective employee’s suitability for a job opening. They often measure more of what, if anything, a student learned and retained before graduating than how they match the employer’s actual job opening. Psychological assessments have been adapted to measure a prospective employee’s sociability to the workplace, morphing into a new category called “psychometric assessments.”

We have seen a growth in the employment assessment industry over the past 2 decades – particularly after 9-11. There are assessments for cognitive tests, physical abilities, “trustworthiness,” credit history, personality, criminal background and more. When used improperly, the methods have been challenged in court for their appropriateness and intent.

An assessment is a “test,” and has been held as such by court rulings over the years. The instrument determines a positive or negative outcome for the employee or prospective employee. The court has ruled, in many cases referring to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Uniform Guidelines for Employee Selection Procedures, that anything used to evaluate a prospective employee’s access to employment, or an existing employee’s retention, promotion and movement within a job, must meet certain standards to be legally valid. Read More



The Movement to Clear “Dead Wood” From Payroll – Is This a Good Idea?

by Dean Prigelmeier, President, Proactive Technologies, Inc.

It sounds smart, practical and indicative of effective management. Who wants “dead wood” unless you are camping and need kindling? But it is easy these days to pick a target, whether facts support your position or not, and demonize it to rally support for its eradication – often unwittingly supported by the people it will most detrimentally affect.
Like most oversold management theories that appear and then disappear once the collateral damage is discovered, this one too seems to have that trajectory – probably not before it ravages the capacity of companies that are running well but on which “cost cutting at any cost” measures are imposed.
The practice may be incredibly risky to the long-term health of the operation. In the August 22nd, 2016 Wall Street Journal article entitled ‘Nowhere to Hide for “Dead Wood” Workers‘  by Lauren Weber, the author detailed the story of Kimberly-Clark’s aggressive approach to clearing out the dead wood. Gone are the days of “coddling” employees who are “under-performing.” Gone are the days when an employer’s loyalty to the worker was reciprocated with loyalty to the corporation. Survival of the fittest is the driving culture for these corporations that have embraced “Performance Management.” Read More


Structured On-The-Job Training for Non-Manufacturing Job Classifications

Dean Prigelmeier, President of Proactive Technologies, Inc.

Although the PROTECH© system of managed human resource development was designed for manufacturing and there has extensively proven its effectiveness, the approach is just as effective for jobs in any industry, and level of the organization. Proactive Technologies, Inc.’s job/task analysis methodology is rooted in those used by the U. S. Departments of Defense and Energy – modified for use in the private-sector world with private-sector budgets and time constraints. The development and use of the job data is based on those practices that seemed to be working in human resource management, human resource development, technical writing, quality control and workforce development – modernized to an ever-changing and challenging world.

When it comes to the analysis of the job, which is the center of all instruments and activities developed from it, the common factor of all work is that it can be defined in discrete units called “tasks.” Nobody is ever hired and expected to be very knowledgeable about a subject, or be very aware, or be strong. These attributes do not become useful until applied in the performance of a meaningful recognizable unit of work. If correct performance of the task, the “best practice,” requires these attributes as either a necessary to learning to perform the task or needed in the performance of the task, they become prerequisite, but not the outcome.

Every job classification can be broken into its duties (groups of related tasks), tasks and subtasks. That is where performance is measured and it should be the outcome that is detected and improved. There are individuals who cannot conceptualize this relationship and say something like, “my job is too complicated, it cannot be defined because I am asked to do so many things.” Once they are walked through how they think their way through a series of steps to get to an outcome, they are usually converted. If the analyst cannot get a handle on a job classification, perhaps there really isn’t an underlying job.Read More

Read the full September, 2016 newsletter, including linked industry articles and online presentation schedules.

Posted in News

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    (Mountain Time) The philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; how any employer can benefit from the PROTECH© system of managed human resource development in more that just the training area; building related technical instruction/structured on-the-job training partnerships for employers in across all industries. When partnering with economic development agencies, public and private career and technical colleges and universities, this provides the most productive use of available grant funds and gives employers-employees/trainees and the project partners the biggest win for all. This model provides the lacking support needed to employers who want to easily and cost-effectively host an apprenticeship.  Approx 45 minutes.
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    (Mountain Time) This briefing explains the philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; how any employer can benefit from the PROTECH© system of human resource development in more that just the training area. This model provides the lacking support employers, who want to be able to easily and cost-effectively create the workers they require right now, need.  Approx 45 minutes.
  • 1:00 pm-1:45 pm
    2017-12-06
    (Mountain Time) The philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; how any employer can benefit from the PROTECH© system of managed human resource development in more that just the training area; building related technical instruction/structured on-the-job training partnerships for employers across all industries and how it can become an cost-effective, cost-efficient and highly credible apprenticeship. When partnering with economic development agencies, public and private career and technical colleges and universities, this provides the most productive use of available grant funds and gives employers-employees/trainees and the project partners the biggest win for all. This model provides the lacking support needed to employers who want to easily and cost-effectively host an apprenticeship.  Approx. 45 minutes
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    (Mountain Time) The philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; the many benefits the employer can realize from the PROTECH© system of managed human resource development in more that just the training area; examples of projects across all industries, including manufacturing and manufacturing support companies. When combined with related technical instruction, this approach has been easily registered as an apprenticeship-focusing the structured on-the-job training on exactly what are the required tasks of the job. Registered or not, this approach is the most effective way to train workers to full capacity in the shortest amount of time –cutting internal costs of training while increasing worker capacity, productivity, work quality and quantity, and compliance.  Approx 45 minutes.
  • 9:00 am-9:45 am
    2017-12-07
    (Mountain Time) The philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; how any employer can benefit from the PROTECH© system of managed human resource development in more that just the training area; building related technical instruction/structured on-the-job training partnerships for employers across all industries and how it can become an cost-effective, cost-efficient and highly credible apprenticeship. When partnering with economic development agencies, public and private career and technical colleges and universities, this provides the most productive use of available grant funds and gives employers-employees/trainees and the project partners the biggest win for all. This model provides the lacking support needed to employers who want to easily and cost-effectively host an apprenticeship.  Approx. 45 minutes
  • 1:00 pm-1:45 pm
    2017-12-07
    (Mountain Time) The philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; how any employer can benefit from the PROTECH© system of managed human resource development in more that just the training area; building related technical instruction/structured on-the-job training partnerships for employers across all industries one-by-one. How this can become a cost-effective, cost-efficient and highly credible workforce development strategy – easy scale up by just plugging each new employer into the system. When partnering with economic development agencies, and public and private career and technical colleges and universities for the related technical instruction, this provides the most productive use of available grant funds and gives employers-employees/trainees and the project partners the biggest win for all. This model provides the support sorely needed by employers who want to partner in the development of the workforce but too often feel the efforts will not improve the workforce they need. Approx. 45 minutes
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  • 7:00 am-7:45 am
    2017-12-18
    (Mountain Time) This briefing explains the philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; how any employer can benefit from the PROTECH© system of human resource development in more that just the training area. This model provides the lacking support employers, who want to be able to easily and cost-effectively create the workers they require right now, need.  Approx 45 minutes.
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    2017-12-18
    (Mountain Time) The philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; how any employer can benefit from the PROTECH© system of managed human resource development in more that just the training area; building related technical instruction/structured on-the-job training partnerships for employers across all industries one-by-one. How this can become a cost-effective, cost-efficient and highly credible workforce development strategy – easy scale up by just plugging each new employer into the system. When partnering with economic development agencies, and public and private career and technical colleges and universities for the related technical instruction, this provides the most productive use of available grant funds and gives employers-employees/trainees and the project partners the biggest win for all. This model provides the support sorely needed by employers who want to partner in the development of the workforce but too often feel the efforts will not improve the workforce they need. Approx. 45 minutes
  • 1:00 pm-1:45 pm
    2017-12-18
    (Mountain Time) The philosophy behind, and development/implementation of, structured on-the-job training; how any employer can benefit from the PROTECH© system of managed human resource development in more that just the training area; building related technical instruction/structured on-the-job training partnerships for employers across all industries and how it can become an cost-effective, cost-efficient and highly credible apprenticeship. When partnering with economic development agencies, public and private career and technical colleges and universities, this provides the most productive use of available grant funds and gives employers-employees/trainees and the project partners the biggest win for all. This model provides the lacking support needed to employers who want to easily and cost-effectively host an apprenticeship.  Approx. 45 minutes
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