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  • Problem: The Town of Oro Valley has an average of 30 required training courses incomplete per department. This results in lost productivity and creates potential compliance issues with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • Root Causes Discovered:
    • Excessive handoffs in the training management process leading to delays and rework
    • Inconsistent and fragmented manual process for training management
    • Staff and management’s limited awareness of what training is required
  • Solutions:
    • Created Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for required training
    • Updated the training requirements and plans for all departments
    • Implemented a Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Results:
    • Reduced the incomplete training from an average of 30 to less than 1 per department—a 97% improvement.











The Town of Oro Valley recognizes the importance of employee training for maintaining compliance with both Town-wide and job-specific requirements. However, the current process to assign training and then track the status results in incomplete employee records and potential compliance issues with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This case study outlines how an improvement project identified the root causes of the training problem and implemented improvements to increase training compliance while reducing the time required to manage the process.

Louie Valenzuela, Debra Harms, Kyle Chan

A team, led by Database Analyst Debra Harms, was formed to complete this project while attending GLSS Green Belt Training & Certification. She was joined by team members Kyle Chan, a Business Systems Analyst, and Louie Valenzuela, the Town’s Emergency Management and Safety Coordinator. Together, the team decided this was an important project that would have a significant positive impact on the Town as well as make for an excellent GLSS Green Belt Training & Certification project.

Debra says, “We were considering this project as part of our GLSS training and certification because there were a lot of pain points and problems. Some departments were completing their training while others weren’t. We knew this process must be improved when we realized people were not receiving their training within the required first 30 days of employment—a regulatory non-compliance.”

The Problem

The team collected data to establish a performance Baseline, allowing them to track progress toward reducing training non-compliance. The graph below displays the number of incomplete trainings from the first 30 days of hire between November 2022 and January 2023. The variation between departments speaks to the gaps in the process and the average of 30 incompletions per department is high and problematic for regulatory audits.

As the team dug deeper into the process, they learned what was happening was quite different from the story they had come to believe.

Debra says, “When we did the Process Walk, it provided a lot of insight for us. After Kyle and Louie conducted the walk-through, they came back with the realization of how the story was really going as opposed to the anecdotal evidence we were previously told. That truth opened a lot of possibilities for us.”

Louie says, “We assumed when new employees joined the organization, the departments emphasized the required training as part of orientation. But that wasn’t happening at all in some departments while others were making sure the training was done. In most departments, the new employees were only given a brief description of what they will be doing in their role with the Town. Then, they were sent off to do that role. Also, some of the part-time employees are not given network access, meaning they had no way of receiving the training. Through the Process Walk we learned the fragmentation was deeper than we expected.”

The team also learned the process handoffs were disjointed, moving between multiple internal customers. There were inefficiencies in collecting and tracking training given. In addition, awareness of the required training and the process for completion was limited among all internal customers.

The Root Causes

With the use of the Fishbone Diagram and 5 Whys, the team discovered multiple root causes of the problems with the training program. These were:

  • The process of assigning training, tracking completion, and identifying outstanding training was manual with numerous handoffs that resulted in delays and missing information.
  • Inconsistent or non-existent training procedures. While most new employees do receive a standard set of Town-issued trainings, many must complete individual training for their respective departments. Most departments did not have standards established for this training.
  • Some training is assigned and completed by outside vendors and the records are kept outside of the Town’s internal process. This created the inability to quickly assess training completion.
  • Nearly all staff had limited awareness of what training was needed and required

The Solutions

With the insights gained from the Baseline, the Process Walk and the Root Cause Analysis, the team had a clear vision of the changes needed. They quickly:

  • Created Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for managing the trainings.
  • Established training requirements and training plans for all departments, allowing departments to own their individualized training plans and therefore increasing both supervisor awareness and employee buy-in.
  • Implemented a Learning Management System (LMS) to alert employees and supervisors of assignments and outstanding due dates.

Kyle says, “I think a huge advantage in developing our solutions was that Louie was also a customer of this process. He manages the current training system, and he provided us with valuable input. Also, the implementation went smoothly because several people across the Town’s departments had already gone through GLSS Training & Certification. They understood and supported what we were doing. When we came to them with these ideas, they helped with buy-in.”

The Results

By streamlining the training assignment process and creating awareness, the team reduced the overall coordination time for new hire training to an average of 2 hours per week, down from 6 hours per week.

The graph below shows the impact of the improvements. The average dropped from 30 incomplete training courses to less than 1 per department–a 97% improvement! You can see on the graph that some departments now have 100% compliance. Soon, all departments are expected to be at 100%.

Debra points out that, “Compliance with required training is both in the best interest of the Town and the employees. A well-educated workforce is inherently safer, aware of rules and policies, and generally exhibits better employee conduct and engagement. Our team is proud to have helped make that a reality for the Town.”