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Improving your workplace training results

By Jeff Thorne


There is a constant declaration that common sense is required in health and safety. But, current accident and incident statistics seem to demonstrate that common sense doesn’t exist.

If common sense were a reality, there would be no need for orientation or training. People would somehow magically know what to do. Yet, despite extensive inductions, orientations and training, people still don’t know what to do. This is why it’s important to manage training rather than simply provide training that checks a box.

Safety training is an important and necessary requirement for equipping employees with the knowledge, skill and abilities required to assist the employer in achieving their safety goal of reducing the risk of occupational injury and illness. Training is completed as a method of achieving compliance and it assists in supporting the employer’s due diligence efforts. However, in some cases, training delivery is poor and the impact can be devastating.


The impact of poor training

When it comes to health and safety training, poor delivery can have deadly consequences:

Employee satisfaction: if employees haven’t been properly trained, then they could feel dissatisfied at work, stressed and unproductive. Employees may remain quiet about their dissatisfaction and could potentially leave the company, causing companies to revisit the hiring process all over again. A happy employee means a smooth running, profitable business.

Poor results: when an employee is poorly trained, this can affect the entire business. Everyone contributes to the success of a business and the weakest link can drag down sales and daily routines, which can sometimes be attributed to poor training.

Additional training: time is very important and having to reschedule hours of training for an employee who wasn’t trained correctly in the first place is a waste of time

New training: like time, money is a factor when employees must be paid for training. If they aren’t trained properly the first time around, employers are forced to pay extra money to make sure workers have all of the training required to confidently do their jobs.


Improve training results

To avoid these pitfalls, there are key areas to focus on that will assist with improving training results:

Needs analysis and design strategy: before any training occurs, a needs analysis that gathers information identifying knowledge gaps is required. A proper analysis will focus on the organization’s resources to deliver the training. The information obtained here is what will drive the design, delivery, assessment and evaluation of the training.

A proper analysis and design strategy will identify the desired results. It will use clear learning outcomes tied directly to the needs analysis results.

Begin with the end in mind: Dr. Stephen Covey wrote a book entitled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit number two: begin with the end in mind, is based on imagination – the ability to envision what cannot be seen. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation and a physical (second) creation. Training is no different. There is a need to think about desired results – what learners should be able to know, understand and do – by the end of the training.

Know the audience: part of the training strategy involves identifying the different types of learners in order to meet the different learning styles.

The auditory learner likes lectures and needs an opportunity to discuss content. The visual learner likes to see the instructor demonstrate concepts, see visual aids, graphics and the use of white boards or flip charts. The tactile or kinesthetic learner likes the hands-on approach whenever possible and enjoys the opportunity to role-play or act out the situation. Training needs to be designed to incorporate these different learning styles.

Measure and evaluate training results: There are specific questions that should be answered after the completion of training:

  • What and how much of the information did the participant absorb?
  • Did the training meet the learning outcomes and organizational needs?
  • How well did the participant learn the material?

In order to answer these questions, post-training monitoring and feedback at different intervals are required to see that the training has had the desired effect on behaviour. This can be achieved through formal performance evaluations, training evaluation sheets, pre- and post-training testing and a formal evaluation of behaviour.

Organizations invest considerable time, effort and resources into training employees. Much of this expenditure can be wasted if sufficient time isn’t spent on proper analysis and planning to ensure the training is linked to the expected behaviours desired in the workplace. When training is implemented, and monitored effectively, organizations can then begin to maximize their investments in training.

Jeff Thorne is the manager of training and consulting of OSG.



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