Can You Avoid The Black Hole Of Training?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Will training make a difference and improve performance?  How will you know? Are you getting good participation and management support? Am I on target or wasting the budget?  Can you feel the pull of the”Black Hole”?  Let’s take the chance out of training and improve the odds for success. 

Safety training can seem like a game of chance, sometimes missing the mark, perceived as a waste of time and does not provide the expected results.   What can we do to increase the odds of success and really engage everyone in the safety process?  (Hint:  ANSI Z490.1)

Compliance or Actual Safe Work?

With much of safety training focused on OSHA compliance it is easy to get caught up in the details; planning the event, making sure that everyone attends or completes the course, and that records of completion are kept and available.  Many employers take the easy way out.  They plug in a video or sit employees down at a terminal to take the course, don’t conduct a meaningful discussion about how the topic relates to their workplace, give a quiz and then send the employees back to work.  The bar for acceptable OSHA training is so low that most employers get by with this minimalist approach.  The bigger problem is that this approach often crosses over into the process of training for specific job hazards.  When you don’t care enough to design a quality training course, your employees see this and develop beliefs that safety isn’t as important as other things at work. Before you know it, training loses its importance and safety performance is diminished. 

It is very important to recognize that you are training adults.  Engaging and involving them in the learning process is the key.  When adults experience training in which the content is accurate, current, and relevant to them, the likelihood of successful learning and knowledge transfer increases dramatically.  Before we discuss the needs of adult learners and provide important tips for engaging them in the process, we need to understand how to design and deliver good training content.  I’ll cover this in a later post, but in the meantime, please share your thoughts on what I’ve said here.