Monday, April 19, 2010

Training Beyond Compliance

For what feels like forever I have had to sit in on boring safety meetings and training. It’s always the same old movies, and when the lights go off we all struggle to stay awake. At the end, the safety department rep smiles, puts a check in the training box and we in the audience break out of the slumber and go back to work. Crud!! What a sorry, ineffective way to try and improve safety! Sure the government regs are important and they must be trained on a regular basis. But do we have to park our brains along with our behinds in this process that is more a never ending cycle of numb than anything that remotely represents a value added safety activity?
One of my safety pro colleagues decided to end the cycle of numb and pulled together a Continuous Improvement team to do something creative about the dumb of numb. Their Purpose statement went something like: “Develop employee delivered safety training that is inspiring, effective and fun.” Fun? Where did that come from, certainly not from the dumb of numb!

They went through a risk analysis and came up with a list of needed safety training. From there they did a web search for available materials and after review sorted down to what seemed to be “sorta – kinda” a fit. There was very little out there that really was an on target match for what they did. With some more creative problem solving, the team members developed:
  • Interactive exercises that engaged the people who were to be trained
  • A list of SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) for as many of the topics as possible
  • Ice Breaker introduction pieces that warmed up the crowd
  • Simple, fun, inexpensive rewards like candy for audience members who participated well
  • A session ending quiz that made sense to the topic and the company business
  • A training plan with time allowed for each topic that insured both content and crispness
  • Practical training for hourly members, supervision and upper management that helped them to become better, more comfortable trainers
  • A spread sheet that tracked who had given the training and who was “next in the barrel”
  • Personal accountabilities for employees from all levels to lead and participate in training appropriate to their job function
They then ran a pilot of the training in a focus work cell that wanted to be involved with this training improvement process. After a couple of iterations the dumb of numb was replaced with competent involved and yes, fun, learning across the organization. This initiative helped to greatly improve the three people-focused safety fundamentals of any job: Knowledge, Skills and Attitude.

Use this approach in your organization? “Try it, you’ll like it!”
The Doc

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