Are You Building A Safety Competency — Or Just Training?

competencies-2Last issue we began looking at the proper role of training in the development process.  And there I stated the fact that training is not development, and no amount of training can build a safety competency.

A competency is a combination of skills, knowledge and abilities.  A training class can impart rote knowledge, a change in thinking, and a call to commitment to do something different or improve a current practice.  It can even build some initial skills around that knowledge and provide tools for applying it to a post-training environment.

But a competency is built only when skills are consistently applied, developed and reinforced in a real-world setting.  All too often there is an initial spike in performance following a training session as the student begins to try out the new skills he’s learned.

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But then real-life takes over–-the demands of the job, emerging issues, upcoming deadlines, general stress, etc.–-and the student puts the new skills on the shelf and reverts back to the old familiar way of doing things.  Once the crunch time is over, the initial “buzz” of the training has faded and is no longer strong enough to sustain further development.10 things you must know about safety coaching

That’s why training should be viewed only as the beginning of the competency development process.  All training needs to be followed by a systematic development program that includes a competency model (the desired outcome), on-the-job training, performance observations and coaching, and some form of performance test that validates the ability of the student against that competency model.

Hopefully this helps to explain why safety leaders should be focused on performance and outcomes rather than on training, why all of our training and development programs should be performance-based, and why we ought to reject stand-alone “training” classes that have no built-in competency-based development process.  Such an activity is simply a directionless transactional commodity that has no place in the world of learning and development.

That’s it for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. Until next time be sure all your safety initiatives are built in, not bolted on.

~ES

 

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safetyBUILT-IN YouTube ChannelBe sure to see our other Vlog (Video Blog) entries on our safetyBUILT-IN YouTube Channel!

Eric Svendsen

Eric Svendsen, Ph.D., is Principal and lead change agent for safetyBUILT-IN, a safety-leadership learning and development organization. He has over 20 years experience in creating and executing outcomes-based leadership development and culture change initiatives aligned to organizational goals, and he personally led the safety-culture initiatives of a number of client organizations that resulted in “best ever safety performance” years for those companies.

Comments

  1. Hi there,
    Youtube cannot be accessed in some of Asia countries, like China, is it possible to put the VDOs to other websites, so that everyone can see?
    cheers,
    LJ

    • We have looked into other video hosting options in the past to accommodate our viewers in China, but unfortunately have not had much success. China has blocked all the major social media outlets, including all the major video sites. We have attempted to set up an account with YouKu (China’s YouTube clone) but it will not allow us to complete the registration process. We are constantly looking for other alternatives, so if you have one please pass it along to us.

      Incidentally, there are proxy tools that viewers within China can use to navigate around the firewall (u l t r a s u r f . u s, t o r p r o j e c t . o r g, a n o n y m o u s – p r o x y – s e r v e r s . n e t — remove the spaces between letters and add https:// to the first two and http:// to the last. Have you tried these?

  2. All training needs to be followed by a systematic development program that includes a competency model (the desired outcome), on-the-job training, performance observations and coaching, and some form of performance test that validates the ability of the student against that competency model.
    – Can you give some examples of what this systematic development program might look like? is this done by the safety professional – or is this handed off to the supervisor to do the observations and coaching?

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