We’ve started another year, and that can only mean one thing. Yep, you guessed it – another round of required compliance training for our employees.
At least in the U.S., OSHA standards require every industrial organization to provide compliance training on certain workplace hazards and emergency procedures that may impact employees. One of the great challenges in doing this is getting that information to actually stick.
More often than not we cram a lot of information down their throats in one setting, or sit them down in front of a computer while they flip through a “death by PowerPoint” slide presentation and read paragraphs of text they cannot possible digest and remember. Even the more popular online training classes are really little more than exercises in rote memorization. They provide just enough information to allow the learner to pass a quiz at the end of the module, and then allow that same learner to quickly forget that information the next day.
The end result is, we meet compliance regulations (we’re able to check off the compliance-training “box”), but our employees are no better off, no more knowledgeable about the topic, and no better prepared to deal with hazardous situations. The lack of engagement during that training (and lack of reinforcement post training) calls into question the Return on Investment we’re getting in terms of man-hours spent, capital outlay, and the abysmal absence of actual outcomes.
The worst part is, we know all of this is happening. We know it’s a complete waste of time. We know it’s unproductive. We know they are not going to retain anything.
And we know they hate it. They despise it. They fall asleep through it. They resent having to do it.
But, we continue to do it, because it’s required and we don’t think we have any other choice. We feel helpless to provide them a better experience in something we know they have to do, and we lament that it reflects baldly on us.
After all, in their minds it’s we who are requiring them to go through this torture. And our reputation (as safety leaders, production managers or supervisors) suffers as a result. It’s tough to maintain a good relationship with floor employees who view us as the bane of their existence.
Getting compliance training to be both memorable and meaningful for them is a real problem. But it doesn’t have to be. So, over the next few issues of Recordable INSIGHTS we’re going to look at some ways to accomplish this seemingly impossible goal. Stay tuned!
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