Making Your Safety Training Outcomes-Based

end-gameIf you want to ensure your safety training and development has purpose, is aligned to job responsibilities, and will actually make a difference in performance and behaviors, then you need to start by identifying the end game; namely, what are the desired outcomes you’d like to see in place as a result of that training?

Whether it’s general safety training, or job-specific safe-operations training, one of the best ways to do this is by defining the competencies employees will need to prove they have as a result of that training.  What are the job responsibilities that will be impacted, and what specifically will they need to know and be able to do in the proposed future state?

Let’s use a very simple example to illustrate how this works.  Let’s say you’re creating a development plan for a Plant Operator I position, and one of the things you’ve determined they’ll need to know how to do is shut down the plant in case of an emergency.  The general category for this particular training module might be something like “Emergency Shutdown (ESD) Systems.”

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But instead of immediately moving to the develop phase of that training module let’s focus first on the desired outcomes–what exactly they need to know and be able to do.  In this example we’ve determined they need to be able to:

  1. Describe the general layout of the plant
  2. Identify the equipment and units impacted by the ESD system
  3. Show where all ESD buttons and valves are located
  4. Demonstrate the procedure for sequential shutdown where applicable
  5. Demonstrate the procedure for facility startup after activating ESD

These defined outcomes are easily converted into learning objectives for the training, and become ready-made performance-exam items when it comes time to validate their skills.

The important thing to remember here is not to overload them with a bunch of training points and other learning objectives that don’t directly support these outcomes.  Instead keep it simple and relevant by focusing on just-enough, just-in-time training that includes only the themes and topics that naturally emerge from the desired outcomes.

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


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About the Author

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.