Compliant, engaging, and effective training is essential to the success of every organizational environment, health, and safety (EHS) program. But as every EHS manager already knows, training management can also be a challenge. With the right outlook and systems, you can make your training efforts less burdensome and more beneficial.
Training is more than just a learning and development opportunity; depending on your industry and the specific job role, the appropriate training may be necessary in order to maintain EHS compliance, and training is also crucial to injury and illness prevention regardless of industry or compliance obligations.
The Cornerstone of Culture
What’s one of the first things (hopefully) that you provide for a new hire within your organization? Training. Training management is therefore a cornerstone of organizational culture, and the right learning programs can specifically strengthen company safety culture as well.
In addition to being a top leading indicator of safety excellence, employee participation in training provides numerous other organizational benefits, including:
An opportunity to impart job-specific knowledge while dispelling common health and safety myths and preventing missteps.
A level of standardization of employee behavior at work (including safe behaviors), which strengthens policies and sets consequences.
Meeting mandatory compliance obligations or keeping the organization in alignment with any voluntary safety management systems (such as ISO 45001).
Establishing a two-way relationship between employee and employer that can allow for professional growth and mutual success.
With so much at stake, training management cannot be treated like a chore that is grudgingly accomplished by trotting out the same enormous binders and sleep-inducing PowerPoints. EHS managers need to take things a step further.
Training Content Must Be Engaging, Accessible, and Relevant
Here’s a quick mnemonic for you: If you want the content of your training to be heard, you need the EAR—which stands for Engagement, Accessibility, and Relevance.
Engagement. As we’ve written before, engagement is critical to ensure that your EHS training knowledge is not only heard by employees, but it’s also retained for practical, sustained use. Use engaging and enthusiastic speakers for your training, strive for clarity and diversity of content throughout your presentations, and consider adding in elements like gamification, hands-on demonstrations or skills tests, and/or live question and answer sessions.
Accessibility. In a recent study from the EHS Daily Advisor, 32% of respondents—nearly one-third—said that finding the time was the single biggest obstacle to safety training at their organizations, with a further 6% citing logistics or classroom availability as the biggest obstacle. Online training, where employees can complete their learning from any device and at their own pace, can help increase accessibility—but also be aware that depending on the situation, online training must be only one part of an overall training program to meet certain OSHA standards.
Relevance. While EHS training is of the utmost importance, you must also recognize that your employees are busy, and their time is valuable. Therefore, good training management requires that employees are paired with the right training at the right time that will help them do their jobs safely. If workers feel that they are receiving superfluous or unnecessary information, you will lose their engagement—and with it, your training’s chances for success.
Once your training content meets these EAR requirements, you have won half the battle. Next, you must schedule, launch, and manage the training—with an eye toward gaining visibility and insights into the results and overall effectiveness of your program.
Schedule and Manage for Maximum Visibility
Here are just a few of the key considerations for proper management of your EHS training program:
Track all certifications and coursework taken by personnel across the organization.
Associate the right courses with specific roles, instructors, locations, and dates (which can be especially tricky amid any remote learning necessities during COVID-19).
Ensure administrator control over training scheduling and course matrices, which may include key stakeholders beyond your EHS team, such as Human Resources (HR) or Learning and Development (L&D).
Maintain compliance with ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, Process Safety Management, and/or other EPA or OSHA standards.
Interactive dashboards and reports are helpful to demonstrate the completion status for all trainees, reveal results of coursework and/or tests, and provide visibility into the level of knowledge retention and other benefits that can be shared with upper management.
Given the demands of training management, EHS managers are increasingly turning to Learning Management Systems (LMSs) to better ensure their programs’ chances of success.
Solutions to Simplify the Complexities of Training Management
Training management is complex—and an LMS is indispensable for an EHS training program that is both efficient and effective. But no two organizations are exactly alike, which is why you must be selective in choosing the right partner for your company’s unique training needs and goals.
Training management solutions from Dakota Software are developed by an industry-leading producer of safety, regulatory compliance, and human resource training content and include a library of over 170 courses covering all key areas of EHS training. The system consists of adaptive classes that test users’ knowledge and present only the content relevant to an employee’s specific needs, as well as microlearning content that delivers training on multiple devices (including mobile devices) in small chunks to increase engagement and knowledge retention.
An LMS is essential to the delivery, management, and tracking of organizational EHS training efforts. Our courses can be delivered via any Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) compliant LMS. If your company does not have an LMS, Dakota can get you up and running quickly. Dakota’s LMS uses interactive training content and learning technologies with two distinct interfaces, one for learners and another for administrators. Our system allows EHS managers to move conveniently accomplish 5 key training management tasks:
Consolidate and standardize organizational training roles, courses, and topics.
Outline training requirements based on employee roles.
Add employees and document their coursework, certifications, and more.
Schedule classes and track employee participation.
Monitor performance using interactive dashboards and reports.
Read more here to learn how you can increase worker engagement in environment, health, and safety training while also decreasing lost productivity—a win-win-win for your employees, your organization, and the health and well-being of the workforce.