Health and safety training has always been an important part of corporate operations and management efforts. At a fundamental level, keeping your staff up-to-date on the latest health and safety policies and practices is a vital part of starting, maintaining and growing a successful organization. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, this type of training is even more important. Keeping your staff safe if they’re on site, or giving them the tools to stay safe remotely, are essential practices companies across industries should adopt.
Unfortunately, some health and safety training courses struggle to keep their participants engaged with the course content. The standard instructor-led training (ILT) course relying on a PowerPoint presentation or even on-demand video seminar format will likely fail to engage today’s learners, leading to decreased knowledge retention.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to not only provide your staff with the relevant training they need but also to convey this vital information in a way that keeps them engaged during the training — and helps them retain what they’ve learned. Follow these three steps to stave off boredom in your health and safety training programs.
1. Introduce New Concepts
In order to keep your learners engaged during health and safety training sessions (regardless of location), make an effort to introduce new concepts. This may seem obvious, but there may be some outdated material, policies or concepts in the course content. There are many training organizations that can help with a broad array of health and safety issues — and they may offer new or unique methods that you can use as is or customize for your particular organization. One place to start is with the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH). You can also incorporate materials such as hazard communications guides or training kits developed by top academic institutions. Other resources include relevant health and safety training research, which can provide detailed information on specific hazards that you may not be currently including in your training program (but should). In other words, there are countless resources available to help you introduce new concepts to your health and safety courses.
2. Use Technology
The coronavirus’ resulting lockdowns have demonstrated the importance of technology in our day-to-day lives. Companies are using web-based conferencing software to conduct meetings, check on project statuses, and share information daily (if not hourly) with their staff. There are many uses of video conferencing tools, but when you’re training, you can also tap into different technologies like project management software so teams can engage with one another in real-time. With the COVID-19 pandemic (and it’s resulting aftermath) as one of the top issues facing corporations around the world, contact tracing, health and wellness, and vaccination programs are becoming more integrated, so using technology as both a tool and training resource can be beneficial. There are apps that can be used by employers to track contacts and vaccination status to help with preparing and organizing training courses for your staff. Knowing who is vaccinated and if they’ve been exposed to the virus can help determine if training should be on site or virtual.
3. Follow Up
Not all training is fun, exciting, and will make people laugh. Some training can be dry, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important (or even vital to a person’s job or safety). You can ensure that your staff takes their training seriously by following up with additional training points that may come to light after the training session or reaching out to them to see if they have any questions or have encountered any of the issues brought up during training. You can even demonstrate how you take the training seriously but running surprise scenarios with the participants who just completed the training. It could a three-question quiz emailed to the participants asking them to respond to a relevant hypothetical situation or, even during a staff meeting, conduct a role-playing game to act out a specific problem they may encounter. When staff sees that you take the training seriously, they will too.
Keep Them Engaged
Every organization should have some sort of health and safety training program. Regularly scheduled training is a great way to integrate these concepts in the workplace and demonstrate to your staff that their wellbeing is important to you and the mission of the company. But having a training program won’t do you much good if the staff is disengaged, bored or doesn’t see the point of the training. Improving engagement and interest can be enhanced with activities like a steps challenge and activity leaderboards to add an element of fun (and competition) to the workday. Engaging your learners by introducing new concepts, using technology and following up after the training is over, are great ways to keep your staff engaged, productive and, most importantly, safe.