In the words of the famous comedian John Cleese, “People learn nothing when they are asleep and very little when they are bored.” As we gear up for next year and wrap up the compliance training requirements for this year, it’s easy for employees to be more focused on what they are doing for Labor Day weekend than compliance training. I think we can all admit that safety and compliance training, while extremely important, isn’t the most exciting subject matter. And if your safety videos feature workers wearing 1980s muscle t-shirts, from the first time they were in style, then it’s a sign it’s time to look at ways you can update your training content. Below are ten tips to spice up your safety training before your next compliance training session.
- Make it Relevant
Training content should be relatable to your audience, no matter what training delivery format you are using. Whenever possible, customize your training content to use site- or company-specific information, including photos and documents. If you are using online training, look for ways to customize the content with images and text, and even video. If you are using video training, the footage should include real working environments and workers – not just talking heads. If you are presenting in a classroom, make each training session as specific to your audience as you can, remember that employees and their environment may have changed since your last session.
- Involve Your Employees and Staff Members
Your employees may have stories or information that they can share regarding an experience or best safety practice, especially success stories where an accident and incident has been prevented. People are also more accepting of information when hearing it from their peers. Including your employees in the training will help to get their buy-in and can also demonstrate how the training affects them personally.
- Mix Up the Format
Add a video to your classroom training, use an online training course to reinforce key training points…when you change up the format of your training you create a new opportunity for learning. A mix of training delivery formats may even be the most effective means for employees to comprehend and retain information. Changing the training format, even when the information is the same, helps the brain to digest and retain information more thoroughly.
- Mix Up the Content
Don’t let your college professor who was using lesson plans from 20 years prior be your inspiration. You should update or change your content at least every other training session to keep your employees interested. The only humans who seem to be captivated by the same content are eight-year-olds, watching the cartoon movie Frozen for the 100th time…not your employees. In fact, the more times they see the same content the more likely they are to zone out and leave the training session without learning anything.
- Give Your Employees Options
With access to so many delivery formats and content choices, it may be a viable option to give your employees a choice in how they want to learn. Not everyone learns the same; some of your employees may learn best from self-paced online training while others may learn best in a classroom or with a visual presentation. It may also vary depending on the information presented. If you do decide to mix up the learning styles, ensure your employees are all learning and retaining the same information by giving a standard quiz or test to all employees.
- Get Feedback from Your Employees
You can usually gauge how much information your employees learned and retained through quizzes or test at the end of the session, however, determining how engaged your employees were during the learning process is a different story. Beyond asking questions about what they learned, include questions about the training session itself. Better yet, make this a separate, anonymous survey so they feel comfortable offering true feedback and suggestions for improvement.
- Invite Guest Speakers and Subject Matter Experts
I’m sure your employees love hearing you speak over and over again, even when you mix up the content. But, every so often, inviting a subject matter expert or guest speaker is another way to change up the message and engage your employees. And for some reason, when we hear the same information from someone else, especially someone that isn’t our boss (or our mother), we seem to listen. This is an opportunity to invite another safety professional, someone from another department, or a training consultant in to offer a new twist on your safety message.
- Put Your Spin On It
You’re a safety expert, and you’ve done some living along the way, so share it. Share the stories, the lessons that you learned…both the good and the bad, and give your employees some humanity in their learning. Even in the online format, you can add your own story through text and photos. And when appropriate, don’t be afraid to add a little humor.
- Make It a Conversation
When conducting training in the classroom don’t feel like you always have to be at the front of the room speaking at your employees. If feasible, rearrange the room so that you are part of the crowd, not in front of it. If you are unable to move the furniture, then take a seat yourself, or move throughout the crowd. Before you offer the answers, ask your employees what they think, how they would go about solving the problem, what has worked and not worked in the past. Both you and your employees may learn more from your training session when it’s a conversation and not a lecture.
- Learn From the Past
From measuring engagement, getting feedback from your employees, paying attention to those stories that made everyone sit up in their seats to those jokes that flopped. Every time you offer an opportunity for others to learn, it’s an opportunity for you to learn. Most importantly, try new things. Your employees will appreciate the effort you put into their safety and wellbeing, and that alone can help increase their engagement.
Are you stepping up your training game and making your employees jump for joy at the thought of safety training? Share your success stories in the comments.
Evolved Safety works with you to select your EH&S training content and delivery options from a number of best-in-class safety training providers. We streamline the process for you, removing the burden of contacting multiple vendors and acquiring multiple bids. Contact us at www.evolvedsafety.com or call us toll-free at