How to avoid knee-jerk, last-minute training

Do the right employees receive training?

This relatively simple question can lead to confusion, contention, hurt feelings and boardroom brawls as the competition for scarce resources heats up.

As a construction safety manager I clearly remember a project manager charging into my office saying, “We won the XXX contract and before we can go to work, all workers need the OSHA-10 and supervisors the OSHA-30 outreach courses.” This is on a Thursday and, of course, work is scheduled to begin on Monday. I reminded him that we had a 10-hour course scheduled a month back but everyone was ‘too busy’ to attend.

I also vividly remember the day, when I was working as a consultant, receiving a call from a corporate vice president. He says, “I know you teach that OSHA 10-hour class. We are having a supervisors meeting this Saturday and I can make 45 minutes available, can you get that class in for us?”

These and other similar situations led me to the conclusion that while training is vitally important, it is seldom properly planned and funded.

Perhaps a well thought-out, well-presented, and properly documented approach would generate better results.

1) A meeting with employees to discuss current training each employee has received.

2) Current and anticipated needs analysis to answer:

  • What training MUST be provided
  • What training would be beneficial to the company
  • Where and how can each of the training requirements be obtained
  • What is the cost of the training requirement

3) Generate a plan for each employee that identifies required training and recommended sources.

4) At the supervisor and higher levels there is always a reluctance to be away from the job for training. A possible remedy is to identify both professional and safety training the company believes to be necessary. Then develop a plan to provide the required courses more than once per year each.

5) Next develop a personnel evaluation plan that mandates each of these employees must obtain xx hours of each type training annually to be considered for promotions or pay raises.

This process certainly takes time and effort. And now, the professional safety manager must use their bilingual skills to show how this systematic approach is much more cost-effective than the knee-jerk last minute training so often done today.

The answer to our original question…Not so much, but we can make it much better.

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