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Create Unconventional Safety Training that Meets Your Compliance Standards

This was originally published on eLearning on August 28, 2018.

3 Tips To Create Safety Training For Employees

Do employees ever look forward to regulatory compliance training? Chances are, they don’t—and they might have reasons like these:

“It’s boring.”

“It doesn’t apply to my job.”

“The scenarios are laughable.”

“I already know this stuff.”

Yet, employee safety training that meets your compliance standards is a crucial part of doing business. So how do you create unconventional safety training that is compliant, effective, and memorable?

The 3 “Musts”

Before you jump in to build your training, take some time to plan the overall approach. Build a solid foundation for your training on these 3 “Musts”.

  1. Find the hook
    The hook is a compelling reason why employees are taking this training, and it shouldn’t be “because you have to do it to meet compliance”. Spend some time brainstorming the single phrase or sentence that sums up this training—and that will entice employees to want to find out more. Make sure the hook is relatable to your learners. For example, top management might think that safety training is valuable because it saves the company money in the long run, but that might not resonate with the average employee. Instead, they may be more concerned with staying safe for their families so they can enjoy their leisure time.
  2. Tell a story
    Once you have the hook, think about the journey you want to present to learners. Every story has a beginning, middle, and end, but the best stories also have surprise twists, moments of tension and resolutions that leave readers—or learners—feeling satisfied.
  3. Keep the end in mind
    While you are creating your training, constantly think about how the activities teach and reinforce compliance. How will you cover all the important points? How will you encourage learners to apply their knowledge and find their own ways of assuring compliance daily on the job? How will learners demonstrate mastery of compliance during and after the training?

Choose Your Path

Once you’ve decided on the hook and the story, there are multiple training techniques you can use to reach your destination. Keep the audience in mind as you consider each of these approaches, then choose the combination that delivers your story to them most effectively.

  • Humor
    While safety training is serious business, a little levity—used carefully—can engage learners. But be sure the type and level of humor are appropriate for your audience. Don’t use goofy characters or cartoon avatars unless you’re absolutely certain your learners will love them and learn from them.
  • Compelling testimony from experts
    For the right audience, a testimony from an acknowledged expert can have a big impact. Another good use of a short video is to emphasize the company’s support for a safety culture. But use this technique carefully: too long videos, or those that aren’t sharply focused, can derail training and lose learners’ attention. Keep videos short and to the point, and tie them directly to important learning concepts.
  • Sharing individual stories, challenges, and solutions
    This can be an especially powerful learning tool since it personalizes training and encourages learners to apply the concepts directly to their lives. There are a couple of caveats, though. Be sure to provide structure so that storytelling leads directly to learning and application, and doesn’t devolve into a “true confessions” conversation. Make sure the structure helps learners feel safe and supported in sharing their stories (learn more about strategic sharing to understand how this works). Provide a couple of sample tales to get the conversation started in case learners have trouble coming up with their own stories.
  • Team scenarios
    Go beyond overused role-playing exercises and create problem-solving games that involve all the learners. Base the scenarios on real case studies—from your own organization if possible—and provide lots of “what-if” branches so learners can explore what happens if they make different decisions. One possible angle is to have learners work together to correct mistakes that hypothetical teammates make.
  • Games and competition
    Individual or team games are an excellent way to engage learners, as long as they directly reinforce the learning and actually challenge the audience. Provide some sort of rewards to reinforce the behavior and make the competition more fun.

These techniques are just a starting point for creating unconventional safety training. Remember, effective training always has a solid foundation for your organization’s procedures, culture, and philosophy. Learn more about custom solutions for safety training that meets compliance standards here.