Training your employees should be more than just having them memorize processes and testing them on safety procedures. The latest developments in EHS training software for employees revolve around engagement and utilizing today’s latest technology. Tools like mobile devices and virtual reality have completely changed how managers can create effective and engaging safety training programs.
Here are some of the upcoming trends for EHS Management Software that leaders should be paying attention to in order to ensure environmental health and safety training success:
1. Creating Distance Training Courses
Many organizations are spread out over multiple locations and sites. Distributed teams have different training needs, but they still benefit from proper engagement just the same.
Building a solid distance learning program increases connectivity. You can use community conference calls, online chat programs and dedicated hubs for communication.
These opportunities allow distance learners and distributed teams to engage with and discuss training for improved understanding.
2. Utilizing Virtual and Augmented Reality
Safety training should go beyond a written set of procedures. For uncommon yet impactful events, training should represent the situation as close to real life as possible. However, with situations involving healthcare, disaster relief or toxic chemicals, recreating them is not possible.
Virtual and augmented reality have changed the way organizations can prepare for these kinds of situations. Organizations like 360 Immersive set workforces up with a multiplatform training program with live-presenter, online and simulation training. Through these types of training programs, workers can see and hear everything in their surrounding area that they would see in hazardous situations, without any of the danger.
Following similar suit, Western University of Health Sciences opened their J and K Virtual Reality Learning Center recently. Here, students can dissect bodies, move through layers of tissue and expand the size of body parts to study details—al in virtual reality. This helps students prepare for real life scenarios with zero risk.
3. Going Mobile
“There’s an app for that” seems to be one of the most common phrases in today’s vocabulary. Mobile has changed the way organizations collaborate and work, in addition to function socially. There are many learning apps and mobile friendly Web-based sites to centralize training, no matter where your workers are.
You can also use mobile capabilities for capturing safety data in real time. Being able to capture working conditions and workers’ habits as they are happening provides valuable insight for Job Safety Analysis and Behavior-Based Safety initiatives. Companies should make mobile a part of their training strategy if they want to keep up with market leaders.
4. Embracing Social Learning
Social media is another defining facet of today’s society. Social media and social collaboration tools can foster engagement in training and learning. These can take the shape of document sharing, discussion forums, blogs, videos and more. By using the tools that people already use to engage each other, companies have a better chance of successfully engaging the workforce with training materials.
For example, the Institution of Occupational Health and Safety allows users to use various types of social media to access occupational safety resources. Organizations like these can engage recipients of occupational health and safety information through communication, collaboration, education and even entertainment.
5. Adopting Adaptive Learning
Previous training methodology outlined one single way to administer training. Adaptive learning breaks down that traditional ideology to let workers learn at their own pace and in a way that works best for them.
For adaptive learning, employees are individually monitored to determine which learning approach is ideal for them. This is beneficial for younger generations, since they enter the workforce with expectations of flexibility and interaction in a way that builds confidence in what they’re learning.
The National Safety Council has launched the Supervisors’ Safety Development Program, which provides evaluations for each student to create an individualized curriculum and learning path to target knowledge gaps in a way that works best for each individual student. Adaptive learning programs like this eliminate the need to sacrifice competency for efficiency, and vice versa.
6. Aligning EHS Training with Business Objectives and Measuring Success
Training should be aligned with overall corporate strategy and higher business objectives. Learning should be targeted at objectives that will drive retention, engagement and ultimately performance. Incorporating real-time feedback from business operations into training strategies ensures that workers are skilled and knowledgeable on the things that will have the biggest impact on company-wide goals.
To know if training programs are successful, they should be measured for success in a similar way as other business processes. Upper management should select metrics that make sense with overall business objectives and use them to gauge training efforts beyond basic metrics like number of workplace accidents or injury rates. Some other metrics to consider might be: team encouragement, employee engagement and employee satisfaction—but it’s up to each individual organization to determine how to measure that.
Putting it All Together
A training program is more than just a set of procedures and standards. As the technology we use to advance our business progresses, the methodology behind safety and process training should progress as well.
Successful EHS training programs blend technology with other factors like distance learning and individualized learning to truly engage the workforce, especially the newest generation of workers.