Many EHS officers and supervisors find it challenging to provide health and safety training that is engaging, informative and enjoyable. As a result, their employees find such sessions to be uninspiring or downright boring. However, there are several tactics that can make training more effective.
Workers will be happier about attending safety meetings or training sessions if employers provide some extra amenities—free lunch and snacks, for example. If you haven’t offered this type of thing before, it might be a good idea to ask workers ahead of time what types of food they would prefer. Trying to accommodate them in such a small matter doesn’t require a lot of work but it shows commitment and caring.
Prizes (such as gift cards) could also contribute to an improved attitude towards safety training. These could be awarded for being actively involved in the training or for asking the best questions. It’s worth considering what type of prizes would work best because offering the right type of motivation can create a more fruitful experience for everyone involved. Giveaways should only be used to encourage participation in training and shouldn’t be confused with incentives for safety performance, which could cause workers to suppress reporting incidents.
It’s also important not to undo all the planning and good intentions by asking workers to give up their free time for the training. They could feel that their well-deserved rest is taken away for something they don’t think they need or don’t care about. Of course, sometimes scheduling can be tricky, but planning training during the workers’ free time should be avoided.
The best way to tackle topics considered uninspiring is to infuse them with a bit of humor. This could be done through the use of videos, cartoons or relevant jokes. But it’s important to remember that tools like humor need to be used appropriately, and shouldn’t be overused.
Additionally, the point of the training mustn’t be obscured by too many extra materials because their overuse will only muddy the message. After all, they’re there to help make the point, not to detract from it. But using humor doesn’t have to stop at training. It can, for example, be regularly distributed throughout the workplace through the use of safety posters.
Make it interactive
Spending an entire training session at a desk decreases blood flow, causes fatigue and contributes to loss of energy and concentration, so it’s a good idea to get workers up and moving regularly. This could be done through stretch breaks, physical activities or games related to the subjects discussed. One option is role-playing that addresses concerns specific to the workplace; It makes the time the employees spend participating in such activities relevant to them personally. Allowing them to act out skits and scenarios can also add a self-expression component that is fun and meaningful. This might not be ideal for every audience, topic or time slot, but try to find some way to get people to move—even if it’s just moving people into a different seating configuration for a table group exercise.
Moreover, it’s worth remembering not to underestimate the importance of stories. They’re one of the most effective tools for creating an interesting and memorable training session. The stories should be relevant and told in an engaging manner—it’s not a skill that comes naturally to everyone but it can be practiced and improved upon.
Hire a safety professional
Hiring an outside EHS professional can be extremely beneficial, particularly if the organization doesn’t have time to create their own training program or if their in-house trainer isn’t as skilled as they would like to be. And bringing in an expert helps to fight complacency and employees’ tendency to drift off during training sessions.
Professionals have the experience of winning over tough crowds; their presentation skills allow even a dry subject matter to be delivered engagingly, clearly and persuasively. Additionally, the consultant might be able to offer a variety of tools for ensuring compliance that the organization may not be aware of.
A safety training session can be easily transformed into something employees look forward to by keeping them interested, providing activities that are mentally stimulating and offering prizes as additional motivation. This can help ensure more engagement and active participation.
There are many methods that allow organizations to address relevant issues during safety training while making it memorable and interesting at the same time. Because although safety training is serious business, it doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable.