Workplace Communicator Blog

How Standardizing your Safety Training improves Workplace Consistency

Posted by Marie-Claire Ross on Mon, Sep 20, 2010

describe the imageWhen it comes to training staff on safety or procedures, one of the biggest problems many of our clients talk about is the difficulty of training staff consistently across numerous sites.

Often, staff are taught different information from one site to the next. And when you have hundreds or thousands of staff, this can be problematic.

It often results in different levels of productivity and a wild variation in safety records across the board.

Unless companies have a standardized approach to their training,  variations in the training message will create a workforce that is not aligned and working together to reach the same goals.

Buddies - Friends or Foe?

One area where this can be quite problematic is the buddy system form of training.

According to Wikipedia, the buddy system is a procedure in which two people, the buddies, operate together as a single unit so that they are able to monitor and help each other.  In training or the induction of newcomers to an organization, the less experienced buddy learns more quickly from close and frequent contact with the experienced buddy than when operating alone.

The buddy system is a good system that research has found provides optimal induction training.  However, the buddy system is only as good as the buddy doing the training.  What can sometimes happen is that companies assume that workers will train new staff the right way.  But what can happen if staff have had inconsistent training, is that they perpetuate more inconsistent training.  So new staff end up being taught different processes and safety information, which over time, can result in disastrous consequences.

The solution is to provide everyone with consistent training and the same stardardized messages.  Only then does the buddy system work effectively.  In fact, it will work extremely well and further reinforce messages and understanding.

Systemizing your Messages

The key to getting your workforce all understanding your safety and training messages in unison is the simple reinforcement of facts.  Repeatability and standardization of message are key.

And one proven way is to develop training videos for your company.  Even better if you can create other communication types that convey your core messages that hit all of the senses (see it, touch it, hear it etc).  Only then will you get message standardization.  And as a training video automates the messaging, it is a cost effective way to get consistent message understood by your workers no matter where they are located.  Using video e-learning is also a cost effective mthod of standardization.

Helping Senior Leaders Lead

One further benefit is that when the CEO needs to visit different sites across the country, he or she will do a far better job communicating to all the workers who are all aware of the company stance on safety, the company vision and goals.  Rather than spend time writing different speeches to cater for the differing levels of safety awareness, the CEO can go and out communicate and engage knowing that everyone is on the same page.

Topics: improving workplace consistency, training professionals, safety professionals, induction training, issues with buddy system, problems with inconsistent training