Attitudes toward EH&S training vary greatly from organization to organization. On one end of the spectrum, there are those organizations that value EH&S training, view it as a critical activity, and try to maximize the impact of the training as well as their return on investment (ROI). On the other end, there are those organizations that cannot bring themselves to invest in EH&S training beyond minimum regulatory compliance requirements and do so grudgingly. What is the attitude toward EH&S training in your organization?
Regardless of their attitude, a great many organizations misspend, even waste, their training resources. There are three primary reasons.
First, many organizations fail to invest sufficiently in a systematic, comprehensive training needs assessment on which to build their programs. Some fail to conduct such assessments at all, meaning that their training programs are developed from the rather narrow perspectives of past experience and regulatory requirements. As a result, some training needs may not be addressed at all, some may be covered inadequately, and some may receive more attention than they honestly deserve. In any case, training dollars are being wasted.
Second, many organizations fail to adequately assess the impact or effectiveness of the training they conduct. They conduct courses and provide resources on a continuing basis, not knowing whether their efforts are accomplishing the desired result. Without this critical feedback, it is very difficult if not impossible to determine the extent of one's ROI, and again, training dollars are being wasted.
Third, many organizations fail to appreciate the needs for training on at least three levels: technical EH&S and compliance, EH&S management systems and EH&S leadership. All three are critical to success.
There are three critical phases to developing, implementing and managing an effective EH&S training process:
Training Needs Assessment
Development and Delivery of Effective Training Resources
Evaluation of Training Effectiveness
Some organizations under-invest in EH&S training; some over-invest. They do so because they fail to appreciate the importance of the up-front work (training needs assessment) and the backend work (evaluation of training effectiveness), as well as the scope of safety training opportunities. How can an organization invest its EH&S training dollars more wisely and improve ROI?
Many organizations have designed attractive training processes in the absence of conducting a training needs assessment. The risk in this case is that the organization may end up developing and offering training to meet needs that do not actually exist or that the intended audience does not want. Also, there is the risk that the organization will not develop training for some more critical needs that go unidentified. Although an effective training needs assessment can require significant resources, it is more likely that an organization will expend more resources designing and conducting incomplete or unnecessarily aggressive training programs than would be required by conducting the assessment up front.