Employee training continues to be a key issue facing SH&E professionals. Regardless of industry, all safety professionals have had struggles with employee engagement, interaction, and retention of training information. Often, employees attend training only to fail to recall the information presented within weeks or days! Training must live outside of the classroom, students must be able to recall and retrieve information from the classroom environment for use in the workplace setting.
The relatively new concept of gamification is an essential idea for the safety professional to understand. Adding gaming elements to existing training settings gives the safety professional the ability to reach their students in new ways to expand the learning experience to the jobsite, shop floor and other workplaces.
The generational mix in any given workplace makes development of training initiatives difficult. Baby Boomers value peer competition and teamwork; Generation X values independence, creativity and feedback; Millennials value reinforcement and technology. Gamification offers a safety professional an opportunity to play to each generation's values and interests while increasing their attention, engagement, and retention of training.
Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers will appreciate gamification techniques in a corporate training program. In fact, the competition and challenges of a gamified learning environment afford more opportunities for sharing of information between the generations. This sharing of stories and experiences remains an important part of training that cannot be replicated through use of an application or technology.
Gamification almost lends itself perfectly to safety training. For those who wear multiple hats as a Safety Professional, we are always looking for the next best thing in training to keep the students engaged, interested, and most importantly to retain what they have learned. Usually, safety training is conducted in a classroom setting, which is inherently a problem for skills transfer. What can a punch press operator learn about safety in a classroom setting that easily transfers to the manufacturing floor? This is difficult – but often budgets and time for training are stretched thin, and any opportunity to get students in a classroom is time that cannot be wasted.