Encouraging adults to do anything can take serious effort. Adults can be stubborn and independent—traits that can be both admired and dreaded. So when it comes to encouraging your employees to really invest in their training, you might be a little concerned.
It turns out, employees really don’t need much from you to be content with their training; just a little bit of attention and consistency. Try out these 10 easy tips so you can stop wondering how to encourage safety training in your workplace.
1. Provide Resources and Time
You can’t expect your employees to do their own research, compile their own resources, and learn the content on their own time. It’s your responsibility to ensure that educational and reference materials be accessible to all employees, and it’s also necessary to designate time for them to review and consult the information provided.
This may seem too obvious, but we really mean train. Providing information isn’t enough. Handing out pamphlets isn’t enough. Work with your employees to make sure they’re learning, understanding, and applying the concepts. Effective personalized training is good training. Well-trained employees are safe employees.
3. Make it Relevant
Sure, there are some required topics that never really seem relevant. Those kinds of topics are important for emergency situations especially, and you need show your employees the relevance if it isn’t immediately clear. You can do this by providing training after an incident or a near miss so that the concepts are reinforced by real-life circumstances. You can also personalize the content so that it applies more directly to your workplace and your team.
4. Get Creative
Being creative with your training doesn’t have to be elaborate or time consuming. Just switch it up every now and then. Play around with new approaches and different types of media. Ask your employees for ideas! When you make even a small effort to enhance the training process, it can mean a world of difference to your trainees.
5. Make Training a Continuous Process
As much as you’d like to just get it out of the way, creating an environment of learning and improving can be very effective. Your employees can expect to be taught regularly, and it gives them helpful refreshers and reminders consistently. Besides, learning is most effective in smaller chunks. You don’t want to overwhelm new employees with information and then expect them to remember it all throughout their years on the job.
6. Set an Example
The best encouragement you can give is your own demonstration. How many employees will value the importance of their training if the company’s leaders go against all of the standards? Anyone can be a safety leader by setting a good example in the workplace.
7. Avoid Disciplinary Action
Disciplinary action may be necessary for some programs to function, but you have to be aware of the repercussions. When it comes to encouraging safety, one of the last things you want to do is discourage the reporting of incidents. Safety can only be improved if company leaders know about the unsafe conditions or actions that exist in the workplace, so employees must feel empowered to come forward with this kind of information.
8. Rethink Incentives
Incentives can be a great strategy in certain situations, but maybe not when you’re working on creating a safer work environment. Rewarding accident-free work days can actually lead to unsafe practices and failure to report injuries (source). Incentives can work well in the right situation, but not if they lead to dishonest practices. There are plenty of other ideas on how to encourage safety training, so try skipping the incentives for a different approach.
9. Give Recognition
Instead of incentives, try recognizing good practices in the workplace as you see them. Reinforcing positive behaviors that can be clearly witnessed (and not assumed) is a great way to help set an example and highlight the importance of safety training for everyone.
10. Encourage Feedback
Communicating with your employees is one of the most powerful strategies you can use. By creating an environment where employees feel comfortable providing honest feedback, you can learn what is working and what kinds of improvements might help your safety training program. A program that is influenced by employee feedback has a good chance of being well received by your employees.
It can be tempting to just keep things the way they are, since it’s gotten you this far already. But if you want to really improve safety in your workplace—and your employees’ attitudes about their training—give a few of these tips a try today!