Your employees may not be emergency responders, but that doesn’t mean you can’t train them like one. Especially in high-risk industries such as construction and agriculture, employees need to know how to assess and respond to hazards around the workplace. At a minimum, employees should be confident they can identify unexpected situations, evaluate the hazards, and know when and how to take control of the situation safely. Training is never a waste of time, and if it’s put on the backburner, it’s a disservice to the entire company.
Most companies have a basic set of safety protocols and training sessions. And most employees have a general idea of these basics. For many industries, this may not be enough. So, how do you prepare employees for possibilities outside of the typical ideas of potential accidents? The answer is additional, appropriate, and customized training. Safety training essentially is helping people know how to expect the unexpected and providing them with the proper tools to address the unexpected in an effective way.
One way to help employees be prepared for unexpected events is to cross-train them on other duties. Learning the skills of other departments, even on a small scale, provides a better understanding of operations and offers more support to each employee. This doesn’t mean every employee needs to be an expert in every skill a company offers, but rather a general idea of how various operations are handled in order to be on guard for potential issues. Plus, broadening employees’ skill base is a benefit to the employer, the employee, and the customer.
Cross-training often builds a better team framework, encouraging everyone to work together and value each responsibility. When employees understand what different departments are accountable for, it promotes healthier collaboration and can even increase productivity. Not only are roles extra covered if someone is out, but the functions of these roles are understood at a deeper level. This means if something goes wrong, everyone will have some knowledge of how to respond appropriately.
Understand and Apply
Employers are charged with the responsibility of training their staff. This can’t happen effectively if they don’t understand their staff’s needs. Information that is too broad may be ineffective and staff members may lose interest quickly, yet information that is too detailed or not applicable to the team’s scope may feel overwhelming and cause stress. With a more customized approach, you can ensure you’re training on topics that are really necessary and that employees walk away feeling educated and valued. Everyone in the office should be accountable for training. When management shows engagement, the rest of the company typically follows suit. It’s also important to monitor training sessions and adapt to the needs and responses of the team.
When it comes to additional, specific training, it’s important to implement it professionally so your team doesn’t feel like management is overreacting with an unreasonable approach. Rather, tailor the training to promote a desire to be ready for possibilities that are truly likely in your workplace.