In safety, we're well aware of the importance of safety training and its role in creating a safe and healthy workplace. We also face resistance (that can be a real understatement) from employees towards training. Recognizing the specific causes of this resistance can help create more effective and engaging training. Why the Resistance to Safety Training? Here are the top five reasons why employees “turn off” safety training and what we can do about it:
1. Repetition and Boredom: The familiar refrain of "I've seen this before" can be a significant block to engagement. It's not uncommon for safety training sessions to become repetitive when the same methods and content are used continuously, especially for long-term employees. The key to overcoming this challenge is to introduce variety and innovation into our training. Consider incorporating interactive elements, such as simulations, gamification, and hands-on activities, to make the sessions more engaging and memorable. Frequency and the right type of repetition creates knowledgeable and awareness.
2. Perceived Irrelevance: "This doesn't apply to me" is a common sentiment that can dilute the impact of safety training. Employees can resist training they perceive as irrelevant to their specific job roles. To tackle this, ensure that safety training is tailored to the unique risks and responsibilities of different roles within the organization. Demonstrating the direct relevance of safety practices to employees' daily tasks can significantly increase engagement and compliance.
3. Time Constraints: The idea that "I don't have time for this" reflects the modern workplace's fast-paced nature. This perception that training is a time-consuming diversion from productive work is common. We should make training sessions as efficient and concise as possible. This might involve breaking down the training into shorter, more manageable modules that can be completed at the employees' convenience. Video based microlearning or toolbox talks are perfect for this.
4. Poor Delivery: A monotonous or un-engaging presentation sends all the wrong messages. Investing in training our trainers to be more dynamic and engaging speakers, or employing a variety of training mediums — like videos, video based digital learning, and live demonstrations — can help maintain participants' interest and it improves retention. Also, with new workers short form video is just the way they love to take in knowledge.
5. Complacency: The belief "I already know all this" can lead to a dangerous sense of complacency. Some employees may feel that they already know everything they need to about safety, leading to complacency. By emphasizing the evolving nature of workplace risks and the continuous improvement of safety practices you can counter this. Sharing recent incidents or near-misses (even using CCTV footage), even from other organizations, can underscore the importance of ongoing vigilance and learning.
Engagement is Key!
Fostering a safety culture that values continuous learning and improvement is key. By understanding and addressing these common points, we can create safety training programs that not only comply with regulations but also engage employees, leading to a safer and more productive workplace. And that’s what we all want.