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Keep It Fresh | Keeping training programs engaging

training programs for mining require fresh methods
Keeping training fresh is always a challenge

In an industry transitioning, time and money for employee training programs will always be tight. As such, training departments striving to meet business objectives efficiently are constantly looking for ways to maximise their return on training investment.

This is very much the case where businesses are being required to do more with less. This leads to a number of challenges for company and site training departments and how they are addressed will have an impact on the business’ bottom line.

It’s not enough to deliver knowledge, skills or behavioural training just for the sake of it or for compliance. Training must connect to the big picture, organisational objectives. The questions need to be asked: What do we need to be able to do so we achieve our business goals? and How will we measure and show the impact of training on performance? Starting with the end in mind helps ensure the best possible solution is implemented.

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All departments from training, safety and HR to production and maintenance need to work collaboratively. A problem in one area can have a ripple effect on other areas of the business. Working together means a shared vision for both short-term and long-term goals. It opens the door to greater transparency and makes sharing data and correlating training to results easier.

Training departments will need to determine whether training should be conducted internally or outsourced to a registered training organisation (RTO) or other external providers. Selecting an external provider who understands your vision and will deliver measurable outcomes will become increasingly important.

Whoever is delivering the training, it is important to choose training approaches that will keep employees engaged and design programs that play to their preferred methods of learning. Using newer training techniques like games, mobile learning and blended learning can set your employees up for success and have a positive impact on your organisation. This is particularly true if you have a workforce of employees who are predominantly under 30. Death by PowerPoint is not a viable option.

Regardless of the type of training you deliver, trainers need to be facilitators and need to have real-world experience and be prepared to share stories to give the training relevancy and reflect the values the company intends to portray. They need to have a clear picture of the outcomes you are seeking to achieve and be committed to achieving them. They need to deliver dynamic, engaging presentations that encourage participation in the learning process to ensure that the messages provided are received and applied effectively in the workplace.

The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve shows us that most of the information learnt in the training room is lost shortly after leaving if not used and reinforced. Organisations need employees to consistently perform on the job over an extended period of time. Businesses need to provide a training experience that extends the training room and leverages the 70:20:10 approach, by providing ongoing on the job training through informal and social means.

This concept has traditionally been referred to as performance support systems, but more recently has been coined reinforcement content or “boost” forms of learning support. We are seeing a growing number of technologies and mobile apps being introduced that support the need to ensure a worker performs their job at a consistent level over time.

More and more companies will call for reporting that goes beyond training completion rates and satisfaction surveys. Focus is shifting to measuring changes in behaviours and KPIs such as revenue per employee, percentage reductions in safety incidents, e.g. LTIs, and analysing how those results correlate to training initiatives.

The companies that are going to take the year by the reins are the ones who smash silos, establish shared goals, fight for the right solution (not just any solution), and relentlessly measure performance and business results.

To that end, many of the training staff across the industry need to expand their skills and knowledge base to be able to work effectively in the new climate. Traditionally Training for Trainers has not entered into the realm of Return on Investment, evaluation of training programs to measure outcomes that will improve the business bottom line, selling training to management with the focus on productivity and efficiency gains, risk management of training programs and evaluating the worth of internal and external training programs.

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AMSJ Summer 2020