George is the training manager of a Supply Chain Logistics organization. He has been informed that employees of a particular division need to be given Safety Training, as there has been marked increase in Slips, Trips and Falls in the said division. Can George pick up any off-the-shelf training program for Slips, Trips and Falls and administer it to the employees? That would be just like treating the symptoms, while the actual malady is overlooked.
Before George sets out to chalk out a training curriculum, he needs to assess why there has been an increase in the number of accidents in the form of slips, trips and falls, particularly in the recent months? These accidents could be just symptoms of an underlying problem or issue. An assessment needs to be done to identify the several possible reasons behind these accidents for example :
- Workers were working overtime, resulting in exhaustion or tiredness.
- Bad housekeeping or new flooring could be the actual culprit.
- Workplace areas are cluttered, restricting free movement.
- New workers were hired and were not trained to perform the given task.
- Lack of awareness among workers about the safety precautions to be taken.
If George makes an assessment of the situation and identifies the causes for the accidents, he will be able to tailor the curriculum that addresses the unique need of the workers. If the causes are primarily due to workers exhaustion or tiredness, or if it is due to the layout or physical aspects of the workplace, there could be alternate solutions to resolve the issue. Training may not be required. However, for other reasons training will be helpful. If just housekeeping is the issue, then staff associated with housekeeping need to be trained. On the contrary, if the issue is lack of knowledge about safety practices, training content will have to be collated to emphasize this aspect.
It is important to conduct a training needs assessment, which helps to identify the performance skills or tasks that need to be improved and the employees trained accordingly.
A standard off-the-shelf training program on Slips, Trips and Falls might not be relevant to the unique situation of a particular organization. For the purpose, it helps to have a thorough assessment of the problems faced by employees, assess the situation that is causing these problems and deliver training content that addresses these situations. Otherwise, you will end up treating only the symptoms, while the problem remains unattended, leading to ineffective training programs.
A well- planned training needs assessment have lots of positive outcomes. It brings to surface crucial organizational issues that need attention and helps in formulating strategies to overcome the knowledge and skills gaps that are causing the issues.