By Mike Benmosche
Risk Management Specialist
McNeil & Company
Training can be like reading an article; you often don’t know the value until you invest the time to actually go through the process. It is easy to find a multitude of excuses such as, we don’t have the time, it’s too expensive, our members don’t have time to train, and so on.
If this rationalization sounds familiar, please invest a few minutes to consider the following points on the effectiveness of a training program before you decide to dismiss the idea.
- Members are more likely to do their jobs more effectively when properly informed about the procedures necessary to perform their assigned tasks. In many cases, this confidence will enhance their ability to incorporate new ideas that may save time and money.
- Consistency is an important by-product of a member trained on policies and procedures. The additional knowledge and experience is vital to the proper execution of the duties assigned to a member.
- Effective training will also improve the performance rate and efficiency of members increasing the overall productivity.
- The more a member understands the job, the more likely they will experience satisfaction in the role they play in the organization. This gives them a belonging and purpose and often helps with member retention.
- Training is also known to help diminish errors and in turn keep the accident rate down. The hidden costs of incidents can be a big expense that greatly impacts the budget.
- Proper training will also promote an environment that helps foster personal development and growth.
Hopefully, you now agree that there are tremendous benefits to establishing a formal training program. Designing a suitable plan to instruct members on how to perform their duties can be difficult. But you’re interest-ed and want to know what the next step is to build a cost effective system that will bring your workers to the best level of work possible.
The organization needs to first show a willingness to commit the resources necessary to support whatever plan is developed. To ensure this happens, a team needs to be appointed to be responsible for the entire program. This can be officers only or a combination of officers and members.
Once your team is selected, the group should make a list of the organization’s strengths and weaknesses. This way, you can assess what you do well and what needs to be improved. From there, the next goal is to set an expectancy standard for each job identified as weak and provide the tools necessary to achieve improved performance. Be sure that the information is clear, concise, and easy to understand. Of course, it also must be a written plan and accessible to all members. Examples of training programs that may need to be added as a result of this needs analysis might be: New Member Orientation, Maintenance Plans, Standards Compliance Safety, etc.
Plans require constant review and should be flexible to meet ever changing conditions. I suggest that the committee in charge of this project meet at least once a month to reassess what may need to be added, changed or eliminated.
There are a number of methods to deliver the message to the members: Meetings, Websites, Webinars, Class-rooms, On The Job Training and most recently E-Learning. Each has their own positives and /or negatives based on the circumstances at your organization.
The follow up is the next step to determine the effectiveness of the plan. This can be accomplished by watching the members as they execute the functions of their duties. Written tests can be useful in understanding their comprehension of specific topics. Whatever method you use, it is imperative that it be measurable so that you have the data necessary to ensure you attain the desired goals.
Lastly, and possibly the most important ingredient for success, top management must recognize that it is continuous and never ending.
You know how much time and money that you invest in your members. Doesn’t it make sense to get the best return you can while making certain they are safe? Don’t take the chance with your members’ safety and community well-being. Get started today on your own Training Program!