How often have you heard or said “Let’s get everyone into training, that’ll fix it!” In my learning and development career (spanning decades) I have heard this countless times, even on the news the other night.

A training false emergency is usually a superficial problem, that is something that is not a real priority. It occurs when someone, or a group of people think a workshop or one-off training session will fix whatever the most obvious problem is, it is a reactionary band aid type response, rather than a considered and structured approach.

One example of a false emergency relates to the news story where employees at a couple of hospitals were reusing PPE, not wearing it correctly, or not wearing it at all, which under normal circumstances would be considered lazy. In the current Covid climate this is irresponsible and risky beyond belief. In one clip employees were seen handling bins with hazardous material, wearing a glove on one hand – which they used to pull the bin, and holding a disposable coffee cup in the other.

The leading authority investigating the matter determined that how to wear PPE training was the solution to the problem. A person attending training on how to use and dispose of PPE gear will not change the behaviour that drives the action.  A quick fix 30- or 60-minute training video will not and should not be used to fix a problem. To impact change individuals or working groups need to uncover the underlying issue. That is:

  • Why are people not wearing things correctly?
  • Why do people continue to take shortcuts?
  • Are the risks clearly defined?
  • Is cost a factor in reusing PPE?
  • Does a process need refining?

Identify the cause and then look for a solution. If in the process you identify it is in fact an emergency – a priority, enlist the right people, with the right skills to come up with the right solution and delivery method. Examples of training and development activities include:

  • Instructor-led classroom training
  • Hands-on training
  • e-learning training
  • Video training
  • Coaching and mentoring

Define. Prioritize. Develop. Deliver

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