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Learning Elements Article

Training Design Solutions
15 Sep 2020

Training False Emergency

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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.

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The Pitfall of Training False Emergencies

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 is a news story involving employees at several hospitals. In this situation, they were observed reusing personal protective equipment (PPE), not wearing it correctly, or even neglecting to wear it altogether. These actions, typically seen as lazy under normal circumstances, created a sense of urgency and raised concerns about safety protocols. 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 in 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 using and disposing 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 must uncover the underlying issue.

That is:
  • Why are people not wearing things correctly?
  • Why do people continue to take shortcuts?
  • Do we clearly define the risks?
  • Does cost factor into the reuse of PPE?
  • Does a process need refining?

Uncovering Root Causes for Lasting Solutions

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

By taking the time to investigate and understand the true cause of a problem, organisations can avoid falling into the trap of treating symptoms rather than addressing the core issue. This requires a proactive approach involving thoroughly examining processes, procedures, and behaviours within the organisation.

Identifying the root cause requires assembling a skilled team to develop an effective solution. This team should be comprised of individuals who understand the problem and possess the expertise needed to design and implement a comprehensive training programme that addresses the underlying issues.

Furthermore, it is crucial to consider the delivery method of the solution. Whether it involves instructor-led classrooms, hands-on practical sessions, e-learning modules, video training, or coaching and mentoring, the chosen approach should align with the individuals’ specific needs and learning preferences.

By uncovering the root causes and enlisting the right people with the right skills, organisations can develop training interventions that address the underlying issues and drive meaningful change. This proactive and thoughtful approach ensures that the training provided is not just a band-aid solution but a catalyst for sustainable improvements and lasting behavioural change within the organisation.

Examples of training and development activities include:

Define. Prioritize. Develop. Deliver.

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